Look what's happening out in the streets
Got a revolution, Got to revolution
-- Jefferson Airplane
I've been expecting Occupy Wall Street to happen for the past three years.
Anger has been rising on Main Street since the bailouts and the million dollar bonuses. Washington and Wall Street spent so much time talking to each other that they never noticed and figured it had gone away.
It has not.
Since 2008, I've written over 100 columns on Huffington Post and my new book, Wealth Without Wall Street: A Main Street Guide to Making Money, is a guide to getting Wall Street out of people's lives.
If I were 22 instead of 52, I'd probably be out on the streets. Instead, like most baby boomers, I'm watching the revolution on television.
And supporting the protesters in a middle-aged way.
Wealth Without Wall Street was released a few weeks before Occupy Wall Street took place. Along with sharing in the protest, I offer concrete solutions for reducing the power of Wall Street.
In a chapter called, "Think Globally, Act Locally," I said:
I don't advocate marching in the streets or writing a letter to your Congressman.
A better form of protest is to set up your finances in a way that reduces the influence of Washington and Wall Street in your lives.
The book offers four steps to reducing the power of Wall Street over Main Street.
- Move Your Money from a Wall Street bank to bank or credit union in your community. Arianna Huffington and others at Huffington Post were the first to advocate this movement which has really taken off since Occupy Wall Street started. By moving your money. you decrease the power and influence of Wall Street. It may stop those trying stunts like charging five dollars to use a debit card as Bank of America wants to do.
Local banks and credit unions will make sure that money is going back to your community. Use them as much as possible.
- Get rid of your credit cards. Most of them are issued by Wall Street banks. Dropping your credit cards will take money out of Wall Street's pockets and put it yours.
- Get rich slowly. A lot of the problems on Wall Street stem from their obsession with quick profits, in order to justify their million dollar bonuses.
Those of us in the baby boom age range need to think about having money for retirement and for the rest of our lives. There are plenty of opportunities, off Wall Street, for people to develop a safe nest egg if they do it slowly over a long period of time. We don't need Wall Street to "trade" our money for us.
- If you fit into the world of self-employment, now is a time to think about it. In order to make Wall Street stockholders and bond holders happy, many large companies are laying off thousands of employees, or slashing their benefits and pensions. If you can use your skill sets in a business you own yourself, it is a better long term move.
The phrase "think globally, act locally" is one that baby boomers are familiar with. Although it is usually associated with the environmental movement, the best way to think globally, act locally is to do two things at the same time.
Every person can work toward being a good citizen. That includes supporting local businesses, being a good neighbor, and gaining financial independence.
Then, recognize that your individual actions can ultimately reduce the power of Wall Street and Washington over Main Street.
People of in every age group, in every part of the country, can do their share to help "Occupy Wall Street."
Even if we are watching the revolution from our living rooms.
Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the bestselling author of the book Wealth Without Wall Street: A Main Street Guide to Making Money
McNay, who lives in Richmond Kentucky, an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor. You can learn more about him at www.donmcnay.com
He is the Chairman of the Board for the McNay Group (www.mcnay.com) which provides structured settlement consulting for injury victims, lottery winners, and the families of special needs children.
McNay founded Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC, which assists attorneys in as conservators and setting up guardianship's. It is nationally recognized as an administrator of Qualified Settlement (468b) funds.