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First blog post

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My first blog!  I am happy to say that I have reached a new plateau. I have joined millions of others and have spent a couple of hours of my life in order to join a community of bloggers!  I am sure a few of you know what I mean.   I hope the time was not wasted and hope I have the time to dedicate to this new adventure.  As important, I hope my readers find the content to be educational, humorous, and thought-provoking.

A little about me – I am a professional who has been making a living over the last 25 plus years meeting and providing services to individuals, families, and business owners (large and small) solving problems and creating solutions to problems.  My position requires me to think outside the box and often I am more of a listener and counselor than a financial guru.  I am the CEO of our company, but with any successful organization the sum of the parts is what makes the business.  I have been blessed to be surrounded by individuals who are very smart but more importantly they are good people.

Enough about me but more about the blog!  Sure – I will occasionally blog about finances, taxes, estate planning and financial statements.  Occasionally is the key word!  I named the blog melting pot for a reason – I will be jumping around to different topics – but I will listen to my audience and attempt to blog on subject matters that they might find interesting.  Initially, I will be blogging about politics, divorces, fatherhood, and items that I have found interesting and funny over the years. My second blog will dive into subject matter!

Life is short, enjoy every minute – the alternative of life is death – I don’t know but I am guessing that is not enjoyable!

 

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Politics – Social Security – Solution?

For decades our country has been fighting the problem of social security running out of money.  What we have done as a country is that we have increased employer and employee contribution rates, increased the age of receiving the benefits, and increase the social security cap.   For all the debate, that has been our countries solution. Basically, that is our go to plan of action to kick the can down the road.

Let me ask  a couple of  questions – After so many years, does our house insurance pay a benefit if you don’t have a claim?  Does our vehicle insurance pay out a claim if we don’t have an accident?  Families across the country pay these insurance premiums without ever getting a penny back.  They are happy that they never received a penny back because they have been fortunate to never have a house or vehicle accident.  Ok, I am sure you might be asking where I am going with this.  Social Security was originally setup and meant for an insurance policy.  An insurance policy that was set up for families after years of work. This insurance would provide a minimal amount of income to use at retirement age.  An insurance policy that was funded by the employee and employer over many years of work.  This insurance was meant as a protection just in case you worked a fair amount of your life and for one reason or another you didn’t make it financially.

Now think of any wealthy married individual over the normal retirement age.  Quite possibly, the family you thought of is earning $64,488 a year in social security benefits. Do you believe these people have made it, they have been fortunate, they have been blessed? Many of these people who you are thinking of have put in many hours of work and took on a lot of risk to achieve that wealth.  Now do you believe these same people would say that the same thing about themselves.  I would guess that most of these people would say the same thing.    But they are still receiving the automatic insurance benefit from our countries insurance program called social security.  Doesn’t it make more sense, as a country to start at the top in making changes.  It doesn’t make sense that we ask our coal, steel,construction, roofer’s and other workers to work until age 67.  Does it make since that we ask our young professionals who have mortgage, college bills, higher medical premiums, and are trying to make it to pay more social security (increasing the cap or even worse do away with the cap).

We have to take a common sense solution to the Social Security problem.  Why in the world are we not starting at the top. I once ask a wealthy individual if he needed his social security to live on, he said with a grin no, I then ask him what he did with his social security? He said he gave it away.  I ask him if he would be wiling to give t back to our country, he said he would if everyone else in his position would.  He was not going to be the first. Starting at the top is not going to solve the problem, but it would help the problem and any further changes to middle America in regards to rate, age or cap would be better received.

A social security plan based on need. A unique idea to social security but not to other government programs.  Need based is usually at the other end of the spectrum – poverty not the wealthy. A person or married person with say a net worth over five million dollars would not receive social security.  Instead of social security benefits they could receive a charitable contribution deduction on their income tax return or possibly a credit to be used if they ever had to go to a nursing or an assisted living facility.  They would be receiving something for their years of contribution. If for some reason their net worth fell under the need based amount, they would be eligible for social security benefits.  We want these people to continue to work if they want to and take risk.  The tax deduction equal to 20-25 percent is better than 100 percent of the benefit for our country.  In regards to the long-term care benefit – many of these people would die without going to one these facilities or quite frankly, many of these people would pay for private care.

If a wealthy couple could go back in time and ask themselves this simple question when they started their careers  “Do you want to work your entire life,pay into social security and receive the benefit because for some reason it just didn’t work out or would you work your entire life, pay into social security, and receive no benefit from social security insurance because they made it financially?

This should be the starting point of any change to social security.

 

 

 

Politics – A Suggestion Box?

I am sure most everyone has heard of a suggestion box.  A suggestion box is utilized by companies and organizations to help improve their operations and or customers experience.  A suggestion box is often a very valuable and important tool.  Management and people of influence in companies and organizations can’t be every place nor do they have all the answers and maybe they don’t even know the questions.  A suggestion box can tap into resources of the front line people.  These front line people live, breath, utilize, and know what they want.  Management can use these suggestions to see if it is a cost-effective improvement or possibly it may be an issue of educating or training employees.

Doesn’t it seem odd that companies and organizations all over democratic societies value the input of people who use their services and or products but the citizens of  these countries don’t have a method to communicate to our decision makers.  Relax, relax I know many of you are saying to yourselves that this is dead wrong.  Many if not all of our leaders have emails and methods of direct communication to their offices.  You might even argue that this is a form of suggestion box.  I would agree with you but I believe there should a better and more transparent solution.  For those of you who have written an idea to a government leader, have you ever wondered if it ever was read and analyzed by that particular leader?  Maybe it was read by an intern or maybe it wasn’t read at all.

Companies and organizations keep suggestions of the frontline people confidential.  It makes sense.  They either want to act or not act on a suggestion in confidential manner. Our governments is a different animal. Our governments is an organization of citizens. I would think most of you would agree that there are lots of complex issues that are occurring in our societies today.  Our countries are made up with some extremely intelligent people.  We, the citizens,  are always being told of the new rules and regulations, with little input or help in forming those rules and regulations.  In the age of the internet and blogging, I want to change this.

My goal is to establish a site where the citizens can communicate ideas, in an open and transparent format.  I don’t want a site that voices anger or identify problems only  but rather potential solutions.  It is easy to identify problems , the tough part is the solution.  By having an open format, the goal will be that this will be the go to site for our leaders or the media. By having an open format, it will allow others to add to our ideas and solutions.

Finally, wouldn’t it make sense for our governments (taxpayers money) pay for good solutions.   As  a taxpayer, corporation, organization, or a government,  I would be more than happy to pay a bounty, reward or incentive – what ever you want to call it, for a good idea that would save millions of dollars or help our citizens, or help solve a problem.  This is the new way, we need to encourage our governments and leaders to monetize solutions.  By monetizing solutions, it might encourage more people to think about inefficiencies and or ways of improvement.  What does our governments have to lose?