Is greed good? Gekko is backWritten by Nolan Baker Mark Clair | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Gordon Gekko is back! In the new movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” Gordon Gekko is out of prison and back on the scene in the business world. If you remember him from the 1987 movie “Wall Street,” the character was a ruthless and greedy broker who took advantage of inside information to manipulate the market. He ends up in prison and in the new movie he gets out and has evidently seen the error of his ways. The character is played by actor Michael Douglas, who won an Oscar for his role in the original movie.
In “Wall Street,” Gekko was giving a speech and uttered the memorable lines, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”
Well, here we are many years later and some would say that the USA is, in fact, a malfunctioning corporation. The last time we looked, our country was more than $13 trillion in debt and spending money faster than it is taking it in. Many would say that is the definition of bankruptcy. For startling figures, go to USDebtClock.org and see such interesting figures as Assets Per Citizen: $238,729 and Liabilities Per Citizen: $355,893 (the numbers are in real time and are changing before your eyes). Seeing these figures is an eye-opening experience as we continue in what some are predicting as a “double dip” recession where there is a recession that is followed by a short-lived recovery that is followed by another recession.
Many would argue that the cause of this is unadulterated greed. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of greed is, “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.” The definition of selfish is, “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others.” If we look at what has happened recently, there is a good case for this. The greed on the real Wall Street, the greedy corporate executives and their inflated salaries, the greedy people buying houses they never should have bought and the banks giving out the loans they never should have given. Bailouts, greedy politicians, and we could go on and on.
Sounds like a lot of selfishness going on. And yet, if you think about it, isn’t mankind inherently selfish? After all, we have to figure out every day how we are going to survive. How to put food on the table, take care of our kids, have enough money to live, have enough money to die, let alone have enough money to retire. We have to think about ourselves constantly. What am I going to eat today? How am I going to make the mortgage payment? The car payment? It all adds up to a lot of stress.
I [Mark] do not believe in the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” I do believe that many things just happen and since we have a God who cares for us, good can come out of bad things that happen. I was just talking to a friend of mine who lost his job last week and who is going through a tough time emotionally and is under a lot of stress. I am confident though, that he will survive and look back and say how his negative situation eventually turned into something positive. I am thinking about you, my brother.
Someone sent me an e-mail today that included the following scripture: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” — James 1:2-4. Can you imagine not lacking anything? Wow. What a thought! I don’t think we’re necessarily talking about money here.
In the meantime, all we can do is continue to persevere. Fight the good fight. Hang in there. We can do this by being wise and responsible with the resources we have been given and the resources we can create.
For more information about The Retirement Guys, tune in every Saturday at 1 p.m. on 1370 WSPD or visit www.retirementguysradio.com. Securities are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. NEXT Financial Group, Inc nor its representatives provide tax advice. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. The office is at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537.