Thursday, October 11, 2012

College: The Biggest Scam In American History

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WE'VE ALL BEEN SCAMMED! Everyone, check your wallets! Check your bank accounts! What happened to all our money!? Looks like we just got taken for a ride. So what happened? Oh, you went to college? Chances are you, or your parents owe a substantial amount of money.

Just some statistics for you:
In the first quarter of 2012, it is reported that 20 million people go to college a year. Of those 20 million, 12 million (60%) borrow money to go to school. Currently, the average amount of money owed per borrower is roughly $24,000. The average starting salary for a college graduate is ~$42,000 a year. This is if they are lucky enough to find a job in their career field. A high school diploma will earn you roughly $33,000 a year. High school dropouts average just $21,000 a year.

We've all been told we need to go to college our entire lives. What if right now going to college isn't your best option? The economy is horrible, and digging yourself into a hole of debt at the beginning stages of your life may not be the best route. Tuition costs have steadily risen over the last 20 years. Why? Because college know they can charge it! So why do kids go to college?

Here's a few reasons:

  1. They want to get away from home and party
  2. They've been promised that if they work hard that they'll get a good job
  3. It's a good way to put off getting a full time job
  4. They're friends are going
  5. They've been preparing for it their whole lives
Trust me, a good job can be promised to no one these days. So really here is the cycle in which we enter when we go to college.

Go to College ====> Get into Debt ====>  Look for Job ====> Pay off Debt

Now you are stuck. Whether you like the job you find or not, you now NEED it. In order to pay off those loans you NEED the job. The system has you. They have produced a worker.

There are other options outside of college. People tend to look down on them and I used to be one of them. I think that if someone didn't go to college, we assume they just aren't smart enough. I don't find this to be the case now. There are a couple of things you can do instead of college that may be better off for you in the long run.

  • Trade School
 It's shorter schooling and usually involves a lot of OJT. They will even place you in a job if you are qualified. Gets you into a career faster and earning some decent money. Demand is always high for jobs like electricians and plumbers.

  • Join the Military
Isn't that for poor and stupid people? Not anymore it's not. The military is becoming a better and better option as the economy declines. Not only is it a paying job, but it also gives you job experience and the benefits are great. The GI Bill will even pay for your college after just three years of service. 

  • Move Abroad
Not only will this broaden your horizons, but you will find that it is cheaper to live in other, developed countries. There are a lot of things to consider, but teaching English is always an option to make money in other countries. 

Don't fall into the trap that has been set for you. If you can't get scholarships to pay for your schooling, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

It's hard to win a game that's rigged. Hard to earn in a market that is cornered.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

That's News To Me

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In light of the presidential debate last night, I found myself compelled to watch the news this morning. I turned it on and flipped through a few of the news stations. I tend to keep an opened mind when it comes to the news. You never can truly trust whether you are getting the full story, or if they are spoon feeding you what they want you to see.

Several news broadcasts claimed Obama had won the debate last night, others claimed Romney. Some said they both had done damage to themselves. I'm not here to endorse either candidate (Because I don't) nor am I here to break down the debate. I'm simply commenting on how the media works in this country.

Perhaps you watched the debate last night, perhaps not. If you tune to your local news channel you will find them undoubtedly talking about it. My advice, if you are interested, turn off the news and watch the debate yourself. Allow yourself to formulate your own opinions. Whether you know it or not, the media is influencing your opinion on the subject.

Back in the 1950's the Asch Conformity Experiments were conducted. For a full breakdown of the experiment you can go HERE. Basically the experiment found that a person will make an incorrect decision even when he/she knows it is wrong, when others are around influencing it. Seventy-Five percent of participants gave one or more incorrect answers when influenced by the group. Denying even your most basic instincts, you, for whatever reason, have a high chance to change an answer you would give just to fit in..

So how does this tie into the media? If the media is telling you that 84% of Americans feel a certain way, or 70% of people are currently performing an action, in general you will start to gravitate towards it. Whether it be conscious or subconscious.

Don't let the media tell you how to think or what to do. Formulate your own opinions on things.    

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

America, The Poorest Country On Earth

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Weird title huh? It's not how we usually envision The United States. With our constant obsession with taking out loans and our country as a whole living off credit, it is not a hard concept to grasp.  

As of this writing, the United States Outstanding Public Debt is current just over $16.16 trillion dollars. Given this number, it is estimated that every person in the United States, children and seniors included, is in debt ~$51,000. That number applies to every single US citizen. Now, I hate to say it this way, but this is not the case in third world countries or countries that we consider ourselves "better" than. We may have a high quality of life, but we haven't even fully paid for it yet.

Keep in mind, there is no single country that owes as much money as we do. We have only been an official country since 1776 and yet somehow have amassed a debt that is greater than any of us can imagine. We need to start living within our means rather than constantly trying to pretend we are something that we are not. There is no reason for it.

Imagine a world in which you do not take out auto loans, mortgages, student loans or any other type of loan that requires you to pay a substantial amount of interest. Everything you bought would be actually yours. You wouldn't owe money to the bank or to a private institution. No stress about a credit score. Credit cards would be a thing of the past.

This, unfortunately, would force Americans to do the one thing they hate the most. They would have to.... DUN DUN DUN..... WAIT to buy things! The money would have to be earned before they could buy whatever it was they wanted. Scary thought.

Maybe one day things will change. Something drastic would have to happen due to the fact that we are pretty set in our ways. Not to mention, creditors could stand to lose a substantial amount of money, and I don't think they are willing to go away without a fight. 


Friday, September 28, 2012

You Are A Number

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So here's my preachy post. Typically I post things in a different manner in order to allow people to think on their own. Sometimes we need to be slapped in the face though. Short, sweet and to the point.

You think the wealthy are upset over the unemployment issue we are having as Americans? Of course they aren't! That just means there are more Americans willing to work  jobs that they don't want just to support themselves or their families. The military is so full right now, they are literally finding reasons to kick people out. They are sitting up in Congress right now literally laughing at all of us. Raising their own salaries and taking advantage of their full retirements after only ONE term.

The powerful people in this country want ignorant citizens. People that will be the drones, the backbone, the workers of this country. They don't want you to question anything they do. All they care about is production. Forget your creativity, forget your goals and dreams, they want production. You are a number. A person used for the good of the powerful and wealthy. The only time they want you to have an idea is if it benefits them in some way. The fastest way to get someone's attention now-a-days is to show them a way to make money. Either that, or show them a way for them to gain some sort of power. This country is nothing more than people looking out for numero uno. Number 1. Themselves.

It's really too bad it has come to this. Capitalism is, in theory, a wonderful thing. Capitalism is what drives us to be great. It inspires competition and makes you want to work harder. However, introduce a lazy society into Capitalism and now you see what has happened. Instead of helping one another we profit off of the losses of them. We like seeing others fail, because that means we are doing that much better. It's sad really. A society of workers that root only for themselves. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ready, Set, PREPARE!

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So my one of my previous posts, located HERE, focused mainly on how time is essentially sold to the highest bidder, aka your employer. Sticking with the same theme, let's take a look at the common cycle that we, as humans, go through within our lives.

  • Preschool prepares you for Kindergarten
  • Kindergarten prepares you for Grade School
  • Grade School prepares you for Middle School
  • Middle School prepares you for High School
  • High School prepares you for College
  • College prepares you for your "Real World Job"
  • The Real World Job prepares you for Retirement
  • Retirement... well... I think you're seeing the pattern

In our lives, we are constantly being told that we have to prepare for the next step. People are running their lives based on the belief that their actions will benefit them later down the road. As all of us know, things do not always turn out how we plan them. All of this preparation, while serving as a means to help us grow, is also hindering us beyond measure.

Now, stay with me here, we're going to take this a step further. Let's take into account the fact that not everyone makes it to retirement. It's kind of a dark subject, but death is real and needs to be factored in. If we are constantly preparing for the next thing, we may not be living our lives to the fullest. For those of us that DO die before we reach retirement, that means we wasted what little time we had here preparing for something that never even happened. Imagine saving money for something. Lets call it Item A. You are so obsessed with saving for Item A, that you completely ignore everything else you could be buying. Now imagine being close to having enough for Item A, and suddenly they stop selling it. (I guess you'll have to factor in a life without ebay as well haha) But what a waste huh? You could have been enjoying things all that time you were saving for Item A.

I guess what I'm really trying to get at here is that sometimes we need to stop ourselves and enjoy what we are doing at the moment. Don't like what you are doing at the moment, change it! If you knew the exact day you were going to die, would you act differently? Instead of a constant preparation would you spend more time doing what makes you happy? Well, I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but you are going to die one day. We all are, sooner or later.

Act accordingly...     

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And The Next Scapegoat Is...

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It happens once every four years... No, I'm not talking about the Olympics. It's election time. Rather than sit here and try to break down each of the candidates and try to figure out which one is more qualified, I'm going to look at the entire political process in general.

The United States has two major political parties: Democrat and Republican. Both of these parties have different views on how things should work, as well as differing opinions on controversial topics. When George W. Bush was in office, people were in an uproar, blaming him and the Republican party for the declining economy. Finally, after 8 years, a new President was chosen. One that was a Democrat. Now, 4 years later, everyone is blaming Obama and the Democratic party because the economy has not gotten any better. It seems to me that the problem is not a particular party or the President. They are simply a front to take the blame for the failing of the entire political system.

I get criticized for my decision not to vote. There is constantly someone saying "People in other countries DREAM of being able to vote." That may be so, but perhaps they are just uneducated when it comes to the process. The rich members of this country are not told what to do by the poor, simple as that. There may be an ILLUSION of power provided BY the rich citizens to keep the masses happy, however in reality it is simply not the case. The rich only care about one thing, themselves. I refuse to play a part in their appeasement ritual called voting. Not only do I believe that my vote truly means nothing, but I believe that there is no difference between candidates. Power corrupts, as does money, and as President you obtain both of those things.

This political process is not working. The government wants you to blame a political party instead of questioning the situation as a whole. If a Democrat is in office, all of your problems are because of the left-winged donkey. If a Republican is in office, you can blame the right-winged elephant in the room, or oval office, whichever it may be.  

Sorry, but I won't be voting on the next scapegoat. I won't be choosing who society decides to blame for their newest problems.

Some people wonder what they would do if they had the power to make one law. One chance to change the way something works. For me, I already know what I would do. I would pass a law that prohibits Congress from exempting themselves from anything. Does that seem fair to anyone else? I don't see how they get away with it now. They are elected to look out for our best interests, but it would seem they are looking out for their interests a little bit more. Here's the process:

  1. Congress/President Proposes Bill
  2. Back and Forth Bickering 
  3. More Bickering
  4. Congress Changes Bill To Exempt Themselves
  5. Bill Finally Passed

"All Men Are Created Equal"

...Interesting, I don't think Congress got that memo.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Your Nine To Five Job... For What It's Worth

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Employment. Now there's a concept for you. We're hearing about it more and more now that election time is approaching. The declining job market, the outsourcing of companies, the lack of funds to support our countries employment. Those are typically what are discussed when the topic comes up. Ever wonder if these jobs are worth it? Whether they are absolutely necessary? We all have different reasons to hold down a job. Some have families they need to support, others are simply saving for something. Have you ever taken a second to put exactly what you are sacrificing in perspective?

The average national household income is a constantly changing figure, therefore I am going to use a rough number for this example. Let's assume the average national household income is $45,000 a year after taxes are deducted (Unfortunately this is an optimistic number to a lot of people). This breaks down to $3,750 a month, $1,875 every two weeks, and given a typical 40 hour work week, roughly $23.50 an hour. Let's remember that number....  $23.50

The average life expectancy for a US citizen is roughly 79 years. (Another figure that is constantly changing) In today's society, you spend the first 21 years of your life preparing yourself for your job. This includes all schooling up to college and then 4 years at a university. I'm not even going to factor in how much time this is. Let's assume you have a job from the time you are 21 years old until you are 65. Assuming a strict 40 hour work week, (Absolutely no overtime or having tasks outside of the workday) you can expect to work roughly 91,520 hours in your life. Now let's recall the national average. Remember? $23.50 an hour. That means starting out, you'll probably make less, and towards the end, you'll be making more. Let's assume this average holds true. IF you were to somehow save every single penny you had made over the course of 44 years, you would have a grand total of $2,150,720. Not as much as you thought, huh?

What are you doing with this money? Are you using it strictly for what you NEED? If you are reading this blog then I would assume not. Trust me, I'm not judging, I do the same thing. I've only just started to realize what a waste a lot of this is. Fortunately, now that we've discovered this, we can change the way we live if we would like. Stop spending money on stupid things. My previous post which can be viewed HERE talked about want vs. need. It is interesting how those can be confused.

I will say this, I can imagine once you start getting older, you start to realize that time is an extremely valuable commodity. Time is not something that can be bought. Unfortunately, we can SELL time and we do it every day. Every time you work a job that you are unhappy with, you are essentially selling part of your life. Once you are older, you are left with an excess amount of money and possessions. All of those things, that were bought with money that you earned, are actually time that you sold. It's odd to think about, but I can imagine when you are close to death that you would be more than happy to pay $23.50 for an extra hour... So why is it that we are so quick to sell that hour earlier in life for that same $23.50?

Have thoughts on the subject? Join the discussion!