$20 trillion: That’s a lot of zeros in our national debt

Holy cow, $20 trillion is a lot of money and a bunch of zeros. Luckily for us taxpayers, the average interest rate we are paying on this debt is below 2 percent. This means that the U.S. is paying around $400 billion per year in interest to our creditors (more than $1 billion per day). Our biggest creditors are U.S. citizens and U.S. entities such as the Social Security Administration at around $14 trillion and the other $6 trillion is owed to foreign countries with the biggest being China at $1.4 trillion and Japan a close second at $1.3 trillion. This debt is guaranteed to be repaid by the United States of America, the strongest country on Earth. We have always had a great credit rating and this is why many countries lend us money at these pretty low rates. It is like money in the bank, federally insured through the FDIC. The key to a strong real estate market is having a strong middle class to buy and sell houses. In 1970, the middle class took home 62 percent of all income and today the number has plummeted to just 43 percent. According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 per year and 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now. At this point the U.S. only ranks 19th in the world when it comes to median wealth per adult. If you are reading this column, you might think I’m a depressed baby boomer but you would be wrong. I am a believer in the strength and ability of our population and believe that the two generations behind me will make this country better again. Making it “great again” will take a couple decades of hard work, sacrifice and much better and innovative education for our kids and grandkids. For now, we should all encourage the youth of our local community to learn about financial intelligence and investing for the future. We need to face the fact that technology is only going to get smarter, so tell your students, kids and your young employees that if the world is becoming all about robots and artificial intelligence, it is probably a good idea to learn about robots and this new technology. College is not for everyone, however, I just read in the newspaper that people with college degrees make 56 percent more income in their lifetimes than people like me that jump into the work force right after high school. Now, keep in mind that every financial institution that I have worked for has required education and extensive training programs so, luckily for my family, I was forced over the past 35 years to attend thousands of hours of classes and training. I know a lot of very wealthy plumbers, construction workers and even laborers with no college, however, unlike our government, they avoided financial mistakes like getting overdrawn on their bank accounts. They worked hard, maintained good credit and purchased and paid for their homes while investing in income producing assets such as stocks and real estate over their 40-year careers. A final note: I have met thousands of people that are financially successful and have little or no financial stress and one thing they all have in common is that they all own real estate.