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How to Survive, and Thrive, During Tough Economic Times
Who Is This For?
Well, it’s not for Bill Gates, and that’s for damned sure. I doubt Warren Buffet will be reading this, and the Waltons would probably find it quite funny, but for all the rest of you, this article, hopefully, will help enlighten you and spur you to some sane action.
Do you really need me to tell you that times are tough? If you are a member of the middle class in the United States, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your class is disappearing. Now, here’s a little economic lesson for you: if your economic system consists of three levels of income, the poor, the middle class, and the rich, and if the middle class is disappearing, where do you think that disappearing class will go on the scale? Do you see the middle class sinking like an ugly kid’s hopes on prom night, or do you see it rising to new heights?
I am a realist by nature. I do not believe I will win the Lottery. I do not believe my government represents me during these troubling times. In fact, I don’t think the major corporations give a damn whether I flounder or soar. That only leaves me with one choice: I need to take control of my economic future and not rely on anyone else.
And the same is true for you.
So, if you don’t mind me being a bit nosy, what is your plan for the economic future? Are you one of millions who is cowering in a corner, hoping that times will improve? Hoping that somehow, someway, a miracle will happen? Or are you someone who is taking steps to protect yourself so that you not only survive, but thrive, in the future?
This article is not some “get rich” plan. No, what you will find in the following paragraphs are suggestions that will move you to a safe place where you no longer have to concern yourself with the vagaries of the market or the compassion of your leaders, and wouldn’t that be a lovely place to reside?
So, if you are still reading this, and you are interested in following my lead and finding some financial peace of mind, then by all means, read on.
Where are you on the economic scale?
My Personal Experience
I won’t bore you with a long autobiography. I will tell you that I have degrees in Education, Marketing and Economics. I have made a six-figure income, and I’ve been unemployed and homeless. I’ve owned twelve homes over the years, and I’ve slept in my pickup truck. I’ve worked for myself and I’ve worked for corporations.
So I have some experience, and from that experience comes perspective.
And that’s what you’ll get today….a boatload of perspective.
Stop the Madness
If you ever want to get ahead…hell, if you ever want to just stay afloat….you have to start buying according to needs rather than wants, and you need to make those purchases with cash rather than credit.
You don’t need me to quote statistics about credit in this country. It is alarming to say the least. This has been going on since post-World War 2 and it continues today. Credit was all well and good (not really) when Americans were working and making a decent living, but today? In the year 2014? Are you kidding me? Families without a figurative pot to piss in are buying big screen televisions, on credit, and then wondering how they will make their house payment. Who is to blame when that happens? It is fiscally irresponsible, it is insanity, and it needs to end.
Buy according to needs rather than wants, and be religious about it, with the fervor of Billy Graham on crack.
Work for Yourself
I would love to see about fifty million Americans start their own businesses tomorrow. It’s possible but highly unlikely, and I’m not quite sure why that is. From a tax standpoint alone it makes sense to do so. There is so much you can write off as business expenses, and you can do it while running your little one-person business from your living room…..and you don’t need to make a profit to take those tax write-offs.
So, why aren’t you doing it?
Why don’t you have a little ebay business? Why don’t you start your own freelance writing business? Why don’t you follow a passion of yours and have that passion make you money?
Instead of calling the Shopping Network and purchasing a new set of steak knives, which you’ll never be able to use because you can’t afford steak, why don’t you use that money to buy yourself a business license and actually start making money?
Grow, grow, grow your boat, gently down the pasture……merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a big pile of cow poop.
Okay, enough silliness. For those of you with 400 square feet of yard, why not grow your own vegetables, enough for four people to eat for one calendar year? If you can dream it you can do it, because that is how many vegetables you can grow on 400 square feet….a lot 10’x40’ in size.
Toss in a few rabbits and chickens, and pretty soon you won’t need to go to the grocery store, and imagine how much money that will save you in a year.
No, you cannot grow Rocky Road Ice Cream, but for those of you with visions of artery-clogging, refer back to my earlier rule of “needs vs wants.”
Repeat after me: new is bad, used is good!
I have no idea why the average citizen, with barely enough money to eat, chooses to buy new products when used, recycled products are just as good. In other words, why pay full price when half-price will do?
Why pay huge utility bills when there are cost-cutting measures you can take to save money?
Why pay repairmen to fix things for you when you are fully capable of doing the repairs yourself?
Why? Why? And more why?
Trickle down This
I laugh every single time I think of Trickle Down Economics. Hey, folks…it isn’t working! Nothing is trickling down to our level except the need for more Tylenol and Tums.
Let me describe some friends I have. I think you’ll recognize their lifestyles and situations. This will be a composite description, lumping five families into one.
Life is a struggle. The bills are getting paid, but just barely. They are one paycheck away from serious trouble, meaning if for any reason they should miss a paycheck, their shaky little financial world will come crumbling down. They have over ten thousand in credit card debt, the kids need dental work but of course, there is no dental plan, and the last time they took a vacation was, well, they can’t remember.
They are scrambling and they know it. Pay-billing time is stressful and inevitably leads to arguments over money. Dad is thinking of getting a second job. Mom is thinking of starting her own craft business online and then….they get a nice tax refund, and they are able to pay off a few bills, and hubby gets some unexpected overtime, and for the time being, the stress is alleviated.
And then six months later they are right back to licking the bottom of the salt block, and the stress returns.
Sound like anyone you know?
Tens of millions of Americans live this way daily. A glimpse of hope followed by the disappearance of hope, and on and on they go, like rats in a maze, bouncing into walls and unable to find the exit.
I’ve got a newsflash for you: it will never end unless you take steps to make it end.
Try my suggestions. What do you have to lose?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)