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Hidden Dangers

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I fought in the Vietnam War. I was a helicopter pilot and risked my life many times to complete the missions assigned to me and to assist others in their mission. In the military I learned some of the greatest lessons on leadership. And the military instilled in me the discipline I needed to be successful in life.

While I didn’t like the Vietnam War, I was proud to be a marine. And while I don’t always agree with how the current administration uses our military, I have a deep and profound respect for the men and women who serve our country.

This Sunday, a team of 79 US Commandos killed Osama Bin Laden in a valiant and dangerous mission. Thankfully none of our brave military members were killed, and thankfully Osama Bin Laden is now dead.

I applaud the military and the men and women who risked their lives for this mission. I’m proud to be counted among those who have served to protect America.

The world is safer with Bin Laden dead. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers still out there. There are still terrorists. I’m thankful that our military will remain ever vigilant.

The good news is that we’re aware of the danger of terrorism. Therefore, we are proactive in fighting against it and hunting down those who commit acts of terror. But there are other hidden dangers that most Americans aren’t aware of—especially financial dangers.

Things are not good in our economy. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Gross domestic product—the tally of all the goods and services produced by the nation—expanded at a 1.8% annual rate in the first three months of the year, the government said Thursday. That is down from 3.1% growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the slowest pace of growth in three quarters.” Additionally, jobless claims are rising again. And one of the more hidden dangers—inflation—is on the march, having grown at an annual rate of 3.8 percent, the fastest pace since 2008.

Last week I wrote about how the CEO of WalMart believes “significant” inflation is coming. Inflation is an especially dangerous hidden foe because it steals wealth from people who least expect it, people who think they’re making good financial decisions by saving and investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. For the financially unintelligent, inflation is the deadliest of foes.

On Saturday, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway held its annual meeting. In that meeting, Buffett confirmed inflation is inevitable given the Fed’s policies that are destroying the dollar. But Buffett’s not worried. “I hate inflation,” he said. “But we’ve adapted to it pretty well over the years.”

The reason Buffett isn’t worried is because he’s financially intelligent. He understands how to play by the rules of the rich—the new rules of money. I’m also not worried about inflation. In fact, I’m excited because, like Warren Buffett, I know how to use inflation to get richer.

The good news is you can learn how to use inflation to your advantage as well. It takes dedication to increasing your financial IQ. And the good news is that once you understand the hidden dangers of the economy—like inflation—they’re no longer as dangerous. You have the upper hand, much like the US Commandos had the upper hand against Bin Laden once they knew where he was.

Today, I encourage you to continue your financial education—and to attack head-on the hidden dangers of our economy. I trust you’ll triumph.

Original publish date: May 03, 2011

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