Thankful for the country we live in l Insightful Investing
Last updated 11/21/2018 at Noon
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I come from a very hospitable family background. I am thankful for this tremendous heritage. Both of my parents came from farms.
My father was a “cornhusker” from Nebraska and my mother was a “wheat farmer” from North Dakota. They both came from large families, and I have five siblings and tons of cousins. I am grateful for this. I am thankful for a lot of things these days.
In October I was in Guatemala. I traveled with an organization that is investing in one community - a farming community.
The goal of this organization is to help raise the average education level of the children in this rural town. The average education level is currently about the third grade. This is true for both the male and females, and the reason is because this town is an agricultural town and the children end up working on the family farms as early as 5 or 6 years old.
The farmers in this town plant their fields by hand. Yes, you heard that correctly, by hand.
They grow corn, beans and squash on the same plot of farmland at the same time. The farmland is not flat, like Nebraska or North Dakota; it is in the mountains. Picture in your mind, Switzerland meets Hawaii.
And they work the fields with sticks and machetes. The average worker in these areas makes less than $10 a day.
On this particular trip, I traveled with a friend of mine who is a dentist. He and his wife go every year and do dental work on the students in this town.
For one week they extract and fill decaying teeth. On this trip there were two doctors, five support staff and four interpreters. One of the support staff in an educator who teaches dental hygiene in the school itself.
As a result of her work, the dentists are filling more teeth than they are extracting. The first few years it was almost 90 percent extractions.
Guatemala is a country with seemingly plenty of resources. I asked myself, “Why are they planting their fields by hand? Why have they not progressed?”
I don’t have the answer to these questions. I have my suspicions, but I don’t know.
I am grateful to live in a country that has unleashed the unlimited human potential in each one us.
I am grateful for a system of government that allows for the creative talent and ideas that emerge from free enterprise capitalism.
I am grateful for a robust infrastructure of solid roads, clean water, stable electricity and a premiere educational system.
I am grateful for a system of government of the people, for the people and by the people. In Guatemala, 10 families rule the entire country. They had a civil war that started in 1960 and ended in 1998. Their civil war did not produce the same type of outcome that was produced by the U.S. in the 1860’s.
Despite all of our flaws, the United States of America is a miracle. I am grateful for that. I am grateful for the unfettered freedom to do what I want, when I want. I can make as much money as I chose. I am protected by my government to conduct business and live my life without fear of crippling oppression.
OK, well I need to abide by a few laws and regulations that I don’t like from time to time. Considering the alternative in much of the world, my compliance is a small price to pay.
When this organization started 15 years ago, they partnered with a local school that was on the verge of closing. They had four teachers and 28 students.
Through the partnership with a retired American businessman, the school now employees 28 teacher and has over 300 students. They have opened a high school in addition to the primary grades.
It is my belief that my fellow countrymen and women are the most generous people on the planet. We are the first to open our hearts and wallets to help anybody at anytime. I am grateful I grew up with a spirit of generosity.
There is so much to be grateful for. I am even grateful for the traffic jams. Yes, you heard that right. It means there are plenty of people here and plenty of jobs.
In fact so many jobs our freeways are packed. The streets of much of world are shoddy and full of people fleeing their country for a better life, our life.
When I consider the sacrifices people have made to give me this life and the country I live in, I am grateful. When I go to the dentist and have Novocain and nitrous oxide I am grateful. Wow am I grateful!
This is an “investment” column. And my gratitude is recognition of the tremendous investments people have made in me, our country and the world around us.
So let me say thank you to you my fellow countrymen and women. We are fortunate people and we are also a grateful nation.
Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.
Jeffrey Moormeier of JG Moormeier Financial is a Mukilteo-based financial advisor affiliated with KMS Financial Services, Inc. an SEC registered investment adviser. His column does not represent the opinions of KMS, nor is it an official prediction or recommendation of any kind. The opinions expressed in this column are generalizations. For advise catered to your specific financial circumstances, contact Jeff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-931-8898.