The New “Real” Economy and what the Middle Class in America must do to survive.
The economy that we are in is a NEW economy, a “real” economy, and people need to get out of the mentality that it is a “bad” economy and that the end of the world is coming. People need to change their “think” and start planning for this new economy. Look, I am 54 years old and I have been through several up and down economies. The plan used to be: I am going to buy a house and live in it for 25 years and I am going to pay it off and create my wealth there. It is different today, if you are 50 – 60 years old, your house is not going to be your retirement. You are not going to be able to retire when you thought you could; in order to formulate your new “real” economy retirement plan, you will need to acknowledge that new income and a new way of thinking, which scraps the concept of getting by on “just enough” is the only way forward.
The middle class was built on a concept of “just enough.” I am going to work just enough, I am going to save just enough and I am going to have just enough to make it. But many people today are outliving their retirement. We just didn’t plan to live until we are 90. We also didn’t plan on the possibility of having to take care of our children as adults, like many of us are having to do now. As I talk about in The 10X Rule, whatever you think it is going to take, multiply that by 10 and maybe then you’ll be safe. People spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning how to create enough money, save enough money and invest that money correctly so they can live a life of freedom. America is a country that is based on this concept of freedom and it takes finances to do that. If finances are important, then people need to invest time and energy into creating enough of them.
I tell my wife everyday, don’t plan for a better economy, what we need to have is a better plan for this economy and be prepared when it worsens. I am not trying to be some bearer of bad news but the reality is the economy we are in is very precarious and it requires planning; it requires a real purpose and a completely different level of action to survive in it. The goal posts have clearly been moved. The President of the United States has injected the economy with trillions of dollars and can’t move the unemployment numbers. You know he wants to, but he can’t. So many of us thought we were on the 10 yard line and ready to score only to find out we’re on back the 40 yard line. So you just need a new plan that is not emotional, that is based on logic and, more importantly, that you can execute.
First step of the plan:
You have to increase your income. I don’t care what you’re doing but you need to get a second job, maybe even a third job. You cannot allow for the old way of thinking to influence how you view work. The old way of working only 40 hours at one job has led to complacency and the problem with complacency is that when things change, you’re unable to adapt and grow.
Second Step of the Plan: Get rid of all debt. Do anything you can do to get rid of debt. Especially credit card debt. Visa, Mastercard, AMEX – these companies thrive on you being in debt.
Third Step of the Plan: Save more money. Just start saving. Stop spending money on stupid stuff. What do you need that bigger TV for? All the stuff on TV is negative anyway. If you avoid spending money on non-essential items right now, I guarantee that you will one day be able to get a whole room dedicated to it. I am now at a point in my life where I can save $1.00 for every $1.00 I spend, but that took years of discipline. I started out by saving $1.00 for every $10.00 I spent, then $1.00 for every $5.00 I spent and so on. You can start out small at first, but whatever you do, you need to start now; then slowly increase your ratio of saving to spending.
Fourth Step of the Plan: INVEST! INVEST! INVEST! I make the money I do because I spent years investing. I invested first in myself, second in my company, and thirdly I invest to ensure my money is growing regardless of the economy. The things I invest in are typically investment real estate, and various other products or companies. That is exactly what I am doing right now. You may have heard I sold my home in Los Angeles. Why? This was difficult for me and my family to do but it is the right thing. By doing this I can legally avoid paying an unnecessary 13% to a state government that is out of control and refuses to operate on a budget. Now, I can use that money to invest in things that guarantee me the creation of wealth going forward. I am moving to Miami and we are NOT buying a big home but instead investing the money into real estate that pays us income. The idea is not as sexy as having a big home that impresses people but it’s the right thing to do at the right time!
Study the wealthy and they invest their money in smart things that conserve their wealth and then grow it. The only reason to save money, reduce debt and make more income is to get it to grow to ensure your future financial freedom. You have to figure out what the best investment is for you, your style and your life. I love investment real estate (apartments) because they are necessary in any economy and because I can be in control of them, unlike investing in stock market.
The first investment you should be making, though, is in YOU. I just spent three weeks on my self improvement – studying and reading and working my new plan out and I did it with my whole family. That wasn’t a vacation it was a creation.
My wife and I sit down every Sunday with my three year old and 11 month old daughters present, and we actually go over our finances. Every Sunday we do this. Now many people say that Sunday is a day of rest; we spend 40 – 50 minutes, maybe a full hour or more, talking about where are we going, where are we spending money on things that are unnecessary, where can we make more money, where we both can get on the same page with what we are doing, with what we have and how we are treating money. I know what we are going to need in the coming years so we are actually giving this idea of wealth development, this concept of creating personal freedom for ourselves “attention.” Whatever you give attention to is what you are going to get in life.
If you are 58 years old and need to go back to work, do it and do it now. You have to understand right now that bad news is your friend. Your biggest asset is all the bad news, because all the other people that are your age are giving up. And what you want to do is not do what they are doing. It is during contractions like this that people can actually make their biggest moves in life because the shining star stands out on a stormy night. If you can see through the clouds, that one shining star gets all the attention. So if you can be that beacon, the positive person that wants to contribute, that wants to give more, do more and wants to get back in the workforce and give more than you’re getting, that is so exceptional today. It is so hard to find that and, trust me, there are companies out there that value that work ethic, regardless of your age, value someone showing up for work early, staying late.
Be willing to embrace all the opportunities in the marketplace. Be exceptional. Really dig in right now. There are four actions that people can take, but the majority of folks fall into two of them: 1) they do nothing or 2) they go backwards. A lot of people are doing that now, actually retreating from the environment. Some are trying to get by doing the third action, which is “just enough.” This average action is the most dangerous. What you want to do right now is the fourth and least common action, overachieve. That is what the baby boomer and everyone else must now do.
I am pulling for you. Each week I am sharing what I believe will help you and others through my Strategy of the Week. The “middle class” is an outdated concept and it’s dying! Don’t be fooled by the mirage it offers. Hope is not a strategy. Today people are trying to hold onto something that is basically moving away from them. Whereas, 50 years ago they were trying to get something that was coming in a tide to build up America. That tide is now going out so it requires a different plan.
Get out of the rut and into massive action. It’s a new economy and a different world. Be a productive part of it and really live!