The thing about statistics that chaps my ass isn’t the actual data itself. It is the way in which normal people are manipulated by only being shown a small portion of the data. You may not notice it very often, but it is a deception that politicians, advertisers, companies, and news outlets use on us all the time. Unfortunately, we fall for it all day long. It would be nice if people would judge what they hear against their own experiences and knowledge instead of swallowing the hook because they happen to identify more with a specific political party or TV personality. Here is an example.
“Free range chicken” is a term all of us have likely heard thanks to the meat producers virtual ownership of the USDA as an awesome marketing scheme to make us feel better about buying their product. Sadly, all that term does is give us a warm fuzzy and the corporations an excuse to raise their prices. If you ever take the time to visit one of these chicken houses, all you will see is a nice band of green grass around the same old chicken house. What you will not see are actual “free ranging” chickens. I get it. It’s tough to ethically feed 350,000,000 carnivores while producing millions of dollars for investors and shareholders. Costs have to be cut, or the board will find someone else who will. That’s life, but the joke is on us because we are simply paying more money for the same product. The only thing that has changed is a catchy label on the package and a stripe of grass around the chicken house that no chicken feet have every touched.
The above example was actually a long-winded excuse explaining why you will not see me throwing data at you very often. Data that you do not personally collect and control is biased or a total scam. Anyone can, and often does, hire their own scientists that are willing to show “research” supporting whatever they are paid to. I’m not saying all data is bad and you should start wearing a tin foil hat or anything. Just be aware that profit often gets in the way of honesty and compare everything you are presented with to your own experiences. This is especially true when you agree with the message because it makes you easier to convince.
I suppose, at the heart, my message is basically an expression of sadness in how we have outsourced our right to decide for ourselves what is right or wrong, what is healthy or unhealthy, and even how entitled we are to stand up for the things we believe in. Too many entities that don’t even know of our existence have way too much control over our lives, income, and retirement from corporate America.
Send a Powerful Message
Complaining to congress about animal treatment and depending on government to mandate better products will never provide the solution to slaughter houses or any other issue we face. The best solution is to take personal action and change the situation for yourself. This means that maybe you should raise your own chickens or find a local that does raise them in a manner consistent with your values. Home grown eggs and happy chickens will convince anyone that there is an obvious difference in quality that we have lost with the local farm. Changing your own habits will change those around you, and that is the most powerful message that can be sent to any large political group or company that lives and dies on profit.
OK, enough about chicken already. I just wanted to show you something obvious before asking you to think about some things that are happening in our society right now:
- Politicians always make claims about the importance of small business, but why do they all sell themselves to big business and protect their interests instead?
- How long could you maintain your current lifestyle if “shit” happened and there weren’t any jobs to be had?
- Could you feed yourself and your family if you suddenly had no access to money and grocery stores?
- Considering you will need over $2,000,000 to retire at age 67, do you think your 401K has any chance in hell of getting you there?
- How many days worth of food do you have in your home right now?
You’re probably thinking that I am an ass for bringing “all that” into the conversation, but those questions have been the “kick in the ass” that got me started thinking about getting my act together. Hopefully, they have helped motivate you to begin thinking about a new path in life that has a much better ending than the one most Americans are headed for.
The lifestyle that worked for our grandparents during the last century, which was taught to us by our parents, will not get us the same result that we were raised to expect. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think the auto industry or any other is going to suddenly begin offering great pensions and wages that will allow a family to reach the middle class on one income again. That ship has sailed.
We need to go back beyond our grandparents to when we had our own “hustle” (that’s what my wife calls a small business), and we were able to prepare for bad times with food storage that we grew ourselves. The goal is to become more resilient to losing your ass when things get rough. That is going to require us to take control over our spending as well as our earning potential. My gut says this is something that simply must happen if you ever want to claw your way into or through the middle class. The alternative is a shit sandwich that I don’t really want to have for lunch. How about you?
If you are wondering why I don’t mention saving, it is because poor people cannot afford to save. All of our extra money is tied up in college loans, mortgage payments, and car payments. We also drop a huge chunk on cell phones, multimedia entertainment, alcohol, insurance, and medical bills. Saving money requires you to have an excess of income instead of an excess of bills, and the only thing getting less valuable in our lives is the junk we own and the paycheck we earn (thanks to inflation and low raises). So put a little back for emergencies now and start generating some ideas on how to get your own “side hustle” going.
The 1% Difference
There is virtually no career which offers a frugal non-debt incurring method of significantly increasing your wages beyond inflation and cost of living year over year. Two income households no longer keep up with the one income families of 70 years ago. Where does that leave us? Do we push for polygamy legalization so that 3 or more people can join together in an effort to keep themselves off welfare? It sounds ridiculous and tells me that more and higher paying jobs are not the answer.
I am going to argue that you and your spouse each having a job only equals one source of income because it is dependent on both of you staying healthy enough to trade time for money. This means that your only source of earning is extremely over-leveraged and ripe for catastrophe. It sucks, and I am sorry, but consider this. How powerful would it be to have a second source of income that is more residual than punching a clock, which also doesn’t have any of your bills or loans deducted from it? To have that would be awesome, even if it were just a few hundred dollars a month. Life changing in fact. Think of it as working capital as you reduce your debt and climb out of the pit by coming up with new ideas and even more sources of income.
The main difference between you and millionaires, besides a million dollar yearly wage, is how many sources of income make up that million dollars. Wealthy people, on average, have about 7 streams of income according to several books I have read. Again, I don’t wan to make a statistic out of it, so let’s just say they understand the power of diversity in regards to making money. How many do you have?
The Infamous Call To Action
That’s why I started a business that serves other small businesses by allowing them to create invoices and easily bill their own customers. My business depends on your business, and that’s why I blog and share my journey in an attempt to be a resource of information. Our small businesses are the future and if you would like to be inspired by my successes as well as educated by my failures, subscribe to my blog, keep me updated on your own journey in the comments, and let’s do this today.
Here is a link to some small business blogs and tips if you would like some further reading: http://fitsmallbusiness.com/small-business-blogs/