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The Death of the American Dream

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Why the Impending Financial Crisis is Creating a New America

I believe that the American Dream is dying because many of us have lost our moral compasses. Our schools are not fulfilling the educational needs of our students, nor are they being kept safe. We see so many kids, especially from poor neighborhoods, who turn to street crime and violence.

Rich dad often said, “Needy people become greedy people. Greedy people become desperate people. And desperate people do desperate things.”

The greatest gift my rich dad gave me was showing me both sides of the Employee-Entrepreneur coin. He exposed me to the life of an entrepreneur and offered me an environment in which entrepreneurial thinking could thrive. Today, I do not need a job, a steady paycheck, money, bonuses, government support, or Social Security and Medicare.

Financial independence

The Rich Dad Company propelled Kim and me into financial independence. We do not need paychecks. We work because we love our work, sharing what we know so others can also grow and prosper.

While we make a lot of money, most of that money does not go into our pockets. Most of the money is spent on growing the company, investing in new and better technology, more people, and new product development. That is what true capitalists do.

But Kim and I are the exception, not the rule. Today, in America, we have a growing problem. People are becoming increasingly dependent on the government as the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen.

The rich are getting richer

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the increase in incomes between 1979 and 2007 in the United States looked like this:

Poor: Income grew 18% over 30 years
Middle Class: Income grew 40% over 30 years
Rich: Income grew 275% over 30 years

Then in 2007, the bottom fell out when the boom went bust. Today, incomes for the middle class and poor have stopped going up, yet the rich seem to be getting richer faster.

In 2011, the number of Americans living in poverty grew to 46.2 million people. That translates to approximately 1 in 6 Americans who now live in poverty, and that number is growing. When a person has no property, they join the ranks of the poor and become dependent upon the government to take care of them. Oftentimes this leads to increased violence, both on the streets and in our homes.

Students on food stamps

Nearly 47 million Americans rely on federal food assistance benefits (food stamps), a 12-year high attributed to the weak US economy and high rates of unemployment over the last five years.

A lesser-known fact is that college students are among the fastest-growing segment of our economy to rely on food stamps. As tuition fees go up and financial aid opportunities vanish—and parents who were once a source of financial support have lost jobs or homes and become ineligible for college loans for their children—students have had to fend for themselves.

The next poor

Are teachers headed for the ranks of the poor?

In 2011, the California State Teachers Retirement System, CalSTRS, realized it faced a long-term deficit of $56 billion. A deficit is the gap between assets and estimated 

CalSTRS collects $6 billion a year, but needs $10 billion each year to meet its obligations. A shortfall of more than $4 billion a year is a lot of money, especially for government bureaucrats who do not know how to invest or how to make money.

If the California teacher’s retirement plan goes bust, the taxpayers will be stuck with yet another massive bailout. Worst of all, millions of teachers will slide from the middle class and join the poor.

Again, repeating the words of John Bogle: “The whole retirement the country is in, I think, very poor shape and it’s going to be the next big financial crisis in the country....”

The new America

All of these statistics translate to one thing: the American Dream of go to school, get a good job, buy a house, and invest in a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds is dying. Financial crises are creating a new America. Today, the middle class is disappearing and the gap between the rich and the poor is growing.

For some, this is discouraging. Many people choose each day to give up on their dreams and to be increasingly dependent on the government. They give up their freedom for security—though if CalSTRS is any indication, that’s not security at all.

In today’s new America, there are only two options: increase your financial education and learn to create your own wealth by playing by the rules of the rich, or become poorer and poorer and rely on the government and the rich to take care of you.

Which sounds more secure to you?

I fear our financial crises will only continue to grow. The rules of money have changed and you must adapt. Today, I encourage you to first come to grips with the new America and then to resolve to do something about it.

By increasing your financial education and starting a business or investing, you can set yourself up to thrive while others struggle to survive. Start today.

Join our free, financial education community here.

Original publish date: July 23, 2013

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