The most important reason the American Dream has become more dream and less reality is a lack of real value creation.
Most of the time, independent thought and first-person analysis are worth more than blind faith in any “expert” opinion, and that’s the case in every area of life. In our experience, the keys to success in any endeavor, whether we are talking about trading or quitting your job and untying your dock lines to sail across vast oceans—or whatever—it all boils down to this:
We aren’t satisfied risking X in hopes of making a fraction of X. Instead we want to risk X for the potential of receiving 2X or 5X or 10X. We want to leverage our assets to increase our reward disproportionately to the risks we are taking.
Every dollar and every cent can be used in one of two ways:
Wealthy people use a small percentage of their net worth to live on.
Living on less changes everything
My philosophy is that when life puts a fork in the road the riskier choice is most often the most rewarding. To reach where you want to be in life, it's highly unlikely that a series of simple risk-free choices will lead you where you want to go.
When you owe money to someone, whether a bank, corporation, or an individual, they own you and the rights to the fruits of your labor (your production) until that debt is repaid.
If you’re in that small minority who owns their house outright, doesn’t carry any debt and has cash in the bank—we know what you’re saying to yourself right now: I don’t owe anything to anyone, so I’m free. Sure you are. What about income tax? Sales tax? Property tax? You will still owe those, no matter what. If you choose not to pay the IRS for long enough, they’ll take that house and haul you off to jail.
There is also inflation to consider. The Federal Reserve puts more and more money into circulation every year, making your cash worth less and less all the time. That means that unless your assets appreciate faster than the rate of inflation, they are worth less and less all the time, too. So you can see that no matter what your net worth is and no matter how little debt you have, you are continually swimming upstream as debt, tax obligation, and inflation eat away at your assets.
The most important and pervasive reason the American Dream has become more dream and less reality is a fundamental lack of real value creation.
Live on the Margin
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”