We'd have gotten something. But it wouldn't have been the "9-9-9" plan that Herman Cain campaigned on.
Still, I think as Americans we can use at least the simplicity of the concept of the "9-9-9" plan to right our own paths individually, and to make a strong effort toward getting our own financial houses in order. As we jump into 2012, I think we have a greater opportunity than we've had in a long time to set a new course for ourselves, and to pave a path that is far less rocky than it's been since at least 2008.
So what does a "9-9-9" plan at home mean? It means looking for simple ways to increase our earnings by 9%, decrease our spending by 9%, and reducing our debts by 9%. Granted, this is not something that's entirely easy. For example, how in the world do you increase your earnings by 9% when the average worker is probably lucky to get even a 2% increase in their wages?
Well, let's take a step back momentarily. I didn't necessarily suggest our plan would be 9%. What I said was we can use at least the simplicity of the concept of the "9-9-9" plan to right our paths individually, and to make a strong effort toward getting our own financial houses in order.
At the end of the day that number is probably not going to be 9%. But what if that number is just 1%? Can this still work out to be an effective plan? I think it can. Let's say you earned $40,000 in 2011. A 1% increase is a mere $400.
The point I'm making is that irrespective of whatever percentage number you choose, having a plan and being committed to that plan is what's important. And by the way, keep in mind as well that all of these numbers combined work together to acheive the goal. If you can increase your earnings, for example, by whatever percentage you decide is workable for you, why couldn't you also redirect that increase in earnings directly to savings? And what about debt reduction? What is the actual cost benefit to reducing debt? Paying less in interest payments of course. If you added it all up at the end of the day, I tend to think that engaging a plan like this would all benefit the entirety of the plan. Each part would complement the other, and compound the overall effect of the plan. The effective percentages would be higher than the base percentages overall.
Going into 2012 I think it's vital that we head ourselves onto a better path. We need to be more self-reliant. We need to be more capable of weathering a storm. We need to have more flexibility and therefore, more opportunity to get things accomplished, and make the path we're on less dangerous and risky as we've done in the past. Going into 2012 is a time to lay out all of our cards on the table and determine the best way to play them. It's a time to reflect on how we've played our cards in the past, and avoid the mistakes we made that helped us into this fine mess that we're only now starting to see ever so sligtly tidying itself up.
For you maybe it's the "2-2-2" plan. The numbers you pick aren't what's important. But if you want to see the most benefit in 2012, certainly picking the do-nothing "0-0-0" plan, or worse, picking the negative percentages plan from pre-2008 we were on will only get us right back where to we started in this whole fine mess.