Are you ready to party?

We are past the last 50 days of what is being advertised as “the most historic presidential campaign in our lifetime.” Get ready for a loaded cocktail of campaign rhetoric, charges and counter charges, misdeeds and stern faced political promis

We are past the last 50 days of what is being advertised as “the most historic presidential campaign in our lifetime.” Get ready for a loaded cocktail of campaign rhetoric, charges and counter charges, misdeeds and stern-faced political promises. The electoral atmosphere is so full of hot air that it’s hard to sniff out what the real issues are. This is national drama, reality TV and “late breaking” news at its best. In a strange way, I have a similar feeling at Christmas time–when the historic significance of the event has been trampled by the omnipresent media hype and I feel like someone is trying to sell me something that I don’t need for their own personal gain.

What a party!

Democracy, the right to vote and the fair election of government leaders are essential to the American way of life. Political and economic freedoms are the underlying principles that create the environment to make our standard of living the highest in the world. However, as I watch the political process unfold, I wonder whether we are preparing for a serious election or are we getting ready for a party? In fact, these happen to be a couple of very expensive parties. It is estimated that both presidential campaigns plan to raise close to $200 million dollars each over the next two months to support their candidates and parties. Unfortunately, sometimes the election outcomes depend on who has the loudest, most outlandish and best funded party.

Are you ready to party?

I have a number of friends that get truly excited by the drama of the political process. One friend laments, “This president has set us back 20 years with his economic and domestic policies.” Now it is very easy to blame someone else for our shortcomings and our lack of success. However, we have to ask ourselves where do we stand on the major Party Issues?

The economy:

–Do you have an emergency fund amounting to 3-6 months of expenses in case of serious illness, disability or job loss? Have you eliminated or significantly reduced your credit card debt? Are your investments diversified among several different asset classes?

Jobs:

–Are you working to improve your job skills by taking training courses at work or at a local college? Is your resume up to date? Are you networking to learn about other job opportunities in your field?

Education:

–Are you making sure that your children are doing their homework? Are you engaged with their teachers and are you supportive of the school’s program? Are you saving for their college education?

Health care:

–Is your family avoiding fast food, eating a healthy diet and getting proper exercise? Does your family get regular health checks ups and avoid health risks such as smoking, alcohol and drugs?

Social Security:

–Have you developed a plan for your retirement?

Energy and the environment–Is your home properly insulated? Do you monitor your thermostat for economical heating and cooling, and do you simply turn off the lights when they are not needed? Does your family recycle?

I encourage you to exercise your right and responsibility to vote and support the political candidates and party of your choice. However, your party and family are critical to your success. During the next four years make sure that you are working on the issues that will make your family a financial success regardless of which party or candidate wins this election.

Michael G. Shinn, CFP, Registered Representative and Advisory Associate of and securities and investment advisory services offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation. member SIPC.

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Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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