The Paradox of Economic Enterprise
When we were kids we often hear our parents talk about making ends meet, and how hard it was to work to make money. We almost always heard them say that money is scarce and they don’t grow on trees. “We need to work, for by the sweat of our brows will we be able to eat.” These words were like a mantra drilled into our consciousness and had a great influence in our thinking and our way of doing things.
While all this talk and parental instructions provided us with valuable life-lessons, they also instilled in us the idea of thrift to the point of stinginess. The words “money is scarce” pops into our heads every time we think of doing something that involves spending money outside of our basic necessities.
Security was the order of the day and was regarded as the be-all and end-all of our productive work-life. The operative formula for success was, get a degree, get a job, work hard and get paid. The diploma was like the Holy Grail of our educational endeavors; the testament to our hard classroom labors.
The walls of our homes were festooned with framed certificates showing mute testimony of how successful we had been as students in school. It was a source of pride for our parents to have these things openly shown that others may see how accomplished their children were.
But then, guys like Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs came along and made billions, and they were school drop outs! Then, we begin to wonder and to ask ourselves what’s going on? Is education really an important factor in personal success? Does hard work really equate to financial freedom? We begin to have doubts about the path we have taken, especially when after retirement we are still struggling to make ends meet.
Then, a millionaire by the name of Robert Kiyosaki (Author: Rich Dad Cash Flow Quadrant) came on the scene and began saying that people like us who worked hard in order to live decent lives, got our mind-set all wrong. He claims that education actually restricted our thinking and bound our minds to the idea that earning a degree and being educated are the surest way to financial freedom. This, he said, was the wrong way to look at success.
If he is right, then the lessons we learned from our parents may have provided us with a negative programming that conditioned our minds to the fear of getting out of our comfort zones; the security of our jobs. That we were stuck within the comfortable and secure embrace of our employment because outside of it we would be financially lost. And this, in many respects, may be true because working on a job is all we know and care about.
And now, in our retirement we still find ourselves as we had been before – struggling to make ends meet, almost always short of funds because our retirement benefits are not enough. So, many of us in the twilight of our years find ourselves employed even more when we should really be retired.
It would appear now, that Mr. Kiyosaki is correct in what he says. But, wait! If we follow his thinking and millions of people who are now working on jobs would experience that mind-shift, quit and then put all their energies, and resources into becoming millionaires, even if they succeeded, what would happen? Hospitals would probably shut down because there would be no more nurses to take care of sick people. How about restaurants? How about manufacturing? And, what if farmers downsize so they would have time to work to become millionaires, or simply quit farming altogether? What would we eat? Grow food in our backyard?
While it would be fantastic if all the people in the world were millionaires, it would be fantastically worse if the global economy were to collapse because the productive work force, and the middle class taxpayers had all gone off and become millionaires. All this talk of mind-shift and becoming millionaires looks like Utopian thinking. Or worse, pipe dreams.
So here we have two opposing views, the mind-set of a millionaire and how he looks at the world, and that of a working man. From where he stands Mr. Kiyosaki favors the millionaire mind-set and world view and is a bit dismissive about the world view and mind-set of the working man. He was obviously still smarting at the financial misfortune that befell his father, a retired educator, when he wrote his book
For whatever it’s worth Mr. Kiyosaki may probably be right about all the other lessons he wrote about in his book. But still, productive work ethic was what built industrial America. Probably the rest of the world. Baby boomers, like you and I, contributed a lot to that reality. If the Information Age has a new formula for success then let it as it should, but it is wrong to think that education, work and productivity have no place in the New Age.
So, the world will always have its haves and have-nots. So what? It’s a reality we can’t escape. And, it is not defeatist thinking either. It is just being realistic. So, after all is said and done we should come to a resolution of the dilemma. It doesn’t matter who is wrong or right. What matters is that everything that happened has happened and there’s no going back to undo what we did. Everything in this world have their proper places. It’s the duty of every one of us to create some sort of balance so that life as we know it would remain stable.
What would happen to America, or any country for that matter if it does not have a strong middle class like you and I? Mr. Kiyosaki says he doesn’t pay taxes because he makes his money in assets, not income. Perfectly legal, he says. But, what would happen if all Americans make income from assets and don’t pay taxes?
Aye, there’s the rub. It’s nice to be a millionaire but, it appears it’s also bad to have a whole lot of them. Balance, is the operative word.
So, where does this lead us Baby Boomers?
If you’re asking that question, I have the answer for you. As I said, what we did with our life is in the past. What’s done cannot be undone. We’ve spent all of our productive life working to make the world what it is. We have done our part. We’ve had our share of the hard work. There will always be people like you and I. Without us the global economy would probably collapse. So, it is time to pass on the torch.
Now, is your time to work for yourselves, and gain the financial freedom that is your due. Your days of working hard are over. In your senior years you need to have leisure time for yourselves and your loved ones. No more 9 to 5. No more getting up early to drive to work. You’re done with that.
And, you should never look back with regret and say to yourselves you should have taken a different path. What you’ve done was necessary. It was important for the survival of humanity. The millionaire mind-set appears to be restricted in its vision of the world. It is focused on making wealth without appreciation of the global panorama of how the world functions outside of making wealth. It’s like being focused on one side of the coin and being ignorant of the obverse.
The world needed us, and the world needs people like you and I now. But, our time, yours and mine, in the productive world of work has come to its logical conclusion. It’s time to pass on the torch. We are retired. You are retired. The time to work for yourselves is here, and you don’t have much time left. You are now entering a new phase in life as a retired baby boomer. You can start your new life here. Join for free, and explore endless opportunities.
Your fellow baby boomer,