On a daily basis we turn on the TV or read about Democrats screaming at Republicans, or vice versa. Despite screams from the opposition, a Democratically-led Congress was able to successfully push Obamacare through the House and Senate in 2010 in a partisan fashion. The Republicans, however, were unable to jam repeal Obamacare legislation seven years later – at least on their first attempt.
While many Americans who sit at the opposite end of the political spectrum continue to scream at each other until they’re purple in the face, data indicates it is the Independents who are controlling the outcomes of elections. More specifically, a recent Gallup poll shows that 43% of voters identify as political independents, while over the last decade the percentage of voters identifying themselves with the traditional parties of Democrats and Republicans have declined to 30% and 26%, respectively.
It is true, President Trump potentially has a very limited party majority window before next year’s midterm elections. While Republicans do currently have an advantage over Democrats, as I’ve stated before, there are more important issues than these political ones, especially when it relates to your finances.
Whether the discussion revolves around healthcare, tax reform, defense spending, or immigration, the amount of influence you as a voter have on the political outcomes pales in comparison to the amount of control you ultimately have over your personal financial situation. As I’ve written in the past (see also Getting to Your Number), creating a secure financial plan will impact your long-term monetary success much more than senseless cheering or screaming for Obamacare’s long-run success or failure.
More critical than focusing on politics, the importance of calculating your budget, income sources, time horizon, and risk tolerance should be higher priorities. Everybody’s personal situation is different, therefore it is essential to explore a variety of other essential questions, including the following:
- How many more years do you plan to work?
- How much income will you need in retirement?
- What is your expected return on investments, given your asset allocation?
- How much debt do you presently have, and what are your plans to reduce it?
- What are the probabilities of you gaining an inheritance, and at what estimated value?
- Do you have an estate plan in place?
- Do you have children, and if so, what are your educational goals, and what type of inheritance or financial support are you looking to provide your children?
Since every investor’s situation is unique, there are plenty of other items to investigate. Politics is a state of mind, so don’t let the vicissitudes of Washington DC affect your long-term financial well-being.