The following is a guest post by Oded Gendler. Oded is an online marketer and entrepreneur from Israel. He is the brains and bravado behind the NO B.S.™ Moneymachinefactory.org blog. Follow him on twitter for a dose of ranting and philosophical yadayada @therealoded
From the moment you enter grade school, you are told and indoctrinated: study hard, get good grades, go to a good college or university. Plunge into debt of 50k-100k and spend the next 4 years (at least) in getting a degree. Then of course, comes the internship which you wont get paid for. But it’s all OK! After all that, the fun really begins, because, finally, it’s payback time for all your hard work! You get a job and start at a whopping annual salary of (drum roll please)… 50k, if you are lucky.
I hear people who tried affiliate marketing for 2 weeks invested $500 and decided there is NO WAY to make money from it. I use the term “invested” because even if you lost all your $500 and didn’t make a dime, it was an investment in your education of online marketing. An investment not much different than the tuition you paid for your college degree. The fact a bonafide professor didn’t force feed you rehashed material from the syllabus doesn’t mean your education process is worth less.
In reality, you actually applied yourself and your mind doing the fabulous act of auto-deduction. You learned by yourself! Isn’t that true learning, perhaps even more valuable then the more docile, passive act of being “taught”?
Let me go back to the prevailing status quo and paradigm of what a middle class person should go through. So you’ve got a job. Now it’s time to buy a house and own your first asset. How will you do that, with your past college debt, and a job that by now pays you around 70k per year? The answer? More debt of course. Debt which is of course owned and controlled by the ruling faction – as represented here by the banks.
You are actually bred and indoctrinated into slavery. Modern day slavery. In a modern person’s mind, slavery means black people picking cotton in the plantations. But in reality, modern slavery means “owning” debt (of course you don’t own the debt, the bank owns it, and thus the debt owns you). You actually enslave your future income and salary to the bank. Thus, although you are not whipped by the splintered whip of the taskmaster on a daily basis, you are whipped by the thorn of debt instead. Debt which you must accumulate in order to acquire assets.
Maybe one day you’ll think about quitting your job, wanting to finally realize your old dream of becoming an artist? Maybe you wont even have a choice and you’ll get sacked? Results – lose your house, lifestyle and maybe even your family (will your wife want to stay with a person who cannot provide for her and her children? I’m writing from a male perspective so for all you ladies reading it out there, do consider).
In the US alone there were almost 1.6 million bankruptcy filings in 2010, an increase of 7.4 percent from 2009. There were more people who filed for bankruptcy in 2011 than people diagnosed with cancer, suffering a heart attack or graduating from college. An interesting read regarding these findings is Elizabeth Warren’s book – “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke”.
The situation isn’t much brighter in the UK either. The Guardian has just published a report by a leading thinktank group stating that middle class families are “unlikely to see their earnings return to pre-recession levels until at least 2020″… but it predicts that the income of the wealthy will continue to rise over the same period.
The odds are absurdly weighted against working class families and in favor of the wealthy. Mitt Romney’s recently published tax returns shows that the Republican candidate income between 2010 and 2011 was 42.6 million dollars. The tax rate Romney paid was 13.9% or 6.2 million dollars (recent Time’s article even states Romney overpaid his taxes by about 44k). How could that be? Yahoo finance explains “The GOP frontrunner acknowledged his federal tax rate is 15%, thanks to a loophole called “carried interest” that helps the GOP frontrunner pay a rate similar to a family earning $50,000”.
With the current trend of affairs, the state will not be able to take care of you when you are old and grey, when you have lost your ability to provide for yourself. What you have in your bank savings (or hiding under your bed mattress) is what you’ll have to maintain you for the rest of your natural life. It’s doubtful even if you’ll have a proper pension. And even if you do, it will most likely not be enough.
Sounds pretty grim right? NO! Your financial future and freedom depends on you. This entire article (as absurd as it may sound) was written in order to inspire you to take action, in order to make you understand reality.
In the past, the choices were much clearer, much simpler. They were black and white. By choosing the life of an employee with all its benefits and comfort, you would receive a monthly salary, paid vacation, dental or health insurance, steady hours and more. In other words stability.
The downside – you’ll never be able to buy that Bugatti, the 10 bedroom beach front house, or staying at the Ty Warner penthouse at the Four Seasons NY. On the contrary, you could have chosen the path of an entrepreneur, risk all you’ve got in terms of time and money. No steady income or insurance. Work 20 hours a day and still end the year broke. Invest years of your life and end with nothing or a mansion. I deliberately choose to portray the two options as extremes.
Today, I believe that, having that option or choice between an employee or an entrepreneur is slowly drawing to an end. Choosing to be an employee might cost you dearly when you reach the end of your working cycle. Your 401k savings will not be enough to maintain your standard of living. The world is slowly reverting to the days of the filthy rich and the filthy poor. The erosion of the middle class and social security is something we cannot deny.
Yes, the world might end by 2012, but just in case it wont. I suggest getting ready for the fact you might live until you are 80+ and perhaps start thinking about your financial status.
Finch: Definitely some very important points to consider. Personally, I don’t think employment and entrepreneurism have to be mutually exclusive. I think it’s possible to balance a job that you love, which may involve working for ‘The Man’, with good investments that take care of your future. Not every kid dreams of running his own business, but every kid should grow up with a solid education in how money works. Thanks for the post, Oded.
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