The “Dog Days of Summer” started a little early in the Garvens household, as we are now the proud owners of two new puppies: a Vizsla and a Yorkie. We picked up the Vizsla, whom we named Redford, over the Memorial Day weekend. The trip, while impetuous and 1,400 miles long, afforded me a lot of time to think about this country and all the blessings to be found in it. Driving through the Midwest always shows the best of what our nation has to offer, and I thought I’d share a few of the blessings I noticed along the way.

The first blessing I noticed was the simple fact that I could drive through three countries without being stopped or marauded by drug cartels. And yes, I meant to use the word “country” even though we stayed inside America. Our states are geographically equivalent in size to entire nations in Europe and Africa and just as diverse. But here you can easily zip through each state with efficiency and security.

Efficiency is the theme of a different blessing: our interstate highway system is a marvel. It’s a comprehensive network of quality roads—especially compared to some other nations—that allows everyone to freely move all around the country, from the very edge of the Florida Keys to the Pacific coast. Of course, to take advantage of the highway system you need something to drive. And so I consider the modern automobile to be a blessing worthy of mentioning. It’s extraordinary to be able to pack the family into an automobile for a 1,400-mile trip without even worrying whether the car will make it. And the level of comfort and luxury is something our parents couldn’t even imagine in the most pricey luxury cars of their time.

With my two kids in the backseat working on their homework, I was able to consider our local school system and how immense of a blessing it is that every individual in this country can acquire a high-quality education and that a top-tier education is within the reach of most families. But they didn’t spend their entire trip doing homework, thanks to the blessing of modern technology and things like mobile hotspots. I was literally able to turn my iPhone into a hotspot on the highway and have everyone in the car access the Internet: my wife studying Spanish, my son playing Minecraft, and my daughter watching YouTube.

But the biggest blessing of all was the ability to make family memories such as this one: an impromptu trip half-way across the country, all to add a new member to the family and make even more memories. And really, that’s what ties this show into the broader theme of personal finance. Things like wealth, and the ability for each individual in this country to acquire wealth on the scale that we do, are ultimately good for one thing: to create a safe, secure, and healthy life for yourself and your loved ones. With all the talk of saving and investing, never forget that wealth is merely a means to a higher quality of life.

5-30-15 Dog Days In America

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