Why Detroit’s Bankruptcy Shouldn’t Surprise Us – But Should Scare Us

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The Motor City.

If you haven’t heard the news, last week the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy.

Detroit was once the crown jewel of the industrious American nation. Now it’s a sad punch line. The famous town that was once the fourth largest city in the country now sees three people leave each hour – with over 80,000 of its home abandoned. It’s reported that nearly half of the traffic lights in the city are not functional and police response time averages 58 minutes (no wonder that only one of every ten crimes in Detroit are ever solved).

How can such a mighty city have such a mighty fall?

The pundits have their answers: rising labor costs, tyrannical unions, the Left, the Right, the young, the old, and everything in between.

I think there is a much more simple answer. One that should scare us all.

Detroit has fallen because our culture has embraced entitlement and rejected personal responsibility. Whether you are Left or Right, there’s no denying the facts – we are a nation of what’s in it for me.

We can have it now and pay for it later. American culture loves debt. The average American has $3,800 in the bank and owes $118,000. Nearly half are not saving for retirement and one in every four have no savings of any kind. We are a people who mortgage our future for today’s happiness.

What is going on in Detroit is going on in most American homes today. Detroit shouldn’t surprise us – but it should certainly scare us.

So, how can we recover our nation and our own homes?

  1. Listen to Dave Ramsey. Dave has been a huge influence of mine in the past several years as both a financial and leadership coach. His common sense approach to money is both simple and effective. Want to get out of debt? Do what Dave says.
  2. Have a vision for your wealth. If you are reading this, you are probably in the top 3% of the world’s wealth – yes, even if you are currently flipping burgers. If you don’t tell your money what to do, you will be surprised at where it went. Have a budget.
  3. Vote based on what is good for the nation, not just you. Yep, I said it. And so did John Kennedy: “…ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Life is bigger than you. Live like it; vote like it.

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