I’m not sure I’m convinced by all the naysayers and skeptics out there who point to a declining America. The world, as I see it, indicates an America emerging stronger, on relative terms, than ever before in history. Perhaps never before in peaceful history has it been better to be an American, rather than a resident of the other countries on this planet.
European, Asian, Middle Eastern, South and Central American, African, and Middle Eastern markets are all spiraling downwards as poor decisions of the past few decades finally weaken the bones of their economies. Conflict plagues the Middle East and parts of Europe and Africa. And hostile nations like Russia, Iran, and North Korea loom over the horizon as potential threats.
But, in spite of all this world turmoil, America is great.
The dollar is strong. We’ve only seen a minor blip in economic and stock market growth here in America in the past five years, as once lavishly-spending oil companies cut back and as we begin to get realistic about the once almighty tech industry. Compared to contemporary nations, America is perhaps as great as it has been since the end of the Cold War or World War II.
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The Good Times Are Now — And They Won’t Last Forever
Now, if I believe all of this (which I do), what could possibly be so terrifying about our current situation?
In spite of the fact that things have gone wonderfully well in American for many, many years in a row, and in spite of the fact that America is the wealthiest nation on the planet, with opportunity for everyone, millions of Americans (and the Feds) are STILL struggling to get their act together financially!
Related: A Whopping 62% of Americans Have Less than $1,000 in Savings. Really?!
This isn’t a political article, so I won’t talk more about the government. The point is this: If you are a working adult in America today, NOW is the time when things should be going well for you. If things are going poorly, it’s not because of the economy, Europe, China, the tech industry, the greedy one percent or even (probably) Obama.
We’ve had a heck of a party in America over the past few years, and you’ve been missing out. When the party ends, I’m afraid of the hangover facing those who arrive too late. Now, I’m hoping that things continue to go well, and I bet they do for another year or two. But after that, it’s anyone’s guess on a macro scale.
You know how they say “Let the good times roll”? They’re talking about TODAY. The good times ARE rolling. Some folks can’t see that (or just can’t stand my starry-eyed Millennial optimism) and refuse to refer to the past five years as “the good times” for America. In that case, then perhaps they will at least agree with me that times probably aren’t going to get much better than today in the near future. Can I at least convince everyone of that?
Prepare NOW — And Thank Yourself Later
Whether or not you agree with me that now is a great time to be an American, I think that we can all agree that there is a very real possibility that our economic situation could, in fact, worsen relative to how things are today.
If things aren’t going well for you today, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself what’s going on. Is it really something outside your control? Or are you making some bad decisions that have resulted in your current predicament? It doesn’t really matter what your conclusion is because the terrifying, terrible reality of the situation is that if you can’t get by today, then you are likely TOTALLY unprepared for even slightly-less-than-optimal times that might be just around the corner.
If you can’t save your pennies today, what large, macroeconomic conditions could possibly change to make that a possibility for you? I don’t think there are any!
Interest rates are low, the stock market has been booming for years, real estate has made it’s comeback and then some, there are jobs aplenty, and inflation has been almost nonexistent for the past five years. What economic condition are you going to improve to create a situation in which you can begin building wealth?
Literally every box I can think of for creating economic opportunity for the average American is checked, right now. And that’s what makes me so scared for those of you who have been unable to accumulate any wealth thus far. If you can’t do it today, you might never be able to.
What happens if interest rates begin to rise, and wages and job growth suffer? YOU are going to be left out to dry. What happens if your employer folds?
All of these things are unlikely to happen tomorrow, but may be quite likely in the next five years. When the good times end and the next wave of economic problems comes, you have two choices, made TODAY:
- Be prepared
- Be unprepared
Up to you. I know my choice.
Related: How to Get Out of Debt: 5 Steps Toward Healthier Money Habits
It’s precisely because economic conditions are so favorable right now that today is the time to start voraciously attacking your financial situation and making sure that you can withstand a serious beating.
If you have been unable to build wealth in recent history (and you are an adult over the age of 23 years old), then you should be scared. It’s time to throw out your excuses and focus in on yourself. The outside world is not going to be more forgiving than it is today. It’s time to buckle down and get serious about protecting yourself, your family, and your legacy financially.
Save your pennies, set up emergency funds, get insured, and start investing in stable assets that you understand and feel comfortable with. Today’s the day.
Don’t wait until the party’s over.
*Note: By the way, wealth building applies to people on all rungs of the financial ladder. Some people should be buying investments; others should be climbing out of debt like student loans. The point is that everyone across the spectrum should be prospering and thriving financially, relative to their financial backgrounds. If this is you, then good job! Keep up the good work!
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Now it’s your turn to weigh in: Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?
Be sure to leave your comments below!