Downturn in Economy…

I listen and watch CNBC (Financial channel) as my usual media choice when Im in the car or working at home. I love to hear both sides of an argument and find what I consider to be the weak points in each side. Im not much a middle of the road guy. I have strong opinions on almost everything and it takes quite a bit to swing me away from a position once I’ve made a decision (I’m a know it all – But I’m a know it all that is usually right :) ).

Lately there has been a lot of discussion on what has caused the economy to weaken and what it would take to bring us out of this weakness. As they discuss this issue it frustrates me to no end because pundits don’t even talk about what I think is the primary problem. It isn’t oil prices, it isn’t sub prime lending disasters, and it isn’t illegal immigration affecting the labor market. These are all severe problems that need to be addressed, but the root of our countries financial problems lie in a COMPLETE lack of financial discipline by our general populace and our government and leaders. Everything else is just a symptom. Financial discipline is a general term. What do I mean? Its simple. Its SO simple. You live within your means. If you don’t have enough money for something you DO NOT BUY IT. You invest in and build your future by spending on “smart purchases” (Education, Home, etc) and curbing or eliminating unnecessary expenses.

You must take responsibility for your future and your needs. Your life is 100% your responsibility. It doesn’t fall on the government or your employer or any other entity to provide for you. It falls on your shoulders to solve your own problems. This personal responsibility is a fleeting attribute in so many people.

Our government overspends ridiculous amounts of money on social programs that are excellent programs, but fall outside the scope of what I believe is the role of government. Does it mean these programs aren’t worthwhile? Absolutely not. In fact, many address critical social needs. The problem is every problem can’t and shouldn’t be addressed by government. They are OUR problems to solve. We BENEFIT from the struggle and challenge of overcoming our problems.

I know this isn’t a very popular opinion with a lot of people but it doesn’t change the facts. Until you decide to shape your own future don’t put a hand out for help, put that hand to work!

Matt Heaton /

19 Responses to “Downturn in Economy…”

  1. natalie says:

    You’re right, it’s not a very popular opinion…but I believe you’re exactly right and I appreciate your willingness to say it!

  2. I know that your post probably won’t resonate with a lot of people, but I must say that I started reading your post with severe skepticism (most people outside of the financial industry that try and write about the current state of the economy end up looking like idiots) but ended in total agreement.

    We must improve financial discipline in every sector of our country – starting in the highest levels of government all the way down to the poor.

  3. “personal responsibility is a fleeting attribute in so many people”

    I TOTALLY agree with that. The rest of the article is fine too I’m just saying that part was good.
    There is FAR too much finger pointing going on these days… Cowards…


    PS. Thank for Blue Host too. :-)

  4. Dave says:

    Dead on Matt! Don’t know if you’re a big Dave Ramsey fan or not, but here’s a quote from him on debt:

    “This is not a game, … Debt has become a part of who we are. It’s become that spoiled child in the grocery store with their lip stuck out: ‘I want it. I want it. I deserve it because I breathe air.’ And, well, that’s an uphill climb in our culture right now, to go against that and say, ‘Hey, let’s be grownups here. Let’s be mature, learn to delay pleasure, save up and pay for things.’” -Dave Ramsey

    Dave’s whole thing is to have a budget, live within your means, and pay down debt! I’ve gone through the personal class, and it really opened my eyes. They also have a version of the class for business owners *cough*cough* that can be run as a workshop for employees:

  5. Gail Tully says:

    Hey. Matt, you are right. The best thing about a free market economy is the cream of public services rising to the top. When we quit helping others we start losing ourselves -to greed.

    I like your view of responsibility. Now to make it work on my site!

  6. MotorHead says:

    There is a lot of truth to your post Matt, though it sounds very much the opinion of someone who is successful.

    Have you not heard the quote ” There but for the grace of god go I”? There are many among us who lived within their means until the sharks, who slimed a variable mortgage down their un-expecting throat, jack up the interest rates unreasonably. And is it their lack of responsibility if they loss their jobs to greedy company out-sourcing.

    What happens to BlueHost when China starts offering superior hosting packages for a $1 per month?

    The economy anywhere in the world today is built on a house of cards. Investor fear changing the fate of millions. Society has a lot of woes, and if anything, the fact that so many people extend them selves past their financial means, is but a symptom of these woes.

    Everything in America is about the “Benjamins”. Did the forefathers write “and pursuit of happiness” to mean the unconditional pursuit of money? There’s an undeniable tenancy for un regulated free enterprise to polarize the economy. If we are to fix the county’s economic woes we need some corporate conscience to prevail. I ask you what is the point of making”squillions” if it causes the currency to be worth little?

  7. Matt says:

    First, I agree. Its easy to say live within your means when you have money, but this is something I did personally for years when I didn’t have two wooden nickels to rub together. It CAN be done! I do have an issue with this
    statement from you.

    ” There are many among us who lived within their means until the sharks, who slimed a variable mortgage down their un-expecting throat, jack up the interest rates unreasonably. And is it their lack of responsibility if they loss their jobs to greedy company out-sourcing. :”

    Where is the responsibility for the person getting the loan???? No one jammed a mortgage down their throat. The customer SIGNED the deal. It is 100% completely their fault if they signed a deal without knowing what they were signing. It is this kind of
    dodging and blaming of others that brings about financial problems for people. Take blame for problems you create yourself.

    In addition if a company chooses to outsource or jobs go to China then you move on and go to the next thing. You certainly don’t stand around blaming China or the company that moved there. If hosting becomes $1 a month then thats great for the consumer. That is a GOOD thing. I will move on to greener pastures and you won’t hear a peep out of me about it. I don’t blame people for my problems, I move on and create solutions.

    You seem like a nice enough person, but I can already foresee problems in your future simply based on your comments. You can be successful in almost any scenario if you have freedom to work and choose where your efforts go – anything else is just an excuse to be unsuccessful.

    Matt Heaton

  8. Thank you so much for expressing your opinions. I struggle everyday with the same issues, not to say the pressure is not high every where else, but I live in southern california where the biggest and best-and who cares is you can afford it or not- is the rule. Right now a lot of people are paying dearly for the last ten years of excess. I will remember this post when I feel that spoiled child hit me up in the grocery store.

  9. Astroprof says:

    You are right on target. There are a few people who are unfortunate, and unexpected things happened to cause them to get into a financial mess. But, for most people, it was their own irresponsibility and stupidity. They bought houses that they could not afford assuming that they would ALWAYS appreciate in value. In the 90s, they bought stock that they could not afford assuming that it would ALWAYS go up in value. Now, they are up a creek, and they are asking their debt to be forgiven. What about us that stayed within our budget? I have never been late with my bills. I didn’t get a house as big and nice as I had wanted. Instead, I got one that I could afford. Don’t I get a break?

    And then, there are the lenders who were STUPID beyond measure. They loaned money to people who had no way to pay the loans back. They created crazy loan terms and participated in predatory lending practices. Now, they are asking for help, too? Again, what about those lenders who only loaned money to financially responsible people. If the irresponsible ones get a government bailout, do they get a break, too?

  10. Larry Ludwig says:

    Absolutely agree. Unfortunately the “American Dream” of “keeping up with the Jones” has gotten too many people in trouble. We got drunk with the easy borrowed money and the hangover is going to last years. Education about money and money mgt is IMHO one of the most important things everyone should understand, yet isn’t taught in our schools. In the end you are the master of your own destiny and should understand the risks/rewards for any financial action you do. Those who don’t pay the consequences (in some cases literally).

  11. Jordy says:

    Matt – I couldn’t agree more. Not only are consumers more irresponsible these days, but we’ve let government and the Fed get irresponsible with our money. This triple-punch combination is a direct result of people expecting something from nothing –but there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  12. Cody B says:

    Bingo! Our Government should be setting good examples, instead of taking the lead on creating more debt. If you want to go even further, its sound money that we need. Federal Reserve notes and fractional reserve banking are the definition of debt. Our entire monetary system is built on debt. Also this tax rebate is such a slap in the face. We don’t need to create more problems down the future by borrowing for now. Time to balance the budget and live within our means at home and in the government. We really need to abolish the Fed, we are inf or some hyperinflation over the next few years. I guarantee wages won’t keep up with it.

  13. Leon P says:

    Matt – Right on for both your original rant and your comments to the guy who wants to excuse the folks who fed at the trough.

    I left the Federal Government over 20 years ago to get away from the nuts inside the beltway around DC who think that all the solutions to the worlds problems come from the Federal Government.

    Now the lack of personal responsibility seems to be pervading our whole society!

    Keep up the good work. I just recommended Bluehost to a friend this morning.

  14. Danny says:

    Ron Paul 2008?

    But seriously, the state of our economy can only be blamed on the apathy of the people. Raise your kids to take responsibility for their actions, and to question everything… Everything!

  15. Dwight Finger says:

    Matt you are right. Interestingly, the Bible foretold a time such as this: “…men will be lovers of themselves…..lovers of money….”

  16. Arul says:

    Wow, on the same lines of Dave Ramsey!

    My wife is a huge Dave Ramsey fan. She has all his books, CDs and DVDs. You and Dave should do a show sometime about this, Matt.

    BTW, after reading and watching Dave Ramsey, my wife has taken over my credit cards and I’ve gained over 100 points in a year :) I don’t use cards now, its only cash unless cards are absolutely necessary.

    If you don’t have money, why even think of buying things that would take you ages to repay? Thats why so many Americans are in debt all their lives! And other countries are slowly going that way too. If only they got rid of that stupid piece of plastic!

    Way to go, Matt.


  17. David Mackey says:

    Matt, I think you make a good point – but it isn’t easy. I’ll admit I live outside my means…though I am working on it.

  18. Jim says:

    Matt is on target. It is called personal responsibility.

    Just because you don’t educate yourself and rely on the salesperson who is trying to make a living, by getting you the loan for what you “want”, is not an excuse for the choices you make. As an adult, you are solely responsible for your actions and blaming someone else does not absolve you from the choices you make.

    In response to Motorhead… If you study your history, you will find that the original statement was “the pursuit of land”, but it was Benjamin Franklin that suggested rewording it to “happiness” to provide a broader meaning to each individual’s own meaning of success. Keep in mind, in their day (and not so much different today), land ownership was a symbol of success.

    So, choose your own success and path in life and take the responsibility for your actions. It’s not the fault of the lender to offer you the money that you requested, but your promise to pay it back according to the terms of the contract you signed. As an adult, it is your responsibility to understand the terms of the agreement and if you have doubts, take to a lawyer that can explain it to you. Irregardless, it’s still your responsibility.

    Yes, most of us use credit to get things we want, but we must insure that we can meet our personal responsibilities to manage the debt we incur.

  19. Sam Weight says:

    Right on! I feel lucky to work for you! I am sad that I am moving away to a cheaper part of the country to try and have better means to live within. I have never worked for a CEO that was so impressive. I hope to work with you again someday.
    Curious: Who will you vote for?

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