This week has been a controversial week here at The College Investor, so I thought I would wrap it up on a high note about some things America get's right with personal finance. Even with all that could be done better, that are a lot of great things to be thankful for, as you don't always find them abroad.
If you haven't checked out my other posts this week, here they are:
However, even with those glaring issues, we still get it right in a lot of ways. Here are a few.
I couldn't imagine living in a time when it was uncertain whether your bank deposits would be safe. However, less than 100 years ago, that was the case. It took a depression and a lot of legislation, but today, there is a lot of safety in American finance.
Think, we have the FDIC, FCUA, SPIC, and a bunch of other regulatory agencies making sure our money is safe.
This safety extends to deposits, investment accounts, insurance, and annuities. With this safety comes stability, and with stability comes prosperity!
Everyone complains about taxes. Everyone hates paying taxes. However, we should be thankful that in the United States, we do pay relatively low taxes compared to most other developed nations. According to the Tax Policy Center, U.S. taxes as a percentage of GDP rank 26 out of the 30 countries in the OECD, averaging just 27.3%, well below the average of 36.2%.
Compared to Europe and Canada, we have a lower tax rate than anyone except Turkey. Throw in Asia, and we the lowest except for Korea and Japan, with which we are tied.
We should be thankful that we get as many services as we do, and yet we pay relatively so little for it.
Another area of complaint is retirement. However, with Social Security and Medicare, we do offer many safety nets that a lot of countries don't. Beyond that, there is a lot of encouragement for individuals to save for retirement through IRAs, 401(k)s, and other vehicles. Finally, a lot of companies (although declining), still offer pensions and other benefits for retirees.
I think that this sets Americans up for successful retirements. However, unlike many European countries, we do put the burden on the individual to take care of themselves for the most part.
Readers, how else is America great when it comes to personal finance?