If this sounds like I’m re-beating a drum I’ve already played, it is. I’ve learned Americans need to hear a message a few times over before it begins to sink in.
The dream of coming to America – the land of freedom – to live in your own home, to send your kids to school to get a college education, to have opportunity that does not exist elsewhere, for kids to live better than their parents – that WAS the American dream. The American dream is now living in the past tense.
Today anyone buying a home in the suburbs is purchasing a depreciating asset. Yes, the interest rate on home loans is lower than ever, but if you need to move any time in the first 15 years after buying a home and prices continue to decline, which they will, you will surely be left holding a half-empty bag.There is a shadow inventory of 4 million homes that will be dumped onto the market as foreclosures in the next four years. Greater supply and stagnant demand = lower home values. Better to buy agricultural property that is rising in value. Farms are rising in value on land that was once planned for housing tracts. The residential real estate market isn’t going to return to normalcy till 2023.
Today any young person taking out a student loan is not likely to find a job to pay it back. Today a college education may not be worth the money and effort put into obtaining a paper diploma. You didn’t notice that billionaires like Larry Ellison, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never finished college?
Immigrant families are especially lost in a time lag, still believing the American dream exists. That is the very reason they came to America.
If America continues to outsource its labor overseas and automates many other jobs out of existence (look at what email did to the post office), the conclusion is that jobs may not be more than low-paying and part-time in the service industry as manufacturing jobs are in decline. Your children can look forward to a career as a part-time massage therapist, big-box store greeter or street sandwich-board advertiser.
What can we learn from the wealthy?
So how do Americans escape serfdom? Surveys show wealthy Americans made most of their money by starting companies that sold or by having investments that produced capital gains or stock dividends. If you want to escape the inevitable serfdom that most Americans face today, you had better find a way to enter the "investment class."