To win today’s game of financial security in the here and now into retirement, one must understand the playing field, first and foremost. What’s afoot? Capitalism, or rather, state-crony capitalism where the rich minority and government control a good portion of what has transpired economically. The push for the Federal Reserve began with Senator Nelson Aldrich and his friends J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, two of the world’s richest men in the early 20th century. What the rich want, the rich get. But the government has certainly stepped in with all its recent bailouts. So we don’t have a pure capitalism per se, but it is capitalism nevertheless. But even though these two influences on the economy are great, there is a larger presence out there: what people are willing to buy.
More importantly, capitalism is about the next, latest-greatest service and / or product. Electricity replacing kerosene, the car replacing the horse and buggy, television replacing radio, Netflix replacing Blockbuster, and Amazon taking down B. Dalton’s Bookstore. And on and on it goes. Now the most important point here is not the mere history of these points but the fact that in capitalism things change, and that change is picking up. I refer you to Allen Greenspan’s Age of Turbulence. Yes, the former head of the Federal Reserve. So what does that mean for you?
First of all, it dispels the myth of job security, for the “creative destruction” of capitalism ensures it. But don’t panic. Even though jobs are being destroyed, jobs get created at a high rate as well. And even though there has been a lot of complaints about unemployment in the U.S. of late, we are still better off than the majority of those in the world. Consider that if you make more than $3 / day, you’re doing better than three billion or half the world. And if you have clothes on you back, money in your pocket and bank account, along with food in your fridge, you’re doing better than 80% of the world. But best of all, you’ve got knowledge and understanding on your side. So let’s get to more of it.
So let’s get back to the issue of job or financial security. Adding to the creative destruction of capitalism is the fact that wages have stagnated, cost of living is up (loans for higher education alone have increased 50% over the last ten years), and savings is down. In the mid-eighties the savings rate, or money people were able to put into savings, was some eleven percent. Today, we are in the negative, meaning that we must take loans out or pay with credit cards for our basic necessities. So what’s a poor single-source of income to do? Especially if that income can barely pay for things. Diversify.
Many are coming to the realization that one must invest: property, gold and silver, stocks, intellectual property, etc. But invest you must, or when that job dries up because of capitalism’s creative destruction, what is one to do? Investment goes outside the scope of this post, but it is best to invest early and often, opening up as many streams of income for greater, greatest financial stability.
But there’s more, much more. In the days of old, survival of the fittest meant being a great warrior and physically tough. Today it is much more important to be mentally tough. What does that mean? Not only being able to think thoroughly and accurately but with an open, humble mind (accepting error in judgment) with considerable control over thought and emotion (EQ or emotional intelligence). Today, more than ever before, because of capitalism’s creative destruction and the sped-up economies, the average worker will have three to five—some experts say up to ten—career changes. This change requires an agile and adaptive mind, along with the ability to learn quickly. Therefore, it is essential that one know how to think well or critically—analyze, synthesize, judge. Again, this post will not go into details here (look for related articles on my blog).
Like never before, you must learn to be adaptive and self-sustaining for your career and financial well-fare. No longer can one simply rely on one skill or company to see one through to retirement. The world has changed, and we must change and adapt accordingly. Please feel free to drop a line with any questions or concerns. Your future and all who rely on you depends on it.