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May 13, 2024

United States National Debt is $34 Trillion (Why You Should Care)

The United States National Debt

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Over the years, I’ve shared hundreds of stories of debt-free and financially independent families. That type of financial standing and financial strength empowers families and helps them build generational wealth and happiness. 

But what about the country we live in … wouldn’t the same positive benefits happen for our nation? Isn’t it important for our government to only spend what they have coming in just like the rest of us?

To help us learn more about the state of the United States' national debt and what continued deficit spending means for our future, I’ve invited Author Mark Higgins to the show today.

Mark is a frequent speaker both domestically and internationally on topics related to US financial history and institutional investment management. He is also the author of the new book Investing in U.S. Financial History: Understanding the Past to Forecast the Future.

Overview: The United States National Debt w/ Mark Higgins

Mark Higgins reviews the following:

  • How the United States National Debt got so large
  • Why it's important to pay down our debt
  • What continued deficit spending will do to our country long term

Where to Listen or Watch

Key Takeaways from Mark Higgins

Here are my top three takeaways from my conversation with Mark Higgins.

Long-Term Deficit Spending Steals From Other Important Priorities

As we build up our national debt, more and more of our money goes toward interest payments. That steals from other important benefits we have as citizens of the United States.

The longer this persists, the longer it will take to solve the problem

Tax Diversification Could Be A Smart Idea

As this problem of our US National Debt continues to get kicked down the field, the more likely it will be that taxes will increase to pay for the problem.

For me, this feels like more of a reason to diversify retirement investments – not only with asset classes but with tax diversification as well. 

If all of our investments are “tax-advantaged or pre-tax”, then we could be paying a lot more taxes in retirement than if we had some taxable accounts and tax-free accounts (like a Roth IRA or 401k). 

Power to the People

If you’re concerned about the runaway national debt and continued deficit spending, use your voice through voting and contacting your government representatives.

This problem won’t be solved by politicians deciding on their own what’s right long term. They need to hear from us that this is a problem.

I recommend reaching out to your representative and voicing your concerns. Write them, make your voice heard and vote. 

Guest Bio – Mark Higgins

Mark Higgins is the author of Investing in U.S. Financial History and is a senior vice president within Index Fund Advisors (IFA) Institutional. Mark’s written works appear regularly in the Museum of American Finance's Financial History magazine and the CFA Institute's Enterprising Investor.

Mark is also a frequent speaker both domestically and internationally on topics related to US financial history and institutional investment management. Mark joined IFA in August 2023 to expand the firm’s footprint in the institutional investment plan market. Prior to joining IFA Institutional, Mark served as an institutional investment consultant for more than 12 years. In this role, he served clients such as endowments, pension plans, and foundations, that had aggregate assets of more than $60 billion.

Mark graduated from Georgetown University Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in English and Psychology. He received an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Mark is a CFA charterholder and CFP® practitioner. He resides in Portland, OR with his wonderful wife and two children, Jack and Lila.

Carpe Diem Quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

What do you think of our discussion with Mark Higgins? What do you think of the state of the United States National Debt?

Please let us know in the comments below.


Andy Hill

Andy Hill, AFC® is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money - a platform dedicated to helping families build wealth and happiness. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys being a Soccer Dad, singing karaoke with his wife and relaxing on his hammock.

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