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The United States of America is built on one main principle: one’s inherited socio-economic status is nothing more than a circumstance of the past to be rectified by their true destiny. The US used this simple ideology to propel itself as one of the five great power nations of the world socially, economically and politically. This principle attracted countless immigrants who fled their countries of origin to escape a predetermined fate.
It may be incomprehensible to those born in America’s idealistic regime, but on other continents, such as Asia or Africa, it is quite common for one’s future to be relegated to that of their ancestors. This is not a coincidence, but a product of extreme centralization and the elite pushing selfish agendas. As a testament to this activity worldwide, author Vasuki Shastry eloquently demonstrates:
“Asia’s billionaire class is a toxic addition to this mix. There is strong evidence in developing Asia that the political and business class often collude at the expense of the common good, exacerbating already rising inequality and low social mobility, such as India’s procurement of major infrastructure projects. projects to favored business groups.”
Centuries of strategic American propaganda have done an incredible job luring immigrants with the promise of a lucrative life built on the foundations of hope and opportunity. I argue that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the vast majority to realize the American dream of Thomas Jefferson, underpinned by a person’s right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
Related: Is the American Dream Dead?
“The rent is too damn high!”
It’s no secret that the cost of living in America has been exorbitant for some time now, and the rate at which it has risen is historic. In 2021 we saw YoJ inflation jumped from 1.4% in 2020 to a blistering 7% – the strongest increase in YoY inflation since 1950, when we saw a delta of 8%. A year later, annual inflation in 2022 remained strong at 6.5%, pointing to a slight improvement. simultaneously, House prices increased by a record 16.9% in 2021.
To put things in perspective on a micro level, the price of Eggs increased by as much as 60% by 2022. Given the rising cost of basic necessities, a reflected increase in wages would be expected. However, there is little evidence of imminent significant increases, as wage growth has remained relatively stable at between 5 and 5.5% since early 2021.
Related: The Cheapest States to Live in by 2023
“Put it on my map”
Now more than ever, to make ends meet, Americans are choosing to shift their spending to credit cards and other lines of credit. American households currently have $11.67 trillion in debt — a 25% increase from the $9.31 trillion they had before COVID-19. While inflation certainly contributes to the rapid rise in this number, inflation in itself is not the most concerning metric when analyzing the financial health of the average American.
Younger generations, especially millennials, are having a hard time buying a home despite taking on this debt. In fact, the average age for homebuyers in America today is about 47 years old, eight years older than the median age prior to the financial crisis. To add salt to this wound, the average American currently only has $5,300 in savings, confirming that this picture is likely to worsen before it gets better.
Related: Is The American Dream Achievable?
The secret behind creating real wealth
We are in a transitional period, teetering on the edge of a new digital economy. With this, we have witnessed fast, lucrative returns when trading stocks or cryptocurrencies, compared to returns on real estate ownership. This makes it more effective to pursue 10 to 100x returns on capital markets rather than buying your first home, and while this may seem intuitive at first glance, it only applies to a certain demographic.
Say you’re a Wall Streeter or a software engineer at a leading technology company in a big city like New York or San Francisco. Since the entry point to the housing market is significantly higher than that of a person living in Des Moines, the capital required to have some skin in the game is a barrier to entry in itself. Sure, you can buy property in another city, but the cost, both financial and operational, of having property that doesn’t belong to you combined with your own expenses is a tall order. You may have to sacrifice a few thousand dollars in rent by not owning real estate, but your net income in this scenario is best spent building a diversified portfolio of non-real estate assets.
In an alternative scenario, where someone has a modest job—earning an honest income like the vast majority of Americans—and lives in an affordable city, someone’s dollars would be best spent investing in the real estate they live in, since their starting point probably is accessible. Buying a home is the only investment you can easily make with leverage of over 90%, meaning your investment costs are subsidized upfront. Conversely, buying stocks requires you to be 100% up front at the time of investing. In addition, the two-way volatility of the stock market is much more difficult to track compared to the housing market, which has generally moved upwards more consistently over the past few decades. You can certainly buy stocks, but because of the availability of leverage, assuming you have access to credit, real estate can likely provide a higher return on a small investment.
In today’s society, the difficulty of achieving the American dream has skyrocketed. This perfect life is visually synonymous with happily married couples with two kids, a nice house and a white picket fence. However, the reality of this is very different. The latest figures suggest that people are no longer marrying, buying homes or having children as often as in previous generations. Wealth inequality is at an all-time high and divisions continue to grow. The American dream is dead.
Why they want you to believe the dream
While the vast majority of Americans feel the pain of the Federal Reserve’s tight monetary policy, the country’s elite do not. Elon Musk lost more than $200 billion in net worth to start this year, but he is still one of the richest people ever. After a certain point, more money no longer changes your quality of life.
In capitalist regimes, the rich stay rich because a willing middle class submits to their ideals. The rich own the credit card companies that the poor borrow from. The wealthy own the banks that pay out fractions of a percent of the proceeds and make huge profits through capital market activities. The wealthy are also friends and lobbyists of the legislators who decide the fate of the majority in this country. The American dream is not designed to make you rich; it is a story spun by a coterie made up of the country’s elite. It’s a strategic and intricate device made to keep you where you are. It is a model of a donkey and a carrot, built to serve the system. While you are too busy chasing financial freedom through hard work and dedication, the American dream adds more weight to your saddlebags.