Why millionaires are more afraid than ever nearly 40%

Millionaire confidence plunged by a record amount in May, sparked by fears of government dysfunction in Washington, D.C.

The Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index, a measure of millionaire confidence in the economy and markets, fell 17 points from April. That’s the biggest month-to-month drop ever recorded by Spectrem Group, a Chicago-based wealth-research firm that created the index.

The survey found that almost four in ten (39 percent) of millionaires plan to avoid investing in the coming month — the highest percentage since December 2013.

The main reason for the drop: politics and the turmoil surrounding the Trump Administration.

The top concern cited by the millionaires surveyed was the political environment.

“Even though the stock market remains at near-record high levels, millionaire investors are becoming increasingly cautious,” said Spectrem President George H. Walper Jr. “This is likely due to growing concerns about the weakening political position of President Trump given recent controversies, the declining likelihood of substantive tax reform in the near-term, as well as concerns about the recently submitted proposed federal budget.”

“Although non-millionaires also recorded a drop in confidence, the fact they are slightly more confident now than millionaires is a strong indication that we may be entering a tumultuous period for investors,” Walper said.

The political pessimism among millionaires is not being driven by Democrats, which would be predictable. The largest drop in the survey came among Republican millionaires.

“The Republican millionaires may believe they delivered the House, Senate and Presidency and still nothing is getting done, which ultimately may impact their economic views. They are worried that government dysfunction, which they identify as the most significant threat to the economy, could jeopardize both health care and the important tax cuts that may be fueling part of the stock market surge,” he said.

Of course, the stock market has continued to rally in recent weeks, which doesn’t suggest a panic among millionaires. And the survey is just a one-month snapshot.

But since millionaires own the bulk of the stocks and financial assets in the U.S., their fear could put a damper on stock-market growth in the coming weeks and months.

The Spectrem Millionaire Index measures the investment sentiment of households with $1 million or more in investible assets. The research was conducted between May 19 and May 23.

7 stupid things people do with their money that feel smart at the time

We’ve all made mistakes with our money. While some are knowingly reckless — say, an expensive night at the casino or going into debt to buy a fancy car you can’t quite afford — others are less obvious.

For instance, not getting a credit card because you’re scared of overspending and ending up in debt sounds like a responsible move — until you want to buy a car or a house and have no credit to back you up.

Below, Business Insider breaks down a handful of bad money moves to avoid that may feel smart at the time.

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Dipping into your 401(k) early to buy a house or pay off debt.

There may come a time when you consider cashing out part of your 401(k) for a short-term goal that feels more pressing than retirement — like buying your dream house or paying off lingering credit card debt.

Don’t be fooled: A 401(k) may seem like just another vehicle for saving money, but the rules are far different than a traditional savings account. To start, money pulled out before age 59 and a half is subject to an early withdrawal penalty and will be taxed as regular income (you can calculate the specific cost of early withdrawal using a tool like this one from Wells Fargo).

One of the greatest advantages of a 401(k) is its ability to generate tax-free compound interest— the multiplying effect of earning interest on top of the money you’ve already earned interest from — over the long haul. Take your money out early and you’ll lose a bulk of savings.

A better option if you have retirement savings and you’re truly strapped for cash? Take money out of your Roth IRA, which has much more flexibility for tax and penalty-free early withdrawals.

Taking out a ton of student loans to go to school.

The number of Americans taking out student loans to finance college is steadily rising. While a good education can lead to a higher salary, taking on loads of debt to get there isn’t always a smart move.

Many people don’t grasp the full scope of a student loan beyond college, including how interest rates work and how long it realistically takes to repay the loan. The average borrower has a $351 monthly payment, a sizable recurring expense for a new college graduate on an entry-level salary.

In short, student loan payments could inhibit you from reaching other important financial goals. Before you sign on the dotted line, consider the ROI of the degree you want to pursue and what other options are available, like scholarships, grants, or even community college.

Not getting a credit card.

As a 20-year-old, credit cards scared me. They seemed like free money and I thought spending with them would ruin my financial stability, even though I paid my bill in full every month.

In fact, the opposite is true. If I ever wanted to buy a car or a house, I’d need credit.

“A lot of people these days check credit scores as some sort of measure of how responsible a human being you are,” says financial expert Jean Chatzky, host of the “HerMoney” podcast and financial editor at the Today Show, in a video with Business Insider’s Graham Flanagan, who is 34 and doesn’t have a credit card. “It’s possible to have a good credit score without a credit card, but it’s easier if you do have one.”

But having a credit card doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time, Chatzky said: “That’s sort of the secret.” Spend only what you can afford to pay back, and you’ll build solid credit.

Being conservative with your investments in your 20s.

Being conservative with your investments in your 20s.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Millennials aren’t investing in the stock market, largely because they’re scared they don’t have enough money, or the knowledge to make the right investments.

“No one can time the market, so know that if there is a decline, it’s going to bounce back. Over time, being in the market pays off more so than staying out of it,” Michael Solari, a certified financial planner with Solari Financial Planning, told Business Insider.

In short: A risky investment when you’re young has time to correct itself. Try a target date retirement fund, sometimes known as “set it and forget it” investments, which adjust their asset allocation and risk exposure based on your age and retirement horizon. Early on, when the need for that money is still a couple decades away, the fund will adopt a more growth-focused strategy. As you ripen toward retirement, it dials back the risk.

You may not get the average annual return of 11% in your target date fund — given you’ll be invested in a blend of stocks, bonds, and alternative assets — but if you get even 6% per year, an original $10,000 investment will be worth more than $32,000 in 20 years without you having to do a single thing. Compare that with $12,200 in your high-yield savings account or $10,020.20 in your traditional savings account.

 

Paying someone to actively manage your investments.

Though it may seem intimidating, investing is anyone’s game. You don’t have to be a stock-picking genius or a earn a massive paycheck to make great returns over the long term — and you certainly don’t need to pay someone to do it for you.

In fact, according to John C. Bogle, the legendary founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group, the best way for the average person to make money in the market is to invest in passive index funds.

The “classic index fund,” which he defines as holding many, many stocks, and operating with minimal expenses and high tax efficiency, works for two main reasons: They’re broadly diversified, which eliminates individual stock risk, and they’re low cost.

“It is a simple concept that guarantees you will win the investment game played by most other investors who — as a group — are guaranteed to lose,” Bogle writes in his book “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.”

You can start by opening an account online with Bogle’s company, Vanguard, and investing in their index mutual funds, which charge relatively low fees for investing directly (an average of 0.13%).

 

Buying a house because it seems like a “good investment.”

Buying a house because it seems like a "good investment."

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Homeownership shouldn’t be taken lightly. At the end of the day, buying a home isn’t a means of getting rich. That is, unless you’ve done your due diligence and are buying a property specifically as an investment that will eventually become a source of income.

“When you look at the average price increase of a home across the country over the last 100 years, it’s only about 3%,” Eric Roberge, CFP and founder of Beyond Your Hammock, told Business Insider. “If you take away extra costs plus inflation, you’re not really making any money on average on a single family home.”

It’s smarter to look for an affordable house that meets non-monetary goals: It’s in your dream neighborhood or it’s a good place to start a family.

“A home is a utility, not an investment,” Roberge says.

Keeping all of your money in a traditional savings account.

If you’re part of the 30% of Americans saving money, way to go! Putting that money into a run-of-the-mill savings account may feel like the obvious move, but there’s actually a better option: high-yield savings.

Mary Beth Storjohann, a certified financial planner who founded Workable Wealth, recommends capping your personal savings once you have enough to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses, also known as as an emergency fund. Then move any overflow savings into a high-yield savings account, where you could earn 1% interest on your money, rather than the 0.01% earned in a traditional savings account.

Another great option is to put your savings in a low-cost target date fund. Though the market is impossible to predict, you’re still going to get a better return on the money there than you would in a plain old savings account, with little to no work required.

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The Truth About How Often You Should Wash Your Hair

The Truth About How Often You Should Wash Your Hair: This is how often you should really be washing your hair© Photoalto/Fredrick Cirou/Getty Images This is how often you should really be washing your hairIt’s the age-old question: How often should you wash your hair, really? Back in the day, we wouldn’t dream of going a whole 24 hours without some shampoo, but then we started hearing that it is bad to wash your hair every day — and there are even people out there who can make their blow-out last a whole week. So what’s the deal?

We’ve always known we need to wash our hair regularly, but it’s so hard to decipher what “regularly” actually means. We consulted hair experts for the ultimate hair-washing intel.

Hair type matters

Is there a good rule of thumb for the magic number of days you can go without washing your hair? Really, it depends on your hair type. Hair that’s thicker and curlier can go without a wash for longer than hair that is fine. How processed your hair is will also come into play, because the oils in your scalp don’t travel down the hair shaft as quickly in hair that’s coarse, curly or processed as it does for gals with fine hair, says Marlene Montanez of Latest-Hairstyles.

For this reason, curly hair types should especially be careful not to wash hair too frequently — and avoid shampoos with harsh sulfates, which strip the hair of the natural oils. You can consider a co-wash (using a conditioner instead of shampoo) or use a sulfate-free shampoo if washing more than twice a week, says Jane Nyachiro of hair brand Jirano.

Lifestyle also plays a part. For example, if you workout daily, you’re going to need to wash your hair more often to feel clean after sweating. If you have an oily scalp and thin, fine hair, your hair will start to look flat and dirty after 24 hours. If your hair is pin-straight, an oily scalp will show more easily too. The flip side is with thick, curly hair, you may be able to go three days without needing a shampoo.

There can be too much of a good thing

It’s pretty simple: Washing hair every day removes our natural oils and proteins, causing our hair to dry out quicker. Shampoo strips the oils from the hair, and we need those oils to help our scalp and hair to be healthy, says Emily Woodstrom of Hairitage ‘Hous outside St. Paul, Minnesota.

Some people shampoo so frequently and strip the natural oil in their hair so much that it becomes very frizzy — and there day-after hair actually looks better when oil has accumulated on the scalp to tame these wild hair shafts, says Dr. Scott Rackett, a dermatologist and hair care expert. Often, we apply product to calm the hair, when really just shampooing less frequently would improve the look of the hair and lessen the need for hair products.

Beauty Hack: Add Sugar to Your Shampoo for Perfect Hair

Find your perfect cocktail

The trick is to find a shampoo, conditioner and a cocktail of products that balances your scalp and hair so you can wash every third or fifth day. “If one has hair on the finer side, I’ll recommend a volumizing shampoo so it remains light and won’t get greasy too fast. Transversely, if a client comes to me with coarse, dry, thick hair, I’ll recommend something that will moisturize and balance the scalp and hair. It’s a bit of a trial and error thing.

Work with your stylist to make sure you get what will work for you,” says Max Gierl, senior stylist at Mizu New York salon. “The No. 1 thing I tell all my clients is to keep conditioner off the scalp completely. Conditioner can make the scalp oily, which only makes your roots seem greasy faster. The scalp should produce enough sebum to properly maintain scalp health.”

At most, try washing your hair every other day. Every two days is even better, and if you can make it an entire week, go for it! If your hair gets oily after only a day, try using some hair powder or dry shampoo on your roots to soak up some of that excess oil. There are also tons of products on the market for in-between wash days that will help your hair get some extra lift and smell fresh. After the gym, try spritzing a refreshing mist or do a rinse sans shampoo. If you must wash and shampoo each time after a workout, try a shampoo that’s made for daily cleansing — they’re usually less harsh on your hair.

Single workers aren’t there to pick up the slack for their married bosses and colleagues

Single workers aren’t there to pick up the slack for their married bosses and colleagues

May 25, 2017

There are a lot of misconceptions about single people in the modern-day workplace. A former employer once brushed me off when I raised the issue of salary, telling me that because I was a single person with no children, my concerns couldn’t really be about money—after all, I had no one else to support.

Or consider the reaction of former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell when Janet Napolitano received the nomination for secretary of homeland security in 2008. “Janet’s perfect for the job,” Rendell said. “Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it.”

Too often, employers believe that single, childless people are emotionally untethered and financially untroubled, which means they ought to be free to stay late, travel on weekends, show up on holidays, and take whatever vacation slots married employees haven’t already claimed—all of which puts singles in a highly unfair (not to mention undesirable) position. It’s time that employers stopped taking advantage of single employees—and started recognizing the truth about their lives.

Single people have important ties to friends, family, and community

Negative stereotypes about single people hold that they are isolated, lonely, and focused only on themselves—perfect candidates to come in to work, or to stay there, when no one else wants to. But research shows otherwise.

In fact, single people do more to maintain their relationships with their friends, neighbors, siblings, and parents than married people. They are better at staying in touch with them, and helping and encouraging them. It is different for couples who move in together or get married. They tend to become more insular, even if they don’t have children.

When aging parents need help, they get it disproportionately from their grown children who are single. That’s true whether they are black or white, and whether their offspring are sons or daughters. Single people are also more likely to be there for people who are disabled or seriously ill and need sustained help, even when the people needing the help are not relatives.

Single people are rooted in their communities and towns in significant ways. They participate in public events more often, and take more music and art classes. They volunteer more than married people do for a wide variety of organizations.

When the workday ends, when the weekend is in sight, when holidays roll around, and when it is time to plan vacations, singles often have people in their lives they want to see—people who care about them, depend on them, and feel like family, even if they are not family in the traditional sense.

Meanwhile, some single people look forward to savoring their solitude. Some have interests and commitments they pursue with a passion. As a group, single people vary enormously, but they have one thing in common: They all have a life outside of work. They want the same opportunity as everyone else to do as they wish when they are—or should be—off the clock.

Workplaces should ensure that fairness. Over time, assignments to stay late or cover holidays or accept the less desirable vacation times should even out, so that single people are not singled out.

Ideally, only in special circumstances should employees be asked to justify their requests to take time off. Otherwise, in a culture that still celebrates married people and their families and remains skeptical of single people and the important people in their lives, single people may be treated unfairly. For example, employers may be tempted to take more seriously a request to take time off to care for an ailing spouse than an ailing sibling or close friend.

Already, though, single people are at a disadvantage when they want to provide care for others or receive it themselves. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, anyone in an eligible workplace, regardless of marital status, can take unpaid leave to care for a parent or child. Married people, though, can also take time off to care for their spouse. Single people are not covered to care for a similarly important person in their lives, nor can such a person take time to care for them.

When workers need to be relocated, some single people may be happy to get the nod. Others, though, may see that as a special hardship. They include single people who are rooted in their communities, who have developed and nurtured networks of friends and neighbors, and who have relatives they are helping. They also include singles who chose their cities and towns for their cultural offerings, diversity, bike trails, or football teams, and do not want to move to places that have no such things.

The financial fragility of people who are single

Years before my employer mindlessly presumed that I had no one to support, my mother was widowed. But he never stopped to consider whether she needed my financial support. Other single people are providing support in other ways—for example, quietly accumulating college funds for their nieces and nephews, or welcoming them into their homes when times are tough.

When single people are caring for their parents and others who need their help, they do so at greater economic risk than married people are. If they put in fewer hours at work, or step away from their jobs, they do not have a spouse to pick up the financial slack—or keep them on their employer-sponsored health insurance. Similarly, when single people get laid off or lose their jobs, they are particularly vulnerable for the same reasons.

Single people who live alone lose out on economies of scale. They don’t get to split their rent or mortgage, their utilities, or any other household expenses with another person. Single people also miss out on all the offers that are cheaper by the couple, from health-club memberships and travel packages to discounts on insurance.

Even more significantly, single people are excluded from more than 1,000 federal laws that benefit and protect only people who are legally married. For example, single people are subject to more taxes and penalties on IRAs and estate transfers. They get less financial flexibility and security from Social Security. When lifelong single people die, they cannot leave their benefits to anyone else—they go back into the system—and no one else can leave their benefits to a single person either.

A study that included only women showed that by the time they are nearing retirement age, lifelong single women have far less net wealth than married women. The disparity is even bigger for black women than white women.

Single men (though not single women) are paid less than their married counterparts. Even when single and married men have the same level of seniority and competence, and even when they are identical twins, married men are paid substantially more. Nonetheless, single men are no less generous than married men in the money they give to relatives, and more generous in the money they give to friends.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released income tax rates for 35 member countries, for single people with no children and one-earner couples with two children. In most nations, including the US, single people are taxed more than the couples. The disparity is greater in the US than it is in all but one of the other 34 nations.

Financial disadvantages in taxation, Social Security, health spending, and housing expenses add up. By one estimate, single women, relative to married women, lose out on somewhere between a half million and a million dollars over the course of their adult lives.

The real reasons you should value your single workers

Single workers shouldn’t be saddled with lower salaries or extra hours just because they’re single—they have plenty of more valuable attributes to offer employers, based on their life experiences.

Do you want workers who can get things done, either by doing the tasks themselves or recruiting others to help? Single people—especially those who live alone—have spent a lifetime honing those skills. Unlike married people who often divide the tasks of everyday life and master only the ones for which they are responsible, single people figure out how to get all of them done.

Do you want workers who have the confidence to stand by their own opinions, even when groupthink is headed in a different direction? Research suggests that single people are better at that.

Do you want workers who are committed not just to their jobs but to their organizations or professions? A study that included only men suggests that singles are the employees for you. For example, single men participate more than married men do in professional societies, unions, and farm organizations.

Do you want workers who are constantly learning and growing? That, too, is more likely to describe lifelong single people than people who get married.

Do you want workers who show up primarily for the paycheck and other concrete benefits, or people who have landed in your workplace because they find the work meaningful? If it is the latter, you probably want workers who are single. Research shows that people who stay single value meaningful work more than people who marry, and that they were already expressing those values in high school, before anyone was getting hitched.

How to make your workplace equally welcoming, friendly, and fair to all your workers

I love living single and I have chosen not to have children. Because these are not fraught issues for me, I can feel genuine joy for people who have followed the alternative paths of marriage and children. I’m happy to congratulate them, maybe even celebrate them—but not on company time.

Workplace celebrations of employees who are engaged or about to parent a child may be motivated by the kindest of sentiments, but they are painful to those who only wish they had such experiences. They are also unfair, and do not belong in the workplace. The inappropriateness is compounded when employees are pressured into offering gifts to the newlyweds or parents. The workplace should be about work. Any celebrations should be limited to occasions everyone experiences, such as birthdays, or just to work-related accomplishments. Of course, coworkers who are friends can celebrate whatever they like, on their own time, in venues outside of the workplace.

Financial favoritism is even more troubling. Last year, the CEO of Boxed enjoyed an avalanche of adulatory publicity when he offered to pay for his employees’ weddings. Other employers offer other rewards that have nothing to do with job performance, and that unfairly advantage married people or parents over everyone else. They include, for example, offers to help with the college tuition of the children of employees, to cover the moving expenses of a spouse, and, more commonly, the option to include a spouse on a health care plan at a reduced rate.

I’m all in favor of employer generosity. But beyond bonuses that are tied to work-related accomplishments, such largesse should be equally distributed. Cafeteria plans are one option: all workers are entitled to the same dollar amount in benefits, and they can choose the ones they want.

The rise of single people is a national and international phenomenon. In the US, for example, in 1970, only 28% of adults 18 and older were not married. Now, nearly half (45%) are unmarried. Americans now spend more years of their adult lives not married than married. These trends are showing no signs of reversing. Workplaces need to adapt to a workforce that is increasingly unmarried. Fortunately, workers who are single are contributing more than we ever knew.

Millennials are saving for financial freedom — not retirement

Millennials are saving for financial freedom — not retirement

Millennials Save for Financial Freedom-Not Retirement

Millennials often get a bad rap when it comes to financial responsibility. But it turns out those stereotypes may be off base. Millennials are saving more money than any other generation, according to a new study by Bank of America and Merrill Edge. But it’s what they’re saving for that really sets them apart from older generations.

Saving for financial freedom is the No. 1 priority for millennials — 63% of millennials said they’re saving a set amount of money to enjoy their desired lifestyle. This is a stark contrast to older generations: the majority of the Gen X and baby boomer generations prioritize their savings specifically to leave the workforce and retire.

This shift speaks to the bigger differences in the ways millennials and older generations view money, and what they prioritize in their lives. While it may not sound surprising that younger workers aren’t thinking about nest eggs as much as older generations, what’s a little different here is that they’re not thinking about retirement as a phase of life, let alone working to afford it.  Millennials listed personal milestones as their top priorities: getting their dream job and traveling the world trumped more traditional goals like getting married and having children.

“Young adults tell us they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve freedom and flexibility, even if it means working for the rest of their lives,” said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge.

But while millennials may be eschewing more traditional financial goals, they’re still focusing on building their savings. This age group, which includes people 18 to 34, is saving more money than any other generation; on average, millennials save 19% of their annual paychecks, compared with 14% for baby boomers and Gen Xers. More than a third (36%) of millennials say they save more than 20% of their paychecks each year.

So where does that money go to if it’s not being funneled into retirement accounts? According to the Merrill report, 81% of millennials spend their money on traveling. Eating out and exercising are the two other activities millennials listed before they’d save for retirement. These spending habits point to a shift in the way millennials use their money for personal fulfillment, compared to older generations.

Bros are people, too: Glenn Reynolds

Title IX enforcers need to fix the toxic environment they have created for men.

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The academic year is coming to a close, which means the academic summer is getting ready to start. People at universities do all sorts of things in the summer: Teach summer school, work on research and writing, travel and, these days, attend “diversity workshops.”

These workshops are advertised as teaching faculty and staff how to treat members of all racial and sexual groups with respect so as to maintain an inclusive and civil environment. They tell people what kinds of language to avoid because members of some groups might find it offensive, and they teach the importance of avoiding implicit biases and stereotyping in dealing with members of all groups.

It seems, however, that there’s often a gap in a lot of this training. So I’m going to list a few offensive words and phrases that should be avoided in the interest of fairness, and some common stereotypes that should not inform faculty and staff’s decision-making and interaction with students. So let’s get started:

“Toxic masculinity.” As Toni Airaksinen has noted, this is a common and destructive concept on campus: “On college campuses across the globe, young men are treated to lectures, workshops and extracurricular activities that teach them their masculinity — an element at the very core of their identity — is dangerous, poisonous and even toxic.”

One of the goals of Title IX is to ensure that no student must endure a hostile educational environment based on sex discrimination. It’s hard to imagine a more hostile educational environment than one that characterizes the gender identity of a large number of students as poisonous. Can students comfortably learn and interact with faculty and staff at an institution that sees their gender identity as toxic? It’s hard to see how that’s possible.

Likewise, references to “testosterone poisoning” should be avoided. This variant on “toxic masculinity” identifies a particular hormone (stereotypically identified with men, though in fact women produce testosterone too, and suffer problems if it’s too low) as poisonous. Again, this is simply a statement of naked gender prejudice whose expression is likely to make students who identify as male feel uncomfortable, unappreciated, and stigmatized. In addition, of course, those students who are transitioning from female to male require regular injections of testosterone to maintain their new gender identity. The term “testosterone poisoning” might make them feel that they are going to their physicians to be injected with poison. This sort of hormone-shaming is not okay.

“Frat boy.” As historians of discrimination know, the term “boy” was used to diminish African-American males during the Jim Crow era. Applying it to members of fraternities — who may, after all, be of any race — is a similar effort to diminish. It is offensive and deeply insensitive to the Greek campus community and should be avoided.

Rape-gendering. It’s racist to pretend that African Americans commit the majority of rapes in America. In the Jim Crow era, exaggerated fears of rape were pinned on black men as a way of perpetuating white privilege.

POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media

Likewise, it’s sexist — and in light of data from the Centers for Disease Control showing rough equality here, it’s scientifically inaccurate — to pretend that sexual coercion on campus is strictly, or even largely, a male-on-female phenomenon. Discussions of sexual assault that assume a male perpetrator and a female victim, or the use of phrases like “Teach men not to rape,” constitute the gendering of a crime that is in fact committed by people of all genders. That is not okay.

“Bro.” This is a disrespectful term used to stereotype young males as stupid and superficial. It should be avoided. It is also inappropriate as a form of one-on-one address to male students, unless you are actually their brother.

I hope that members of university communities nationwide will take this advice to heart. Male enrollment in colleges has been falling for some time now, with male students now a distinct minority in higher education nationwide, which suggests that colleges and universities have already created a hostile educational environment for male students. Perhaps Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the federal Department of Education will look into that, but in the meantime, it’s imperative that campuses do their best to be a more welcoming environment for everyone.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

 

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Book now for the bi-centennial of America’s least necessary war,The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

Book now for the bi-centennial of America’s least necessary war,The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

Smart Tips For Your Personal And Business Success Today……….Book now for the bi-centennial of America’s least necessary war,The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Most Americans don’t know we had a dust-up in 1812 with our not-so-distant British colonial masters. Well, we did and from June 30-July 6,  2012 we’ll be celebrating it in high style in Boston, Massachusetts, then in 11 other East Coast American cities that had a role in the war. The festivities will run from 2012-2015, with millions expected to come see.No doubt the most popular and easily the most photogenic part of this commemoration will be the parade of the world’s tall ships, with more ofthese graceful relicts of days gone by assembled in one place than ever before.How many tall-ships will there be? William Armstrong, a spokesman for Operation Sail, the sponsor of this event along with the U.S. Navy, could not say exactly. Buthe did say that 120 nations have been invited to participate, and no doubt most of them will. As such it will draw visitors from around the globe to this living reminderof maritime majesty.Two extra special features make a trip to Boston de riguer when the tall-ships come.First, this is the home port of the USS Constitution, launched in 1797. It is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Dubbed “Old Ironsides” in sea battle where enemy cannonballs were seen to bounce harmlessly off her timbers, she defeated 4superior British vessels, uniquely earning each of her captains a Congressional gold medal, perhaps in part because the Constitution’s victories were one of the very few aspects of the war in general to go well.The second reason why Boston was selected to lead off the festivities hasabsolutely nothing to do with commemorating the war and absolutely everything to do with creating a truly whiz-bang of a program. While the tall-ships grace the harbor and capture every eye, the city of Boston (and all true believers in America’snational past-time) will be celebrating the centennial of Fenway Park, a theme which will inspire every sportswriter to wax poetic, nostalgic, with nary a dry eye in the(uncomfortable, over-priced) bleachers.Not worth remembering.Sadly all this hard work and the unbeatable thrill of seeing a large percentage of the most graceful and interesting sailing vessels still extant celebrates an entirely forgettable war that should never have occurred and which showed that Yankeerhetoric (always soaring and bombastic) far outpaced Yankee management, efficiency,and organization. In short, the Yanks, having pulled off the biggest victory of the18th century, eviscerating British North American power and gaining independence,took the wrong moral from the tale and assumed their old nemesis was a paper tiger,always and forever to be defeated by the vainglorious sons of America. It was anarrogant point of view that was soon shown to be wistful thinking, and nothing more.Family quarrels are always the most pernicious and hurtful.From the very moment the British accepted the loss of her American coloniesevery patriotic Briton ached for a rematch with her now liberated and bumptious former colonies. Because this was a family quarrel, each side (and particularly the British) took the greatest possible pleasure in irritating Americans, outraging Americans, belittling Americans and humiliating Americans. The colonies might belost, well then, let the regime of insult, condescension, and mutual irritants commence.And because both sides were Britons, who knew each other as well as the back of their own hand, they knew exactly what to do to cause maximum pain and umbrage…and they did it with relish and unbridled joy, “Take this, serves you right!”For such antagonists another conflict was, and everyone knew it,  inevitable.It was simply a matter of when… thus both nations bided their time; Britain bit by inevitable bit undoing Napoleon and his evanescent imperium, anxious to face againthe unlikely winners who had humbled them with the gall and wormwood of 1776 and all that. It was a truly memorable antagonism, entirely personal, no holds barred, each and every encounter seen as an insult by the other.  As I said, it was a very nasty familymatter, casus belli unnecessary.Historians will tell you the War of 1812 had many causes and no doubt they are right.But all those who have fought for victory in their homes and offices will know the messy battles in operation “Top Dog” in which the opponents battle for ultimate supremacy.In such a situation, with the need for overall power and control paternal, primal, withmutual good will and correct relations impossible until the fundamental matter iswell and truly settled. They fought because each existed and that each found affronting and profoundly irksome.The British goal in the War of 1812, a war which commenced as Napoleon (thenretreating from Russia after his fate-tipping disaster, thereby liberating British power,money and focus to upend the Yanks, was to continue her near absolute command of the world’s seaways. “Rule Britannia” was not a song; it was profound national policy.By contrast, the Yanks, now controlling the most valuable real estate on earth, were anxious to get the rest… and this meant seizing Canada, every Yank  believing that Canadians were anxious to be liberated. They weren’t, but that made absolutely no difference. Liberated and Americanized they would be, like it (and they surely would),or not.The War of 1812 shaped up accordingly.The British, the world’s greatest sea power, aimed to cripple the new American Navy while making it quite clear that it would continue to impress seamen (particularlyAmerican seamen) into her vessels, whatever howls of outrage that might engender.Ships might be built… but able seamen were, as always, in short supply and thusEngland, whose very existence was predicated on maximum sea power, seized Americans wherever they could be had… without a shred of remorse.The goal of the Americans was to justify their (to them) hefty allocations of limited national resources in a navy. Thomas Jefferson and friends (one of whom, James Madison, was President in 1812), profoundly provincial, regarded a navy as an expensive luxury, hoped to hobble it. The navy needed victories to prove how essential it was. And, of course, there was the great prize, Canada. Voltaire may have regarded the Canadas as a patch of snow… but the War Hawks in Washington, D.C. did not.They craved Canada the worst way, and they went about wooing her showed thatit was indeed the very worst way.The ins and out of this struggle go beyond the confines of this article and may be found in “The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict” by Donald R. Hickey. Sufficeit to say the Yanks made a dog’s dinner of their Canadian incursions and not a single Canadian was sorry. Thus, they kept their snow to themselves. The British burnt Washington, D.C. including the White House, to avenge a similar barbarity bythe Yanks when they invaded Canada. And the greatest victory of the war by eitherside was the Battle of New Orleans, which in due course made General AndrewJackson, president of the  United States.No doubt some of  this history will be told next summer, but the futile inconsequenceof the war will mentioned,  if at all, sotto voce.You, however, now know and  will astonish all who pontificate in front of you. For youhave heard the story here… so do book your reservations now with Operation Sail the better to see the key places in this forgettable conflict about to be commemorated.

About the Author:
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Jeffrey Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell HomeProfitCoach.com.
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