We hear the doom and gloom from the news so often that many of us might think we live in some of the worst economic times to date. But, in all honesty, I think the conditions are so good that everyone should be wealthy today!
10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Wealthy Today
I hear both sides of it. As a U.S. citizen that goes to work everyday, I hear about people’s money struggles and how life sometimes rears it’s ugly face on unsuspecting victims. For some, life today appears to be at its worst. But, as a personal finance lover, I have come to realize the fantastic opportunity that we all have to become rich! Let me explain with these 10 reasons why everyone should be wealthy today.
1) The Average Income Continues to Increase
Many people complain that their income isn’t high enough to support their simple lifestyle. Well then it’s a good thing they weren’t born 50 years ago – they would have had a REALLY tough time handling their money.
The truth is that income levels have been on the rise for many years now (even after adjusting for inflation, as the chart shows below). While the Top 5% are definitely spiking higher than any other category, the middle quintile still has a noticeable uptrend as well. What once was an average family income of less than $15,000 per year (in today’s dollars) has now risen above $50,000 a year. That’s a pretty dramatic increase over the course of 50 years!
2) The Stock Market is Near Its Highest Level Ever
Did you realize that since 1991, the stock market has increased by 660%?! If you had $100,000 invested in the market in 1991 and contributed no more dollars over the last 24 years, your investment would be worth 6.6 times that amount, or $660,000. That’s pretty dang good for doing absolutely nothing!
3) Low Unemployment Rates
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has been falling rather consistently since January of 2010. At this currently point in time, the unemployment rate is actually below 5.5%. Out of 100 willing citizens, only 5 of them are unable to find work. Based on these stats, the jobs are clearly available, which means there is definitely money to be made!
4) A Seemingly Endless Supply of Work Options
Piggy-backing on point #3, not only are there plenty of jobs available, but there are a seemingly endless number of ways to be employed. It used to be that if you wanted to earn a paycheck, you had to drive to a factory, stamp your time card, work a 10 hour day, stamp it again, and then drive home. While some of these jobs are available today, they are becoming obsolete.
Today, people are finding all sorts of ways to earn a living. Instead of working a specific trade in the factory, many are opting to work jobs that provide them locational flexibility (so they can often work from home), others are contracting out their services, and there are actually some that are earning a living by blogging! With the power of the Internet, our work options are only limited to what our minds can conjure up.
5) Company Sponsored 401k Plans
More so now than ever, companies are helping their employees invest for their future. According to 401k Help Center, companies are providing better 401k options, they’re offering advice on how to invest, and they’re even offering more target-date funds that make the decision making process easier on the investor. In addition to this, many companies are still offering a match on employee 401k contributions (often a 100% match up to 3%). By utilizing these benefits and contributing consistently into a 401k over time, nearly everyone should be wealthy today.
6) Tax Rates Have Trended Down
Did you realize that the federal tax tables have actually become more favorable for the American tax-payer over the years? If you and your spouse earned $142,000 (again, adjusted into today’s dollars) in 1986, you’d be paying 42% of that money to Uncle Sam. Today, guess what percentage you and your spouse would be paying? Only 25%. Now that’s a pretty good deal isn’t it? Based on this simple fact, I think that everyone should be wealthy today without question! After all, we’re keeping 17% more of our dollars today vs. 30 years ago!
7) Very Accessible Education
For the simple cost of taxes that everyone is expected to pay, parents can send their children to school from the age of five through 18. Then, with the hard work and diligence of the student, they can often find enough scholarship money and work to earn their way through college without any debt (remember Kristina Ellis? She earned $500,000 of free money through scholarships). If they so choose, they can likely do this again to complete their master’s degree. While many scoff at the cost of education today, with the proper method it’s very nearly free all the way through your MBA – yet another reasons why many of us should be wealthy today. Not only do we have the option to educate ourselves, but with a little effort, we can do it all for free!
8) An Infinite Amount of Information at our Fingertips
Think about how we gather information today. Our friend asks us a question, we say, “I don’t know”, and then we pull out our phones and tell Siri to give us the answer. How did people figure stuff out 30 years ago? For most, they had to get their butt over to the library, search the card catalog, pull out 10 books that might have the answer, and then read them until we came across it. So why should everyone be wealthy today based on how we obtain information? With information comes power. More so today than ever, we can teach ourselves to be wealthy – the information is already at our fingertips.
9) We’re Having Kids Later in Life
Women are choosing to have kids later in life. Why? Two main reasons: freedom and money. Many women are electing to forgo motherhood until their 30s because it gives them the option to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and it allows them to climb the ladder of success in Corporate America. With this added corporate success, women (and their husbands) are gathering up more wealth than ever before. DINKS (dual income, no kids) should be wealthy today for the simple reason that their income is soaring and their responsibilities are few.
10) Low Inflation
Just over 30 years ago, our nation’s inflation rate soared over 10%. Today, the rate of inflation is much more manageable, which of course means that our money is worth more tomorrow than what it would have been had we lived during those years of high-inflation. Nearly everyone should be wealthy today because for the last 5+ years, inflation has averaged 3% or less. Our money is holding its value and is contributing to our ability to be wealthy.
So Why Are So Many People Broke?
If there are 10 solid factors that imply everyone should be wealthy today, why are so few of us actually wealthy? In my humble opinion…
Ignorance and greed.
The citizens of the United States are ignorant. While we have all the information we could ever want at our fingertips, we often use it to figure out senseless data that has absolutely no impact on our lives. Things like:
- what time does the sun set?
- who won the big game?
- who go kicked off of the popular talent show?
- what are the specials at the restaurant tonight?
While it’s fun to use our phones to answer our spontaneous questions, I believe that it often detracts from the time we should be thinking for ourselves about important matters. Instead of the trivial questions, we should be asking ourselves more questions like this:
- what is the purpose of this life?
- can I get through college without debt?
- is it possible to live life without payments?
- what do I really want to do with my life?
Instead of original thought, we all walk around in a coma and do what nearly everyone else does and then we expect to be more successful than all of them. It makes absolutely no sense, but somehow at the time, it makes all the sense in the world.
Finally, people are broke because we all have that desire to have stuff. We buy jewelry, purses, cars, trucks, RVs, houses, cottages, and even yachts. This greed for stuff puts us into debt and often keeps us there. If people were content with a simple home and a simple car, they could be far more wealthy today.
Nearly everyone should be wealthy today. Are you?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.