By  Thu Jan 30, 2014

Key Points From The 2014 State of The Union Address

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The Great Debate of Minimum Wage

"Americans understand that some people will earn more money than others. And we don't resent those who by virtue of their efforts achieve incredible success, that's what America is about. But, Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty," said Obama in regards to minimum wage. He even got a nod of approval and clap from House Speaker John Boehner.

He's right, there needs to be an effort to help increase the minimum wage. In the beginning of the year we saw the minimum wage increased for many Americans, but that did not prove as valuable. For the most part, people only got a wage increase of less than a dollar a day. That type of earning increase is simply not enough to help many Americans struggling in poverty afford the cost of living.

The unemployment rate is currently below 7 percent and lowering further, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite more people going to work, there are still a lot of people that simply cannot afford the cost of living.

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New MyRA

"Tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new year for working Americans to start their own retirement savings, myRA. It's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in," said the President about his newly planned retirement account initiative.

MyRa is designed to target millions of low- to middle-income Americans who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement accounts. This retirement account is also available to those who already have retirement plans.

President Obama signed the legislation to create myRA on Wednesday, yet the exact details as to what to expect are soon to be revealed.

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High Quality Early Education

"Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high quality early education," stated the President.

One subject President Obama has touched on many times in the past is the fact that affordable education should be accessible for everyone. The overall cost of college education increases every year, so it would be nice to see a reduction in the cost for education.

If some type of policy were to be implemented to reduce the cost of education, that could help make it so that future generations won't have to struggle with debt like recent grads. Parents would be able to afford to pay for their children's education, and they wouldn't have to do things such as take out a second mortgage, or cosign for their child's student loans to help them afford the cost of attending college.

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Health Care

"The American people aren't interested in refighting old battles," Obama said. "Let's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans. The first 40 were plenty. We all owe it to the American people to say what we're for, not just what we're against."

This was of course a response to Republicans and their continuous efforts to repeal Obama's health care law. Obamacare did not get off to a good start when it first launched, especially since the majority of people that tried to sign up for the program could not register. Poor planning and execution by the creators of the website caused a delay for many people to obtain much-needed coverage. This caused a big ruckus in Washington, as well as negative feedback for the Obama administration.

The good thing that has come from Obamacare -- which Obama reminded people during his address to the country -- is that no one with a pre-existing condition can be denied coverage through the program. Anyone that has a life-threatening illness, or who cannot afford health coverage elsewhere, can find Obamacare helpful for their finances. One trip to the emergency room costs thousands of dollars, and regular doctor visits are much more than that. One key takeaway from the speech: although Obamacare got off to a shaky start, it has and can help many people who could not otherwise afford health coverage receive medical attention.

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Support for Troops and Veterans

The President caught the undivided attention of everyone listening to his speech when he talked about Army 1st Sgt. Cory Remsberg, a veteran that was almost killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb.

The President said, "Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggled on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he's learning to speak again and stand again and walk again, and he's working toward the day when he can serve his country again."

Followed by a thunderous applause for several minutes; when the room got quiet again Obama spoke about support for the troops. Yet are veterans receiving enough support once they have completed their service? Some serious changes need to be made in order to address the growing concern for veterans -- helping them find work and caring for them properly once they return home.

(Image via Flickr)

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The Potential Each American Possesses

"There are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident or birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That's what drew our forebears here. It's how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America's largest automaker, how the son of a barkeep is speaker of the House," the President said when talking allowing every American the same opportunity to succeed in this country.

No matter your political views, or whether or not you feel any of these changes can be implemented, there is one thing that we can all agree on -- America is the land of opportunity. Everyone has the ability to position themselves to succeed financially. Although some people are born into better situations than others, anyone can become successful in America through persistence and hard work. As the rest of the year progresses keep that in mind, and remember that you can achieve all of your finance goals with hard work.

(Image via Flickr)

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