Independence Day, 21st birthday and financial freedom

We are a sovereign state, and we can defend ourselves. The Jews of Israel have independence and we are in charge of our own destiny. 

 Israeli money bills. (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Israeli money bills.
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

I don’t pay attention to the number of birthdays. It’s weird when I say I’m 53. It just is crazy that I’m 53. I think I’m very immature. I feel like a kid. That’s why my back goes out all the time, because I completely forget I can’t do certain things anymore – like doing the plank for 10 minutes.

A few years ago I wrote, “Sometimes my children complain that they aren’t portrayed in the brightest of lights in my columns. In fact, a few months ago, my oldest daughter went to the doctor – and someone in the office, who religiously reads the column, had asked her if she is the one that needs to be driven to school because she always misses the bus and ends up coming late! Needless to say, my daughter TK made it known to me that she wasn’t overjoyed to have this be her claim to fame.”

I’ll take this opportunity to sort of apologize to her, and to let everyone know what a great young woman she has become. Two great years of Sherut Leumi, helping to save Israel, and now she’s really enjoying studying in a Midrasha. More importantly, she is always willing to help out at home, often doing the chores of other children who are busy on their phones and “will do it soon!” And now she’s 21! Holy cow! I am not really sure when or how that happened, but, boy, how time flies.

We still haven’t decided what to get her for her birthday present. It would probably help if we were to actually think about it, but I did contemplate doing what I wrote about a while back. Mark Rioboli, CFP at Independence Advisors, wrote about his birthday gift to his daughter:

I recently asked my daughter, “Guess what you’re getting for your birthday?”

 People watch the military airshow during Israel's 74th Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem, May 5, 2022.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) People watch the military airshow during Israel's 74th Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem, May 5, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“A car? Jewelry? A new phone?” she guessed excitedly.

“Nope,” I said. “Estate planning documents.”

“Seriously, Dad?” she said.

“Seriously”, I said. “You can’t enter adulthood without the proper documents. Such is the life of a wealth advisor’s child.”

Even I’m not that cruel!

Throughout both Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day, we hear at each ceremony how, now that we have the State of Israel and a strong army, we no longer have to rely on any other nation for our national security. We are a sovereign state, and we can defend ourselves. The Jews of Israel have independence and we are in charge of our own destiny. 

TK, a 21st birthday is about independence. As you move more and more towards independence, it’s important to start being smart financially. My first tip is to keep it real.

Like many of you, I spent hours working the grill – and inhaling a year’s supply of smoke – for a family BBQ on Independence Day. I have met with too many people whose financial reality is based solely on smoke and mirrors.

Just look at Instagram or Facebook; they appear to be living the good life, but they’re loaded up with debt and have no plan to pay it off, which means it’ll keep on getting worse and worse for them. The earlier that you can start budgeting and living within a budget, the easier it will be when you get older and your expenses ramp up.

It’s never too early to start saving. Get into the habit of putting some of the money you earn into savings. As I have written numerous times, the earlier you start saving, the more the wonder of compound interest will help you create a secure financial future. Don’t fall for the “government will take care of me” line. It’s not going to happen. With all their regulation, they still couldn’t keep chocolate free of salmonella. And let’s face it, our government isn’t so good with managing their own money. So why would anyone think that they could take of us financially? It’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to take care of our own future. No one else will do it for you.

Establishing good financial habits at an early age can really make a huge difference for your financial future. Once you hit middle age, changing your habits is a tall order. By starting early with good habits, it will become a natural part of your life.

In a world where everything is instant, know that the key to growing wealth is patience. You’re not going to suddenly become a millionaire. You need to realize that the good financial habits I’ve mentioned are the real keys to becoming financially secure. Live within your means, save and invest, and focus on a slow and steady approach to building wealth.

Imma and I want to wish you a very happy birthday. You should merit a year of health and happiness and may the Lord fulfill all your requests. We are so proud of you and you should keep up the good work.

The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.

Aaron Katsman is the author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.

www.gpsinvestor.com; [email protected]