Here’s What I Believe… How About You?

Most weeks we take some time on Friday to open the mailbag and answer your questions.

But in light of current events around our country — and around the world — I wanted to do something a bit different today.

It’s not often that I talk about politics, social issues, or my personal convictions.

Not because I don’t have thoughts in those areas… These are issues I have conversations with my family about all the time. And I do have some strong opinions on many of the relevant issues in our world today.

But the truth is, my training and professional expertise is in markets. I’m good at helping you find the best opportunities to generate income, grow your wealth, and protect your retirement.

So unless the day-to-day issues affect these financial goals, I usually keep my personal opinions to myself.

But Reader, the truth is I consider you part of my family.

And with everything going on in our world today, I figured that as a family member here at The Daily Edge, you deserve to know where my head and my heart is at these days.

I hope you’ll send me a message this weekend and let me know what’s on your heart and mind as well.

I know we’re all shaken and disturbed by the anger, hurt, injustice and divisions that have come into focus over the last few weeks.

I also know there are issues with clear “right and wrong” sides, and other issues that are more nuanced.

Hopefully, by sharing some of the things I believe, this will open up a conversation where we can all become a bit more knowledgeable and also more compassionate.

If something I say today offends you, I’d really appreciate it if you sent me an email (EdgeFeedback@StPaulResearch.com) — That gives me a chance to think about other perspectives I may not have considered.

Also, once you’re done reading this, I hope you’ll drop me a line (use the address above) and let me know what you believe. Who knows, maybe this conversation can lead to some much needed healing in our nation.

Here goes…

I believe the golden rule is more important now than ever… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I can’t help but think that if we all had this perspective — even in just listening to other perspectives — we would have a lot more unity in our country.

No one should be qualified — or disqualified — because of race, religion or creed… This is truly what America stands for. We are a nation of immigrants. Our history is based on a group of misfits figuring out a way to govern and work and live together. No one should consider themselves better — or worse — than anyone else.

We should be held accountable for our actions… It doesn’t matter if I’m in law enforcement, demonstrating on a sidewalk, driving over the speed limit, or taking a test. Our actions must all be measured against the standards that are in place. And those laws or regulations should be applied equally to everyone.

Everyone deserves due process… Each person is innocent until proven guilty. We all have a right to be judged by a jury of our peers. There is a process of law and order in our country… a system that relies on integrity and one that should be applied equally to anyone. It breaks my heart to see anyone robbed of their right to this due process.

I respect and appreciate law enforcement… I believe that most people in law enforcement have a deep desire to serve their communities. Some of my closest friends are police officers — including my best friend growing up who was shot 7 times in the line of duty. Many of these people put on the uniform each day, with legitimate concern about whether they will make it home safely to see their family when the shift is over.

Abuse of power is disgraceful… While I respect and admire law enforcement, I can’t in any way condone the abuse of power that we’ve seen in some circumstances. This isn’t right. And any department, unit, or individual who stands by and watches an abuse of power without stepping in to protect the vulnerable should be held accountable.

I understand that my experiences influence my perspectives… While I have close friends of many different races, religions, and social backgrounds, I still do not truly understand what it is like to be part of a minority community. I understand that my own experiences have shaped my beliefs and my judgments and my instincts. I want to understand the experiences of others and I will ask questions and learn what I can. But I understand that it is impossible for me to “walk a mile in the shoes” of those who are in a much different place than me.

Respect of authority is our obligation — even if we disagree… In this time of political division, it is easy to demonize leaders or candidates on either side of the aisle (whichever people we disagree with). I believe it is crucial that we respect the position of leadership even if we don’t agree with the political stance or their personal decisions. This is a believe I’ve held strongly — especially about the President of the United States — through administrations that I agreed with and those that I don’t.

I’m so thankful that our government structure is set up so that we as Americans can choose our leaders on a regular basis. This is a privilege and an honor. And once that choice is made, my respect for my country demands that I respect the leaders that our country has elected.

Free markets offer the best opportunities for everyone… Moving on to some thoughts about our markets, I believe that financial markets (and all businesses) operate best when people have the freedom to take risks, people are rewarded for hard work, and when businesses are allowed to experience the successes and failures that come with the way their businesses are run.

(Obviously this particular coronavirus season is something of an exception. But too many bailouts and government stimulus programs can eventually lead to moral hazard — causing businesses to take unnecessary risks because they know the government will help if something goes wrong.)

Capitalism is flawed… But it’s the best option we have… I’m really frustrated with the way many media outlets portray success stories — as if it is evil for companies to generate profits, or individuals to become wealthy after creating or managing a successful business. Business success ultimately benefits society by providing jobs, by offering goods and services to the public, and by generating profits for investors. Remember, investors include the millions of Americans who have 401(k) plans, state or local pensions, and other common investments. When capitalism works well, it brings everyone up — not just the top one or two percent.

Capitalism works best when used with compassion… While I believe in capitalism and the success of business and individuals, my heart still goes out to those who are less fortunate. I believe it is my responsibility to help those in need. It’s all of our responsibility. Too often, we look to the government to meet the needs of those less fortunate. But in a true community, we all help each other. Capitalism can generate the resources to provide that help. But it has to be merged with our own personal compassion to help those in our community.

To whom much is given, much will be required… Here in America, we’ve ALL been given much! We have freedoms that citizens in other nations can only dream about. We have opportunities that are available to us every day.

I’m thankful for the many blessings my family has been given and I’ll bet you feel the same way. In light of all we’ve been given, it’s important for us to pay it forward, offering our help, our resources, our perspectives, and our compassion to those in need or under stress around us.

…With liberty and justice for all… All means everyone.

I’m looking forward to a day when we can look at our society and honestly say that opportunities, justice, perception, and standards are equal for everyone. I really think we can make some serious progress in that direction!

Thanks for listening to my thoughts. And I really do hope you’ll send me a note and let me know what you believe, where you stand, and what resonates with you. (EdgeFeedback@StPaulResearch.com)

Next week we’ll get back to some questions and answers and reader feedback (probably sooner rather than later). But in the meantime I hope you enjoy the weekend and I look forward to helping you plan for and live a rich retirement!

Here’s to growing and protecting your wealth!

Zach Scheidt

Zach Scheidt
Editor, The Daily Edge
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