3 Things 1-11

01/11/2021

Thing One

On Fighting

After months of hearing how our way of life hinges on the results, we (those of us that are honest with ourselves anyway) will learn, once again, that politics really isn't a life and death struggle. It's just politics, and it’s not pretty. That’s not to say there isn’t a fight to be had because there is one. But that fight is not to be had with your neighbor because he has BLM sign in his yard or with your co-worker because he wears a red MAGA hat. And in that fight, contrary to the exhortations from your favorite politicians, there’s really only one logical way to go about it. See the brief but compelling story below about NBA legend, Bill Russell, for a simple explanation of what that is:

Bill Russell’s parents had moved the family from Louisiana to a Seattle housing project complex when he was about 9 years old. On his first day there, Bill was just kind of hanging around on the steps in front of his building when five kids came running by. One of them slapped him and knocked him down. So he got up crying and went inside and told his mother. She grabbed her house keys and said "let's go" and they went looking for the five kids. When they encountered the kids on a nearby block, his mother said, "are these the guys?" to which Bill replied affirmatively. His mother then told him to fight them all, one at a time. According to Bill, he won 2 and lost 3. On the way home, he was sobbing uncontrollably, presumably at his losses, and his mother stopped and said, "Don't worry about it. It doesn’t matter whether you won or lost. You have to fight for yourself, always fight for yourself."

Politicians and other interested parties will try to convince you otherwise. They will try to convince you that you need to elect them so they can fight for you. It’s the same argument that has been made for decades and centuries even. But if it’s true, why is there still so much need for us to elect politicians to solve the same basic problems? And if it’s true, how about these questions as well:

What’s in your 401k or IRA right now? If it’s not where you want it to be which politician is doing something about that for you?

If you were to pass away right now, which politician is going to write you a check to see to it that your dependents don’t suffer from the loss of your income?

Depending on your specific circumstances, the questions could go on and on and the answers would be the same. That’s not to say you shouldn’t vote. You should absolutely vote if you want to. But voting and fighting are two entirely different endeavors. In the latter pursuit, Mrs. Russell’s advice will likely lead to the best outcome.

Thing Two

Good States For Your Golden Years

Income from retirement plans (401ks, 403bs, pensions, etc.) is typically taxed at the federal and state level, but the following states exempt retirement plans and social security income from state taxes:

Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming

Certainly, this is subject to change. For anyone paying attention to the ever-mounting debt burdens at the state and federal levels, it’s clear that taxes will have to rise over time. So retirement income may or may not remain sacred in that regard. But for now, at least, it is sacred in these states. So if you or someone you know is considering a change of scenery at retirement and retirement income is a key consideration, these states should be on your list.

Thing Three

Just A Thought

"Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.” - Confucious