Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Think outside the box? I can't even FIND the box!
You're born, you go to school, you go on to a job doing _____, you get married, have kids, and you climb the career ladder, making more $$$ at every step. You have a house, 2 cars, a retirement plan for later on, and finally you hang it up and relax to a nice life bouncing grand-kids on your knee and traveling the country in your RV. Oh, and you'll never get sick. SWEET!
Except you forgot to figure in "reality".
Here's the more likely scenario: You're born (so far, so good)....then the wheels come off. Too often kids find themselves without two-parent influence. The cost of higher education means many kids/parents can't afford it, except with massive student loans that can take decades to pay off. Jobs seldom have the security of lifetime employment like they did 50 years ago. Changing technology means you'll constantly have to reinvent / retrain yourself and start over again, which likely means a pay cut. Which in turn means you'd better think twice before buying that big house with the 30 year mortgage. It's hard enough seeing 2 years into the future, much less 30.
More and more, new jobs are being created by small companies, as opposed to the big Fortune 500 companies, and small companies often can't afford all the perks such as family health care and retirement / 401K plans that were common not long ago. Statistically we're having smaller families since, for one thing, it costs so much to raise kids today....about $250K to raise one child to the age of 18 they say. Ouch! And if that big house is questionable, an RV is even more of a dream.
And the odds are great you WILL eventually get sick. I was healthy as a horse until my innards decided to rebel at age 64. (Maybe I should come back in my next life as a horse?) Luckily I had good health insurance. Many of us, however, find ourselves having to pay more for our health insurance than we do for our house payment. Will it soon be an either/or proposition? Copays and deductibles are up, yet the percentage insurance pays is often down.
Our personal "plans" are increasingly diverging from what life is actually dealing us. The trend lines are moving in opposite directions.
The status quo isn't working for us. Day after day, year after year, we're losing ground. This isn't meant as a doom and gloom post. It's just a wake up call. We CAN turn things around IF we put aside the idea that "we've always done it this way" is the only way.
We're at a crossroads. Are we going to stick with our "plan", or face reality and consider things that don't fit our stereotypical boxes?