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The problem with fast food and fast money

Personal Finance
Danielle Howard
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Danielle Howard
ALL |

In 1949, Frank McNamara had dinner at New York’s Major’s Cabin Grill. The bill arrived and he realized he had forgotten his wallet. He worked his way around the problem and came up with an alternative to cash. He created the “Diners Club Card.” By 1951, there were 20,000 Diners Club cardholders. In 1959, American Express introduced the first card made of plastic, and by 1966 a national credit card system was formed and is now known as MasterCard. This is an interesting name as I am sure the original intent was to allow people to be the master of their money. However, according to Consolidated Credit Counseling Services Inc., the average credit card debt for households using credit cards is $15,799, with interest rates averaging 12.36 percent. In March 2012 the total revolving debt in the U.S. was $803.6 billion. The truth is plastic debt has become the master.

Richard and Maurice McDonald established their eatery in 1948. As their success grew, others noticed and the idea of quick and easy eating establishments grew exponentially. In 1990, late talk-show host Johnny Carson labeled the hamburger the “McClog the Artery.” We have all heard the health risks associated with the majority of fast food consumption. Obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, increased risk of stroke and infections are just a few of the consequences of an unhealthy diet. According to the Food Research and Action Center 68.8 percent of adults are overweight or obese as are 31.8 percent of children and adolescents. Colorado has the lowest percentage of obesity at 20.7 percent. While we can venture to say that the Roaring Fork Valley is very healthy, there are still problems across the board.

Here are the truths: We cannot borrow our way to prosperity, and we cannot indiscriminately eat our way to health. What is the answer? Let’s slow down!



There is a slow money movement which is connected to the slow food movement. According to slowmoney.org – some of the principals of the Slow Money movement are:

1. We must bring money back down to earth.



2. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down – not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

3. The 20th century was the era of buy low/sell high and wealth now/philanthropy later – what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and nonviolence.

4. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

5. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from making A killing to making a living.

Slow Money and Carbondale’s Sustainable Settings are co-hosting the first regional event in the Rockies on Sept. 1. Check the event out at http://www.slowmoney.org. As it took 60 years to feel the impact of our “fast” choices, it will take time to change. We can start by asking ourselves some questions about what a sustainable economy looks like. We can then start making some small changes in the way we eat and with our financial options.

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner and Financial Life Planner®. Her office is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. Visit her at http://www.howardfinancialresources.com or call 927-3909. E-mail her at dhoward@howardfinancialresources.com.

Advisory services offered through Lighthouse Financial LLC, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and HFR are not affiliated.


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