Two years ago, in a first-of-its-kind summit, President Obama sat at the head of a White House conference table to chat with personal finance journalists about the state of the economy.Participants could ask anything they wanted, from taxes and gas prices, to how consumers would cope with the housing crisis and rising college tuition.
But only one guy, Kiplinger editor Doug Harbrecht, thought to ask the most basic question of all:
What’s the one piece of financial advice had Obama found most useful in his own life?
“All of a sudden you could see the gears start to turn and he rattled off this incredibly articulate response,” Harbrecht told BI. “It was really interesting because it was flawless. I could also see his legal background. This is a guy who went to law school. Everybody was stunned.”
In true political fashion, the President’s answer was multi-pronged, but here’s the bit that really stood out:
“To those who say ‘investment is just another word for spending’ …. Well, no, actually, there is a distinction … between spending on things that are going to make you more competitive and over the long term increase your wealth, and spending on things that you’d like to have but aren’t really improving your life over the long term. And that’s an important distinction that we as a country have to make.”
Read into it what you will –– maybe it was a partial dig at Republicans? –– but it’s solid advice from guy who knows a thing or two about personal investments.
He and Michelle graduated from Harvard Law in 1991 with $125,000 in student loans. Considering the fact that he is now worth as much as $11 million, has inked two book deals, scored a $400,000/year gig as leader of the free world, and has already saved enough to fund his daughters’ college educations, it’s pretty safe to say his investment paid off.
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