SCOTT REED: Get informed to make an important decision

By Scott Reed

I can’t say I love many quotes from Donald Trump. I love a lot of quotes from Winston Churchill, Will Rogers and Abraham Lincoln, but I haven’t memorized much by “The Donald.”
That being said, I am told one of my favorite quotes comes from him. When asked if he ever worried about how much money he owed the banks, he supposedly said, “If you owe the bank a million dollars, you have a problem. If you owe the bank a billion dollars, the bank has a problem.”
If you think about it, we are the bank for Congress. The members have to come to us – the taxpayers – for money. Sometimes it seems like it is Congress’ problem to deal with the big issues like Medicare and Social Security. It seems bigger than any one of us.
But together, we are the bank and it is our problem. That is why the election this year is so important. We are getting closer and closer to seeing our problems overwhelm us, and it is up to us to fix things.
The first thing we must insist on is honesty. We can no longer put up with the rhetoric that comes from the collective mouths of Congress. It doesn’t make sense to hear our leaders say Social Security is sacred and cannot be touched, while at the same time they admit our current framework for Social Security is unsustainable. Our leaders must look past the next election cycle and make some hard decisions before there are no decisions left to make.
I am 53 and I would like to see Social Security stay solvent for me and my generation. I have been contributing to the program for about 38 years. It would be nice to get part of that money back. I’m not looking for a big return on my investment; I’m just looking for some of my principal back.
Social Security started in the 1930s with the promise that it would be a supplement to an individual’s retirement income. But it didn’t include both breadwinners in a family if there were two. It only included the largest breadwinner. Money was paid out at age 60, but the average life expectancy of a male back then was 58, so most people died before they were owed a penny.
Now we live, on average, into our 80s and qualify for distributions at age 65. This program has changed drastically from its intent. Quit telling me how sacred it is and tell me how we are going to make it sustainable again.
Investors must spend time listening to candidates and decide who has a realistic plan for improvement. Our government has become filled with “leaders” unwilling to yield an inch and incapable of voting based on what is best for our country.
Former Gov. William Winter told me recently our form of government was created so people of different opinions can discuss the issues and find a way to make progress together. It requires compromise. He said “progress together,” not alone. Too many of our politicians today seem very willing to leave behind those with opposing views. We need better than that.
One of the best investments you can make this fall is to invest your time in careful consideration of the issues and vote for those you believe can get our nation on track. I believe we are at a tipping point on many of the big issues of our time. We are running out of time to kick the can further down the road. November is a good time to start heading in the right direction.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang separately.”
Scott Reed is CEO of investment advisory firm Hardy Reed in Tupelo. Contact him at (662) 823-4722 or sreed@hardyreed.com.