Donald Trump set out to make big changes the moment he entered the White House. While Congress may move a bit more slowly, it’s worth noting the difference in styles and substance. For example, presidential executive orders do have the power to roll back previously passed regulations, but in many cases, they merely signal intent with regard to administrative policy.1
In some ways, this is similar to the approach people take with their own financial matters. It’s easy to make grandiose plans about how much we’re going save, or how much our investments will earn. But just like the lawn that didn’t get mowed last Saturday, we sometimes renege on our own best intentions.
There are many variables to being financially confident. For example, how much can we reasonably expect to save/invest each month? Regardless of initial plans, everyone has moments of weakness where they make an impulse purchase, invest on a whim or are overly generous with a donation or gift to a family member.
Most of the time, working toward financial goals requires a certain degree of discipline, commitment, due diligence, negotiation and good old-fashioned patience. In other words, not much can be accomplished in just a couple months. Just like a newly installed president, we need to develop a strategy and lay the foundation for long-term goals.
To Trump’s credit, he has made some in-roads in the early days of his administration, including a rollback on actions taken by his predecessor. For example, there’s the Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement.2 Other actions have been perhaps a bit more ceremonial, such as naming March as the official month of women’s history, American Red Cross and Irish-American heritage.3
Other orders, in a rush to take immediate action, have failed to achieve the desired results, such as the immigration and travel bans.4
Congress has not been sitting idle either. In the first 60 days of the Trump administration, it has passed several resolutions — many of which are also designed to roll back those of the previous administration. This includes H.J. Resolution 42, an order that now permits states to drug test all jobless workers filing for unemployment insurance.5
Some of Congress’ actions have been ceremonial, such as the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, passed to encourage display of the U.S. flag each year on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29.6
Congress has had its share of failures as well, such as the American Health Care Act, which was pulled before it was even put up for a vote because of its lack of support from Republican party members.7
As these examples show, smaller issues generally are easier to address than larger ones. Likewise, we sometimes focus on minor financial goals so much that perhaps we don’t spend enough time and savings toward major ones — like retirement income. Just as the new presidential administration has learned, it takes practice and perseverance to work toward major goals.
1 This Nation. 2017. “What is an Executive Order?” http://www.thisnation.com/question/040.html. Accessed March 31, 2017.
2 Donald J. Trump. White House. Jan. 23, 2017. “Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement.” https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/23/presidential-memorandum-regarding-withdrawal-united-states-trans-pacific. Accessed March 31, 2017.
3 Donald J. Trump. White House. March 1, 2017. “President Donald J. Trump Proclaims March 2017 As Irish-American Heritage Month.” https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/01/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-march-2017-irish-american-heritage. Accessed March 31, 2017.
4 Donald J. Trump. White House. March 6, 2017. “Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.” https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/06/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states. Accessed March 31, 2017.
5 Congress.gov. March 3, 2017. “H.J.Res.42 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants.” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/42/text. Accessed March 31, 2017.
6 Congress.gov. March 28, 2017. “S.305 – Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/305. Accessed March 31, 2017.
7 Congress.gov. March 3, 2017. “H.R.1628 – American Health Care Act of 2017.” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1628?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22American+Health+Care+Act%22%5D%7D&r=2. Accessed March 31, 2017.