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The 2013 inauguration Monday was a treat to watch. It was full of gawkworthy moments, from Michelle Obama’s flowing red dress at the ball to Beyonce’s lip-synching. I thought the awkward essay — I mean, poem — was a bust, but I really loved President Obama’s inauguration speech — not because of his party or political leaning, but because it really spoke to everyone in the nation. It was a call for us to work together and harness our potential.
My favorite part of the speech was the repetitive use of “we the people” from our Constitution. It was a great reminder that we all have a stake in this country. Anyone can run for office. We all can, and should, vote as part of a democracy. We are not subjected to the rule of a monarch or a dictator. We are all created equal. Though he reminds us, “Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness.”
Here was another one of my favorite passages, which is no surprise considering my interest in personal finance:
America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive, diversity and openness, of endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together. For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest labor will liberate families from the brink of hardship.
Maybe I sound like an idealist (I’ve been told this a few times before). But I like to think that our country is full of potential, and that maybe there can be some cooperation and progress for the greater good.
While we can’t control much about what is happening in Washington right now, we can all make progress in our own finances. Explore my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week for great tools and ideas.
1. Little Miss Moneybags reminds us that things always cost more than we expect and offers a few tips on how to stay on budget.
2. Christian Personal Finance debates whether you should use your emergency fund to pay off debt.
3. No Credit Needed shares his monthly money plan in detail with readers to give us a good example of a system that works.
4. Money Smart Life offers advice on how to borrow money if you’re bankrupt and what you can do to improve your credit.
5. Financial Highway lists five strategies to use in 2013 to improve your credit and make it possible to borrow at better rates.
6. Enemy of Debt discusses the downfall of many people trying to get rid of debt: not being able to say no. He offers tips for people-pleasers on how to set aside our fears and say no every once in a while.
7. Lately, I’ve been feeling bored but am tired of spending money. My Dollar Plan lists 11 free and cheap ideas for having fun this winter.
8. Money Life and More offers a detailed outline of how he set up his girlfriend’s budget, which is useful for anyone just getting started.
9. Tackling Our Debt interviews an author about some of the best ways parents can teach their kids about money.