America’s Middle Class is in Bad Financial Shape: Here’s How Real Estate Can Help

America’s Middle Class is in Bad Financial Shape: Here’s How Real Estate Can Help

3 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Experience
Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Education
Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

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The middle class in America is in bad financial shape. Without a great plan and the right financial tools, most are going to never enjoy the lifestyle they dream of or be able to provide their kids with the life and opportunities they hoped to.

Think about this. Much of America is fighting back against the idea of a $15 per hour minimum wage. Yet even at double that $30,000 a year income, most families will be hard pressed to afford an average apartment in many U.S. cities. Even some earning $250,000 a year are finding they can barely make ends meet between mortgage, healthcare, and taxes.

The above just covers the tip of the iceberg in trying to survive. What about retirement? The latest figures show that not even many of the top 10% savers and investors have enough in IRAs or 401Ks to retire well or with confidence. The bottom half really have no savings at all. In fact, fellow BiggerPockets contributor Scott Trench states that 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings!

Expenses

Is it Possible to Break Out of the Rat Race?

This isn’t really a rant about becoming “rich” or a part of the uber-wealthy 1%. Being content with whatever you have is good. But the middle class is disappearing, and we are facing a 1% and 99% situation. The 99% are quickly finding they are being squeezed like the Matrix.

Related: 7 Core Tenets of Investing Successful Wealth-Builders Know to Be True

Those at the top enjoy being able to live and explore the world, to try new things and create change in things they are passionate about, and to empower their kids to their full potential. Those are things worth fighting for in order to get ahead.

So how do you break out of the rat race and change these dynamics?

It’s hard. Consider that just to pay all of your taxes, you will probably work at least five months this year. The remaining months’ income can cover your bills. And if there is anything left over, you might get a few venti sized Frappuccinos or the great privilege to buy some of the overpriced products being advertised on TV.

You can work hard. You can work three jobs, put in 100 hours a week, or even try to start your own business. More often than not, the cards are so stacked against you that you won’t gain any real and lasting traction.

Stop Spinning Your Wheels — And Start Investing

The real key to changing this dynamic is to stop trying to work your way out of the hole. You must be able to generate income and wealth without it being tied to the amount you can physically work. At the same time, you also need to change the dynamics of the amount you are taxed in relation to how much you earn. That means working to acquire assets that will work for you, instead of you working for money. This is (and should be) urgent for everyone. You never know how long you’ll be able to keep on working.

tax-savings

Related: Americans: If You Can’t Build Wealth Today, You Should Be Scared. Here’s Why.

There are very few options that can accomplish these objectives like real estate can. Real estate investing offers lots of extra tax breaks, can produce income while you sleep, and typically rises in value with inflation so that your nest egg isn’t depleted over time.

Look around, do the math on your options, and you’ll likely find real estate investing is one of your select few options for getting ahead. This can require learning new things, taking new actions, and stepping out of your comfort zone. But isn’t it worth it for the ability to spend quality time with those you love, to get to really live, and to give your kids the best chance possible?

How do you think the average American can improve their financial position? Are you using real estate to escape the rat race?

Let me know your thoughts with a comment.

Much of the United States' middle class struggles to pay bills and fund retirement. Here's why real estate just may be the solution to many financial woes.