Life is Getting More Expensive

Life is Getting More Expensive

When I was a young man coming home from the Vietnam War, I was on the hunt for what to do next with my life. Having gone to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, I knew I could get a high-paying job as an officer on a ship. Also, because I was a pilot in Vietnam, I knew I could get a steady, high-paying job as an airline pilot.

But I wasn't sure I wanted to do either of those things. As a kid, I grew up watching my dad, my poor dad, struggle to make ends meet as a teacher, always complaining about his co-workers, bosses, and his pay. He worked hard all his life, but he didn't seem happy.

On top of that, as a kid, my best friend's dad, my rich dad, invested in me, teaching me about money and business. He demonstrated that you didn't have to work for someone else to be successful in life. He was both wealthy and happy.

As I returned from Vietnam, I sought out advice from both my poor dad and my rich dad. My poor dad gave me the predictable advice. He felt I should take a job as a pilot with the airlines so that I'd have good pay, benefits, and a pension. It was safe and secure, he said.

My rich dad disagreed with my poor dad. He said that being an employee was the least secure thing I could do because I had no control. My pay was determined by my company. My time was controlled by them. And so was my future because I'd depend on them for my retirement. He said I should become an entrepreneur and investor.

In the end, I listened to my rich dad, and I decided to follow the path of entrepreneurship and investment. I never looked back, and even when I took a job, it wasn't to build a career. It was to build skills that would help me be a better business owner and investor.

This week, as I read an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled "Ahead of the Tape: A 'Wage-Less' Recovery in the U.S.", I was once again reminded of the decision I made decades ago to opt out of the old rules of money and operate under the new rules of money, and thankful for my rich dad's investment in my life.

The article begins with this line: "These are pretty heady times for companies, in part because they are painful for many workers." Translation: Companies are raking in the dough by squeezing their employees.

Here are some sobering facts from the article:

  • The average hourly earnings in March were flat for the fourth time in five months with an annual growth rate of 1%, the lowest in 25 years
  • At the same time, analysts expect corporate profits to increase 12% year-over-year, coming off from last year's fourth quarter increase of 31%
  • The consumer price index jumped 2.1% in February year-over-year while earnings were only up 1.7%
  • US household incomes peaked in 1999 and have fallen 5% since according to census data

In short, life is getting more expensive for employees and the middle-class while business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs are getting richer.

Personally, I think it's bad business to squeeze your employees in order to gain higher profits. However, I can only control my own business dealings. The real tragedy is that employees can't even control that. They are at the mercy of companies who reap profits while they struggle. That is the business owner's prerogative, and the employee can do nothing to stop it.

That is why I'm thankful for my rich dad's investment in my life. Without his lessons and inspiration, I could possibly be a struggling baby boomer looking with fear into the unknown future of wages and retirement instead of a business owner and investor who understands how money works and has money work for him.

Today, I don't worry about falling wages because I can print my own money. I don't worry about retirement because my investments and business provide steady cash flow, even while I'm sleeping. And I don't squeeze my employees because I know how to make money work for me and don't need to cut corners to make it. I'm proud of the fact that my knowledge of money benefits not just me but hundreds of people who earn a living working for and with the Rich Dad Company.

If you're reading this today and feeling the pinch of falling wages and rising prices, I want you to know there is another way. You don't have to be stuck in the rat race. You can take control of your financial future today.

The change won't happen overnight, but it can happen. Begin with financial education, find a coach, take small steps, and be focused and consistent. Good will come of it.

The future for employees will only become more risky, not less. Today, make the decision to stop playing by the old rules of money and start playing by the new rules of money.

Original publish date: April 05, 2011