by Jim Quinn, The Burning Platform:

I’ve seen the graphic below a few times over the last several weeks. I understand its message and have essentially tried to follow the hard decision path for most of my life, while imparting the same advice to my three sons. I’m sure they got sick of me telling them that no matter what amount you make, if you spend less than that amount, you will get ahead in life financially. Of course, this graphic is too simplistic to describe the real world, where medical misfortune, bad luck, bad investments, or bad people running the country can and do prevent many hard working honest families from ever achieving the “easy life”.

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We all know life is never easy, but it can potentially be easier if you make enough right decisions along the way. The graphic reminds me of a quote sometimes attributed to John Wayne, “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.” I think that captures the truth better than hard decisions lead to an easy life. It does seem the level of stupidity across the general populace has risen to astounding levels over the last couple decades.

I was lucky enough to join the full-time work force in 1986, when the country still had a growing economy and short-term hard decisions would usually lead to an easier life over the long-term. Neither of my parents graduated high school, but a father driving a gasoline truck for 40 years and a stay at home mom, could raise three kids in a 900 square foot row home in the suburbs outside Philadelphia, and they could all graduate college with little or no debt. Those days are long gone. My parents made hard decisions their entire lives, to make their kids lives better than theirs.

I think another name for “hard decisions” are decisions to delay gratification. For me, decisions about my career, kids, real estate, and not keeping up with the Joneses, constituted my hard decisions. Out of college, I put in two years at an accounting firm, even though I hated every minute, because I needed two years of CPA experience to get my CPA license. I didn’t want a CPA license other than to put it on my resume to get a good job with a corporation. I was 23 years old and wanting to have fun every weekend with my buddies, but I made the hard decision to spend 10 weeks totally dedicated to passing the CPA exam, and I did.

I knew an MBA was another stepping stone to a better paying job, so when the corporation I had joined made it clear an MBA was not valued there, I left and went somewhere it was valued. I then proceeded to work my full-time job, including many weekends, and get my MBA at night at Villanova. It was hard and it took three and a half years, but it was worth it, as the Treasurer position at IKEA came available, and my CPA and MBA allowed me to get the job.

Just as I got the MBA and the new job, our first child was born. My wife had a good job at a social services organization, but we made the hard decision for her to stay at home and raise our kids, as two more sons were born over the next six years. Our overall family income was lower after my wife left the workforce, so we delayed buying a single family home, took vacations with our parents, drove used cars until they died, and rarely went out to restaurants. We managed to live beneath our means, contribute to my 401k, put the kids through Catholic school, and spent quite a bit on hockey equipment, because the boys loved hockey.

Many of my hard decisions when it came to my career most certainly did not lead to an easier life financially. I refused to lie or shade the truth at IKEA, resulting in my termination, because the unqualified female diversity CEO was too stupid to grasp the facts I presented. I realized the willful ignorance to my projections of the CFO at Toll Brothers in 2006 made my position untenable, so I took a substantial pay cut to move to Wharton. After 13 years of dedicated service, the new CFO turned out to be a despicable human being, and I took another pay cut to come to my current, and hopefully last employer.

So, from my perspective, not all hard decisions lead to an easier life financially. But the hard decisions I’ve made have kept my integrity intact. I’ve never lied, cheated, or done anything I considered unethical in my entire career. I also choose to no longer become friends with co-workers outside of work, because I’ve been stabbed in the back too frequently by people I thought were friends. My blog is my outlet for my anger, depression, and desire to tear off the veil hiding the treasonous, evil, corrupt, and psychotic actions of the government, media, banks, and Deep State.

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