This is going to be a divergence from my usual content, but it’s important enough that I want to talk about it today. So for those that are expecting game-based content, that’s not what this is; but you still need to read it.
It has always boggled my mind that talking about money has largely been a taboo subject among people. It’s no longer taught in schools, it’s not taught by parents. It’s not addressed by employers or HR consultants. Even Investment Advisors have to be careful when broaching the subject, and it’s their job to do so! As someone with 7 years of experience in banking and insurance, I have often wondered why people are so reluctant to talk about their money, especially with those that they should be talking to about it, particularly their banker. Why did money become a dirty word?
According to US News, talking about money in mixed company is considered worse than discussing one’s sex life. Couples keep money issues quiet unless they absolutely have to talk about it, and it’s one of the biggest contributors to marital stress. Children don’t learn from their parents about it because the parents want to shield their children from the realities of their economic situation.
When it comes down to it, money is a dirty word because so few know how to handle it properly. I’m not saying this to cast shade on anyone; the reality is that we were never taught the best way to handle money. Those with money are usually taught how to handle it on a generational basis, and have a completely different attitude about both the acquisition of, and retainment of money. Those that have come from more humble beginnings have made names for themselves by becoming wealthy, and have written books on the subject. You may know some of these names: Dan Lok, Grant Cardone, Napoleon Hill. Of them, the pioneer was HIll, whose principles were codified in Think and Grow Rich, having interviewed over a dozen of the richest and most powerful businessmen in the world. Lok and Cardone each took those principles and refined them, making them more applicable in the modern context.
The two biggest mistakes people make is believing they can’t escape their circumstances, and being intimidated by those that were over-the-top successful. I can attest, as someone that started by being both on SNAP benefits and government-subsidized housing, that you can see social mobility through hard work. Unlike the heretofore mentioned superstars, I am as yet only modestly successful; I say that because I am self-sustaining, but not anywhere near a millionaire. In fact, I am currently resolving the Middle-Class Problem.
You may be wondering what I mean by the Middle-Class Problem; it’s actually far more simple than it sounds. The Middle-Class Problem is that we as a social tier have been both miseducated, and misdirected, over how to handle both money and our lives. See, we grew up in homes where our parents are constantly bombarded with a need to fill their lives with consumer goods. Bigger TV, bigger house, new dishes, nicer table. Most of these products or services are bought on credit, and the majority of the lower-middle class worker’s salary goes toward debt service. Now this might not necessarily be credit card debt; it is also car debt, mortgage debt, leasing obligations, rents, regular bills that stack up each month for basic services. We are a class tier that is riddled with debt, and lives on leveraging that debt to make our lives seem more fulfilling.
The harsh truth is, we are actually spinning our wheels if we let ourselves continue down this road. Something has to change in the mentality of the middle class and working class if we actually want to be free, and folks, we’re going to have to determine what that is. Any number of financial gurus can come up with a dozen methods to fix this, but no universally repeatable, empirical methodology has been developed.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m in that trap now; I’m making what is considered a livable wage, but I can’t seem to make absolute progress against my debt. For every dollar I spend to retire one debt, another dollar in new debt seems to have to replace it. If I pay off a student loan, a car needs replacing; if one credit card gets paid off, I need to run up another to fix a problem or replace a critical good. The irony is, the higher quality you buy, the less often you have to replace it, but to afford that quality, you’re often having to saddle yourself with debt, so you don’t have to spend more money in the long run replacing goods!
To make matters more complicated, the more advanced we become, the fewer things we can live without. Twenty years ago, a computer was a luxury; today it’s a necessity. The same goes for internet service and cell phones. As technology advances, we are increasingly needing to expand on what we spend our money on in order to just live our day to day lives. To make matters worse, since 2002 (the year I graduated High School), the US Dollar alone has inflated over 40%. This is unsustainable, and no, there is no easy solution; it can’t be legislated, it can’t be forced. We have to discover for ourselves what the solution to the middle class problem is, if we’re going to continue moving forward into the future.
Sadly I don’t have the perfect solution already planned out; but if and when I discover it, I’ll make sure to post it here, and on my Channels. If you think you’ve figured it out, and aren’t afraid to share it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d also like you to look at the authors I mentioned above. Napoleon Hill, Grant Cardone, and Dan Lok all have wisdom to share about acquiring money and building businesses. Each are a worthy read. Good luck to us all.
You can find the most important works of the three gentlemen mentioned above here. Each has its own kernels of wisdom, and I highly suggest you take the time to read them:
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is the foundation of all of this, and although a bit dated, provides context to place everything else into.
Dan Lok’s F.U. Money helps to overcome the Middle-Class mentality, which is why the Middle-Class Problem is such a problem.
Finally, Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule takes that and teaches you how to make it explode.