The middle class is dying and your dreams will die along with it unless you change your strategy.
Remember when getting a college degree almost guaranteed a good life? Well, times have changed. Due to inflation and other economic shifts, the safety net that once came with saving diligently for retirement is fraying at the edges. It’s like trying to fill a bucket with water when there’s a hole at the bottom—frustrating and ultimately futile.
Even the big-shot B-schools like IIM Lucknow are hitting a rough patch with job placements. With a screenshot of WhatsApp chat making rounds online, they're literally hitting up the previous alumnus to help land jobs for 72 of their grads– to keep their perfect job placement streak alive. Making it evident how tough the job scene is right now, even for the smartest peeps out there.
There are lots of videos and blogs on the internet of people saying very similar things to what you’re about to read here today, as we all are simply experiencing the economy and the situation that we're all in for the first time.
It is important to reflect on some things that are important to understand if you want to break out of the mold of just working a job and making a linear amount of money for the time and effort that you put in for 40 years and then hope that the company that keeps you afloat.
The G(old)en Era
Now, money used to be a much more simple thing in our parents' day, where all you had to do was get educated, and that gave you sufficient purchasing power.
A few years ago, simply getting an education, a college degree, a university degree, a diploma, and then working a job would grant you enough purchasing power and enough freedoms to essentially build genuine wealth and a roof over your head as long as you worked hard, and you put the effort in to do that.
These days it's visibly different– because of inflation and also the removal of currency being connected to the gold standard. We continually print more and more bills, which continually devalues everything that we have and everything that we save.
To save or not to save?
Saving money isn't necessarily a bad idea, but its success hinges on how you do it and the economic climate. When inflation climbs, interest rates often rise too. For those with a significant savings, this means their interest income can increase, providing a cushion against inflation's bite on their wealth.
However, the common advice to save a little each week, dreaming it'll turn into a fortune in 40 years, doesn't quite hold up against inflation. The reality is, what seems like a fortune in the future might only equal today's money in buying power. This highlights a flaw in the strategy of scrimping now for a future that may not deliver the financial freedom you're counting on.
So that doesn't seem like the best trade – to live frugally now, to give up your money right now into savings leading to giving up the freedom you have right now, and to have no control over your time or your location now, for a very long time, to then have money that was worth way more now than it is going to be when it's saved up in the far future.
Both sticking to a 9-to-5 job and venturing into entrepreneurship come with their own sets of risks. However, starting your own gig or side hustle gives you a steering wheel to hold onto. You’re in control, and with the right moves, you might just find yourself on a faster route to financial freedom.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
With college costs skyrocketing (tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s, according to the National Center for Education Statistics), dropping a ton of cash on a degree that might not even get you a job isn't always the best bet. Instead, we've got to be nimble, learning new skills that are in demand now.
It's like this: putting all your eggs in one basket is risky. If that basket takes a hit, you're in trouble. That's why having multiple income streams is key. It could be anything from starting a side hustle, creating content online, to diving into digital marketing or graphic design. In fact, a survey by Bankrate found that nearly half of Americans have a side hustle. It's all about finding what you're good at and turning it into something that can make you some extra cash.
Real Talk: My Own Journey
Take it from someone who's been there. I went from studying photography to exploring the digital world then writing, and it was a game-changer. It was about using those skills in new ways—like digital marketing, content creation, and even teaching others. This shift didn't just open up new income streams; it taught me the value of adaptability.
What's the Goal Here?
It's not just about stacking money for the sake of it. It's about building a life where you're not living paycheck to paycheck or dreading Monday mornings. It's about financial wisdom—knowing how to manage your money and make it work for you. And, it's about freedom—the freedom to pursue what you love and make choices that align with your goals.
The takeaway is pretty clear: in an ever-changing (and by the looks of it not in a great way) economy, we've got to be proactive. By learning new skills, embracing change, and being strategic about where and how we earn our money, we're setting ourselves up for success. Whether it's leveraging social media, jumping into the gig economy, or starting a small business with low startup costs, there are opportunities out there. The point is, don't just float along. Get out there, explore, and take control of your financial future.