Back in the days just after the Soviet Union broke up and move towards capitalism, their tax collectors were said to collect with machine guns in hand. Hopefully that is not the case today given the amount of oil revenue coming into Russia, but it is safe to say that as the world continues to tighten up financially, and governments around the world are increasingly using ruthless tactics to collect revenue.
In Mexico recently, some wise bureaucrat decided that they would ruin the retirements of hundreds of foreigners who had decided to dock their little pleasure boats at Mexican marinas. With their machine guns in hand, they seized the boats of hundreds of Americans and Canadians over a $70 permit – which many of the boat owners claim they had paid (but had not been properly registered). It’s hard to think of a better way to silence their best ambassadors, many of whom had no doubt recommended to all of their friends to come down and enjoy what’s left of beautiful Mexico.
While it would be nice to think that these are the sort of tactics used in 3rd world countries, it is apparent from reading posts like this one or this one and their comments along with downright scary editorials from 1st world countries that this is just not so. In fact, one could easily argue that things are getting worse, not better.
I really don’t think that this is because there are more crooks around today. It is more human nature that people in power do not like to lose their benefits and when times get tough, they just take.
As the demographics of tomorrow point towards a clear underfunding of pensions and services (even in countries like Canada) we can expect that voracious appetite for your cash to only increase.
So what can you do about it? Noting really. But as the old pop psychology saying goes, “if you can’t change your surroundings, the only thing you can do is change yourself.” So as counter intuitive as it may seem, consider spending more time on these kinds of things…
Your Health. Eating right not only saves money, but it makes us feel really good about ourselves which means we are less prone to the need to buy things to make us feel better about our situation.
Your consciousness. Meditating and doing yoga have a strong correlation with lack of attachment – you literally want less and are happier with yourself.
Your planning. Make sure you take the time to ensure you’ve got your financial planning properly done. Optimize, optimize, optimize.