How do you personally define what is “normal”? Most Americans are content to simply look at their neighbors and at those around them and to use those observations as a basis to determine what should be considered a more or less “normal” life. Americans compare their income, their purchases, their vacations, the size of their house, where they kids go to school, and even their car to what their neighbors may or may not have and do. This practice is known colloquially as “keeping up with the Joneses”, and chances are that you are doing it right this moment, without even meaning to. How so?
You may try and “keep up with the Joneses” in one of two ways – striving to have what others have or striving to live like others live. Let’s focus on the second way – falling into the trap of thinking that if you live like your neighbors live then you have a “normal” life.
When we examine how most Americans live what do we see, financially speaking? In 2013, the average American family owed over $15,000 on their credit cards, over $30,000 in student loans, and nearly $150,000 on their mortgage, not taking into account any debt incurred by hard money and car loans. When you take an objective look at the people surrounding you, you will likely see that the majority of your neighbors and coworkers are among those who are absolutely swimming in debt. What effect can all this debt have on you and on your viewpoint of the world?
Without realizing it, seeing your friends and family up to their necks in high-interest loans can make you start to think that living on borrowed time is a “normal” life.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
What we view as “normal” should not be defined by the choices of those around us, especially not when most people are only familiar with the universe where everyone lives on the hamster wheel of financial hell. What is this hamster wheel?
Like a rodent that runs and runs but never actually goes anywhere, most Americans are just treading water financially, never getting ahead no matter how hard they work. And as we saw earlier, it is easy to believe this is the “normal” way of life that we all should expect to live. After all, everyone else seems to be in the exact same situation. Look at the checklist below and see if you can identify with any of the following situations:
- You are stuck in a 9-5 job that doesn’t provide the income you need to have the lifestyle you want.
- You are in a pattern where as you get older, you make more money and buy more stuff, only to get into more debt and become even more dependent on the money you earn at your job. Soon, you find yourself unable to move on from your job (even though you don’t like it), and just can’t see a way out.
- You are making good money yet have nothing to show for it other than a house, a collection of expensive toys, and a mountain of debt. You feel trapped in the “earn to spend” cycle.
- You have dreams of quitting your job and being financially independent, but have no clue where to start.
- You are close to retirement but fear that you will not be able to live as you would like to and perhaps not even be able to enjoy your current standard of living.
Having those fears and living in that vicious cycle should not be “normal” for anyone. The hamster wheel of financial hell is a lifestyle that demands much and gives little. But you don’t have to keep running on that wheel if you don’t want to – there is a better way.
The book Forever Cash reveals that, in reality, several financial universes exist in parallel all around you, and most of them don’t involve living in fear of creditors or phone calls from loan collection agencies. With just a few small adjustments in your thinking, you can start to look at both money and debt in a completely different way and get a glimpse of the financial freedom that you can achieve.
The book Forever Cash will show you a different way to look at making and spending money. Instead of watching helplessly as all of your hard-earned money goes down the drain each month, you can learn to administer your resources in a more effective way that will guarantee your long-term financial security. You can step over into a parallel economic “universe” where money works for you and where you can stop worrying about whether or not you will be able to pay your bills this month or what your life will be like after retirement.
Learning to step out of one financial universe and into another is not terribly difficult. It can be done by making just a few minor adjustments in your viewpoint and spending habits. Soon, your new “normal” will become the one the others can only dream of having.