I watched a documentary via Netflix last week titled Inequality for All and it sparked a train of thought in me that I hadn’t had before. The film follows former United States Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, as he attempts to draw attention to the increasing gap between the wealthy and the nation’s poor. Three things stuck with me from the film:
(a) job production in America slowed down as technology allowed for increased automation and the outsourcing of jobs,
(b) what doctors and lawyers make is chump change compared to the income of the nation’s one percent, and
(c) middle class is becoming a term that does not fit into the 2014 structure of income in this country.
A word that my generation must re-understand is globalization. Globalization is defined as “the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.” In other words, businessmen/businesswomen are utilizing more resources abroad as the world gets smaller due to an increase in connectivity (things like the internet).
CEOs who were once unable to teleconference with a factory in Nanjing China, now have those capabilities at a low cost. Corporations can now conduct business and implement ideas in real time from anywhere in the world. So, corporations that were once creating jobs for Americans in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, are now building factories and offices in other countries and running those divisions from right here at home. What this means for America’s Millennials is that the job market is no longer confined within our geographic borders. American-born firms now need managers, technicians, and liaisons that they can send to Thailand, China, and different parts of Europe and handle their business.
Now, some of us already knew all of that. Then, there are those of us who were just trying to make it to college because that’s what we were told to do. We were told that if we went to college, we’d find a good job, but we’ve come to discover that that’s not entirely true. Most of us were first introduced to the idea of globalization in middle school, along with the many other concepts that meant nothing to many of us at the time, but now these ideas have become real. The internet is not just experimental anymore, it is our flying car.
So, we must expand our minds beyond the old adages that our parents gave us. Now, we’ve got to reach way back into our cluttered memories and rediscover those things that we once skimmed over for a quiz or class discussion. This is the time to reteach ourselves the things that we should have learned years ago. This short window of time between ages 18 to 30 is the time to really get it together.
The first way to get this thing right is to rid ourselves of the notion that money is going to come fast. We now know that the odds of becoming an overnight millionaire are against us. If you have a student loan in your name or an ounce of credit card debt, then I feel confident in saying that you understand that a get-rich-quick scheme probably won’t happen for us. The new name of the game is Asset Acquisition. Don’t focus so much on an increase in available funds or the number of twenties that you can effectively fit into that square Instagram frame; think assets. An asset is a useful or valuable thing, person, or quality like a car or home. An asset is something that can hold equity. According to the “7 Rules of Wealth Building” by Joshua Kennon, rule number one is finding a financially compatible spouse. A spouse can either be an asset or a detriment to your success, so choose wisely. If your game plan involves saving and your girlfriend is a spender, you might want to reevaluate that thing.
Another asset to obtain is wisdom. Knowledge is usually coupled with wisdom, but they are significantly different. Knowledge is represented by a diploma or a degree. Wisdom is made manifest by what you do with the knowledge that you have obtained. Wisdom says pursue a career that you’re passionate about. If money were not a factor, what would you do for free?
So snatch the sheets of paper out of the notebook, throw away the guides to success that haven’t been working, and start back at square one. We were born into a Monopoly game in which the distribution of wealth is not even. Forget money over everything; dollar bills and large bank accounts is not wealth. Stack your assets.