The American Game Plan

Sometime in everyone's life, usually after a couple years out of the nest and into a career, you find yourself talking on the phone with one of your parents about the subject of life. I have uniquely coined this as, The Life Talk. The life talk usually starts out as a simple surface conversation. Happy small talk fills the air, but beneath the crust of current events lies a contained frustration. This frustration is in direct correlation with multiple complexes such as:

  • Bill Callers Bug
  • Depression disease
  • slave syndrome
  • vicarious virus
  • future fever
  • clutter cancer

When we we're young we we're given the basic spiel of life by parents and teachers alike. They would tell me, "Kevin, go to school. Get good grades. Get a high paying job with great benefits." We could also tack on buying a house with a white pigged fence around it. Why do we do this? Maybe because it's what our parents did. I have to ask then, did it work for them? If it did, can it work today? This all goes back to the idea of an American Dream. Let's put this "Dream" to the test and see how it's doing.

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  • School/College -"On average, tuition tends to increase about 8% per year. An 8% college inflation rate means that the cost of college doubles every nine years. For a baby born today, this means that college costs will be more than three times current rates when the child matriculates in college." I understand the argument of getting loans and grants to pay off student debt, but according to Credit.org the national average for student loan debt is $35,200. 92% of students say they plan to pay back the loan via their full time jobs. Over time the interest will accrue and yet most employees pay won't keep up with the rate of inflation.
  • Jobs/Career -"Only 13% of grads from the class of 2013 reported that they had found a full-time job in the field of their choice." That means that 87% found jobs that they we're not happy with or we're over qualified for, not utilizing the degree they paid thousands for.
  • Renting I won't even mention a house. Even though I think ownership in something is great, getting a mortgage isn't my idea of ownership, so I'll stick with renting. After student loans and car loans and any other kind of debt I doubt buying a house is next on your list. Renting is still a frustrating venture. The average one bedroom apartment rental fee varies in different cities and states, but from my search it's between $600 and $800 a month on the low end. Assuming you got a great deal at $600, after 4 years (based on the average stay of a tenant) you spend $28,800 and have zero ownership over anything.
  • Retirement - "The 1983 Social Security Amendments included a provision for raising the full retirement age beginning with people born in 1938 or later. The Congress cited improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy as primary reasons for increasing the normal retirement age." This translates to me that in order to not give more retirement money they raised the age of retirement in hopes that more beneficiaries will die before they qualify. The term "full retirement age" is talking about the age of 67. You can still receive benefits at 62 but they take off 30% of the benefits for retiring too early. Before long by the time the youth retire, the retirement age will be through the roof and no one will be able to collect.

To bring this around full circle let's examine our own personal game plans for life. Is it as described above? Perhaps you've woken up from the "Dream" and see that life takes more than just following outdated advice to succeed. I offer only the alarm to wake up and think, and perhaps some may resist the urge to press snooze and go back to sleep.

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Posted in Financial Services Post Date 06/10/2021


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