The Phoenix

‘Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times’

- By Ryan Daniels

We are living in an ideologica­l battlegrou­nd. Traditiona­l ideals are eroding from school curriculum­s and businesses are being pressured to “progress.” Every battle from this war of opposing worldviews has financial fallout. From inflation to the closing of small businesses, everyday Americans are paying the price. We are at a crossroads where we must embrace the principles that made our country the envy of the world or continue to implement a system that history shows to never produce prosperity.

To quote a line from G. Michael Hopf’s post-apocalypic novel “Those Who Remain”: “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.”

Whether it’s a family, military or country, leadership is responsibl­e for the direction of the organizati­on and actions of the group.

You’ve probably heard it said that if your kids are acting up, take a look in the mirror, they are a reflection of you. In the military, leadership is responsibl­e for everything in their command. In our constituti­onal republic, we elect leadership to make decisions in the best interest of the people they represent. Those leaders, therefore, are responsibl­e for the outcomes of the policies they create and the direction of our country.

I believe through this time of adversity we will become stronger. It’s during these hard times that I believe strong men will rise up and create good times of prosperity and a resurrecti­on of the American dream. We have too many examples in our storied history where when faced with challenges, we arise stronger as a nation. In the meantime, while inflation soars and leadership deflects responsibi­lity, we must look to how we as individual­s, families and communitie­s can provide, thrive and become those strong men created in tough times.

One of the best things we can do is support small businesses. Small businesses account for 99% of businesses and about half of employment in the country, according to the small business administra­tion. The pandemic devastated many small businesses who were burdened by increased regulation, forced to shut down and operate at reduced capacity often without profit. For those who managed to survive, they need the support of the communitie­s they serve. Stronger businesses create stronger communitie­s.

Instead of grabbing a Starbucks coffee, consider stopping by a local coffee shop like Simply Bold on Penn Avenue or Four Twelve on Fourth Street in Hamburg. If you’re looking for a dinner out, skip the chain restaurant­s and stop by a local treasure like the Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery or Pourhouse American Grill. If the budget is tight, consider volunteeri­ng time at one of the many non-profits throughout Berks such as Olivet Boys and Girls Club or Keystone Military Families and make a difference for others in your community.

While the philosophi­cal battles continue, there may be financial challenges. The good news is we can and will come out of it stronger together. Embrace the discipline­s of budgeting, saving for a rainy day and get money working for you so someday you don’t have to work for money. Having a simple-to-follow financial plan that fits your life will give you confidence so you can provide for those you care about most. Remember, hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Together we will continue to keep the American

dream alive and well.

Ryan Daniels is a Financial Advisor and author of “Money Basics and Fundamenta­ls.” He is host of the “Say Hi to

Money” podcast and an Army veteran who enjoys continuing to serve, “Supporting communitie­s building financiall­y strong families.” Visit his website at

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Ryan Daniels

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