As the calendar turns, ask yourself: What is important in 2012?

As the calendar turns, ask yourself: What is important in 2012?

The first post of 2012!

And only the second post since November 30th. When the calendar turned to December, my focus shifted from the normal routine to preparing our home and lives to welcome our new baby girl. She was born in late December and my wife and daughter are safely home.

As the calendar turns to 2012, I’ve struggled to find something to write about– although there is the one major political story brewing with the Iowa Caucuses: Rick Santorum’s recent ascent, Newt Gingrich’s recent fall, Ron Paul steady increase in support, along with Mitt Romney’s unwavering, and unimpressive, 24% support in the polls.

But as my daughter lies in her infant rocker next to me, none of that seems important. What is important to me in 2012 is that she is taken care of.

So what does that mean?

Good question. Obviously it means continued focus at work, so I am able to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. It also means making good financial decisions. Putting away at least 10% of every check that comes in– including gifts– and then reinvesting that 10% in stocks or real estate– something that will (or better put, should) bring a return. Of import is to not use that 10% for a vacation or a car or a television or something else I don’t need.

It also means to eat better (and sadly stop my affair with Nuts on Clark’s Chicago Mix) and get my ass to the gym. What good is this 10% investment in my future if I’m not around to use it?

I am fortunate, because my childhood memories include not worrying about much. The basic rule I remember was to be home when the street lights came on. There was always food on the table and a clean bed to sleep. Now, in my late thirties with two young children, those memories become more important as I attempt to provide the same things for my children. Was it easier in 1978? For me it certainly was. I showed up and there was food on the table. Now, I have to provide the food.

And although Barack Obama and our Congressional representatives have an affect on the value of my savings and investments, it is up to me to make the investment. I cannot and will not rely upon our state and federal government to put food on my table. Taking a look at the state of Illinois’ inability to fix its pension fund obligations (among other messes our politicians are unwilling to fix), should give us all pause on having to rely upon it for anything. Taking a look at our federal government’s inability to do anything coupled with our escalating debt, should make us think twice about whether a retirement funded by social security is realistic.

But, its not all doom and gloom. We live in a country where, with the opportunity an education provides and personal resolve, anyone can live very comfortably. It’s up to us to put one foot forward, day after day, week after week. It’s important to continue putting that one foot forward, not only for us, but for our children. So they are able to live only worrying about when the street lights come on.

So, that’s my resolution for 2012. To keep moving forward. To continue building something for my family– one brick at a time.

(And to work out and lose that couple extra pounds around the waist, of course. *wink)

Filed under: Change of Pace

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