Think & Grow Rich Lessons
Andrew Conlee Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA

Posted: 2016-04-28



Reading about the rates of taxation in Denmark, courtesy of Martin Staunfeldt’s post, as well as learning about taxes in other parts of the world, thanks to Michael’s calls, raised another “a-ha” moment for me.  It came in the form of an earlier part of my life: postage rates.

In the United States, it costs 49 cents to mail a First-Class letter from one location in the U.S. to another in the U.S.  It seems excessive compared to what the price of stamps used to be a decade or two (or three) ago, BUT consider the price of sending a letter in other countries.  Even though this chart is from a few years ago, when U.S. postage was 45 cents (as opposed to 49 cents today), it still illustrates the low cost of sending a domestic letter in the U.S.:

United States                  $0.45

Australia                          $0.55

Canada                            $0.57

Czech Republic              $0.58

Iceland                            $0.63

Netherlands                   $0.63

Great Britain                  $0.72

Austria                            $0.75

Germany                        $0.75

Ireland                            $0.75

New Zealand                 $0.80

France                            $0.82

Greece                           $0.82

Italy                                $0.82

Luxembourg                 $0.82

Monaco                        $0.82

San Marino                  $0.82

Vatican                         $0.82

Kuwait                          $0.88

Japan                            $0.90

Sweden                        $0.92

Portugal                       $0.93

Belgium                       $0.97

Switzerland                $0.98

Greenland                  $1.00

Finland                        $1.02

Liechtenstein             $1.06

Norway                       $1.25

Denmark                     $1.46

Source: Postal Regulatory Commission via the Wall Street Journal

Taking a look at the above chart, what would the poverty-conscious person in the U.S. say?  Would they say, “Wow, I didn’t know we were that cheap”?  Maybe.  But they might also say, “But those countries probably have better service.”  Or they might say, “Well, we used to have it a lot cheaper, like only a few cents.”  They probably wouldn’t think about these other countries’ level of service, which is not the same as the U.S.  The U.S. delivers six days a week in all parts of the U.S.  A few countries, like Australia, Canada, Finland, and Sweden, have eliminated Saturday delivery entirely, and a few others deliver even fewer days of the week.  But, unless they know someone who lives in one of those countries, they would not care about any of that.

Michael proved that money-conscious leaders use critical thinking to analyze all of the aspects of a situation, whether it’s determining a candidate for political office, looking at the “oppressive” taxes paid by most people, or figuring out which company to partner with in a network marketing business.  Do we look for the least expensive offer, regardless of cost effectiveness?  Do we look for the best looking product, regardless of quality or price?  Or do we look for a product we like, regardless of whether others might like it?  If we want to differentiate between money-consciousness and poverty-consciousness, we have to forget about looking for the cheapest deal, regardless of quality.  We also have to forgo the “looks-good-on-the-outside” mentality, and we most certainly have to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what others want and need.  Then, we’ll not only be in the money, but we’ll also be of service for years to come.  After all, the U.S. Postal Service still does business 240-plus years after it was first formed!

Andrew Conlee

Cedar Rapids, IA, USA