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Monday, April 8, 2019

Is the next generation screwed or what?


Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

 


Wow – Is our nation and the next generation screwed or what?

There’s a generational breakdown occurring with increasing numbers of young people -- let’s define them as the under-30 crowd -- falling into despair, dismay and even outright demoralization over the state of the world.  Put bluntly, many of them see nothing to gain by preserving the status quo.

Conversely, the over 50 crowd has already paid into the system and desperately wants to preserve the status quo.  That’s where their retirement dreams exist.  With their finger now on the brass ring, it’s simply unthinkable to ponder that it could slip out of their grasp.

This demographic divide, between those with nothing to gain and those with everything to lose, grows wider every day.

The very worst of it all is that the system into which the young are born ask them to perpetuate that same system by getting good grades, going into college student debt, and then working extra hard as tax donkeys and debt slaves for the rest of their lives.

As the above Millennial pointed out, it’s working in those often pointless jobs, that is often responsible for destroying our planet. 

The promises of the generations before them ring hollow.  The pension shave all been raided and hollowed out.  Forced payments into Medicare and Social Security are never going to be returned in kind and are merely last-ditch payments to provide some measure of cover for the boomers relying on them.  Embarrassingly poor infrastructure and massive piles of debt and underfunded liabilities are the true economic bequeathments of the prior generations to the next.

For a disturbingly large number of olders (not elders) the answer is “Know about what?” because they are too deeply stuck in the current narrative to even notice the damage being done, let alone mount an intelligent, thoughtful response to it all.

 
The Big Divide
 
Around the middle of February each year, the US Treasury Department releases an annual report of the federal government’s financial condition.

It’s called the Financial Report of the US Government... and it looks a lot like an annual report that you might see filed by a big company like Apple or Facebook.

Except that, unlike Apple and Facebook, the US government’s annual report is absolutely gruesome.

This year’s report is no exception, save for one humorous anecdote: they -just- released it. In other words, they’re a month and a half LATE (given that the report is typically released in mid-February).

 If you want to see the report for yourself, you can download it here.

In Fiscal Year 2018, the government’s total net loss was $1.16 TRILLION.

Uncle Sam collected $3.4 trillion in tax revenue in FY18. But they spent over $4.5 trillion.

Of that $4.5 trillion spent, nearly HALF went to Social Security and Medicare. (They also spent a record $523 billion just on interest payments on the national debt!)

This is extraordinary given that the Social Security and Medicare trust funds are set to run out of money within the next 15 years.

In other words, despite spending almost HALF the federal budget on Social Security and Medicare, both programs are effectively insolvent.

As a matter of fact, on page 10 of the report, the government estimates Social Security’s long-term funding gap to be a mind-blowing $53.8 TRILLION (which is almost 10% worse than last year)

The federal government also tallies up its assets and liabilities, just like any individual or company would do.

If you have assets (like houses, cars, cash, investments) worth $1 million, and liabilities (credit card debt, mortgages) worth $300,000, your net worth is $700,000.

The government has assets as well: a total of $3.8 trillion. The single largest component of that-- $1.08 trillion-- is STUDENT DEBT.

In other words, the government’s #1 asset is the debt owed to it by young people across America. That’s pretty sad.

The next biggest asset is what accountants call “property, plant, and equipment”, or PP&E. That’s the sum total of all the land, government buildings, tanks, aircraft carriers, military bases, etc.

For Fiscal Year 2018, the government reported $581 billion in equipment (mostly military), and about $500 billion in real estate.

In total, the government’s $3.8 trillion in assets sounds like a lot.

Except that the government’s liabilities, i.e. the national debt, etc., totaled more than $25 trillion.

That makes the government’s net worth an unbelievable NEGATIVE $21.5 TRILLION.

And that’s a lot worse than the government’s negative net worth of -20.3 trillion in 2017, -19.3 trillion in 2016, -18.2 trillion in 2015, -17.7 trillion in 2014…

Notice the pattern?

If you add their own estimate of Social Security’s unfunded liability, Uncle Sam’s total net worth is NEGATIVE $75 TRILLION… which is almost precisely the size of the entire global economy.

WOW-ARE Screwed or What?  Compared to Our Parent’s Generation…

After the war [WWII], my grandfather took a job as a teacher. And on that single salary he was able to buy a house, provide for his family, afford a car, and have a secure pension for when he retired.

His wife (my grandmother) started a small hair salon in the family living room to earn money on the side.

They saved nearly every penny they ever earned. They never went into debt.

And they invested conservatively, often buying short-term government savings bonds that paid over 4% by the late 1950s-- well above the rate of inflation.

This wasn’t just my grandparents’ experience either. Back then, this was the fundamental promise of America: you were rewarded for working hard and saving money.

But now things are entirely different.

For starters, cost of living is totally out of control. My grandfather’s teaching salary was more than enough to support his family in a comfortable, middle class lifestyle.

Today that would be almost impossible.

More often than not, it takes two working parents to make ends meet in a typical household.

Census statistics show that just 25% of married households with children were dual income in 1950. Today it’s nearly 70%.

Plus, to even qualify for a lot of jobs today, you must have a university degree… which carries its own enormous costs.

Even after adjusting for inflation, a typical university education in the US costs over five times as much as it did in 1960, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A typical young person today emerges from university with student debt exceeding $40,000. And millions of young people have student debt exceeding $100,000.

Speaking of debt, my grandparents had none. And they had plenty of cash savings, as was typical of their generation.

But today’s median household (according to Federal Reserve data) has racked up consumer debt exceeding $30,000, with a bank balance of less than $5,000.

And that bank balance earns a pitiful interest rate of just 0.02%. So even for people who have savings, the interest they earn doesn’t keep up with inflation.

Housing costs are also out of control.

Home prices are near record highs, making it extremely difficult for young people to afford a down payment.

And rents have been steadily rising for years, far outpacing the rate of inflation (and lackluster wage increases).

Perhaps that’s why a survey from Zillow last year found that nearly 25% of 24-36 year olds were living with their parents. They simply can’t afford their own housing.

Coincidentally, a study from the University of Chicago last year showed that roughly 25% of people in their 20s reported having zero sex in the previous 12 months, almost the same amount as people living with Mom and Dad.

While this might sound comical, it matters: young people are putting off children as well.

In fact, the US fertility rate is now at its lowest level in DECADES, well below the amount necessary to maintain a stable population.

It’s simply too expensive to have kids.

When my grandparents started having children, the hospital bill was about $100.

Today it can easily be more than 100x that amount. And the cost of rearing a child today through the age of 18 can now exceed $200,000, not including university tuition.

Then there are retirement challenges as well.

Back in my grandparents’ era, it was common for workers to have well-funded private pensions.

Today private pensions are nearly extinct. And of the few that still exist, about 25% are insolvent.

Public pensions (as we discuss frequently) are in terrible condition, with a mutli-trillion dollar funding gap worldwide.

And then there’s Social Security, which is in such financial ruin that even the Social Security Administration admits the program’s trust funds will run out of money in 2034.

I also think back to how easily my grandmother was able to start her own hair salon. She bought a pair of scissors one day and started cutting hair in her living room. Simple.

Today you’d have to navigate a mountain of permits, licenses, bureaucracy, and legal liability, the cost of which is prohibitive for most people who dream about starting their own business.

Unsurprisingly, Census data show that the number of new startups in the US continues to decline.

This is a long way from the original Promise of America, where the average person could work hard, save money, and afford to retire.

Today, the system is no longer designed to provide any of that.

Wages and savings don’t keep pace with inflation. Debt has exploded. People are working harder and becoming less prosperous. And retirement is anything but secure.

These problems can’t be fixed in a voting booth. Or, by waiting for the Bolsheviks to engineer prosperity for all.  And, certainly not by following the status quo.

A better solution is to walk a different path altogether-- one of self-reliance and independence.

For example, you CAN secure your retirement. Not by relying on a broken pension, but by taking matters into your own hands with a more robust structure like a solo 401(k).

You can obtain a top quality university education by studying abroad at a fraction of the price.

You can start a new business in a tax-advantaged jurisdiction (like Puerto Rico, where you can pay just 4% tax on your profits).

It's gotten so bad, 73% of Americans now die with debt... with an average total of more than $60,000!

The LEFT Promises Free Stuff-Guess What, Much of it is Already Available FREE!

 


There are thousands of free resources out there that people can take advantage of to learn valuable skills.

For example, companies like Microsoft will teach you programming languages – for FREE – and then encourage you to apply for a job with them.

That’s an incredible opportunity to learn real-world, applicable skills that you can use to create an income for yourself.

In the same vein, Google recently announced a partnership with 120,000 libraries across the US to teach people how to code.

And 96% of Americans live near a library.

(That is not counting the thousands of other books you can learn from – for free – at the library.)

There are also websites (like edX.org) where you can take dozens of courses from places like MIT, Stanford, Harvard, etc., all for free.

Every time I hear someone whining about wanting free university education, I always ask them how many online courses they’ve taken. How many books have they read?

I typically receive nothing more than a confused look in return.

But that’s the nature of entitlements: people feel that they should have everything provided for them without having to lift a finger to help themselves.

This mentality is becoming an epidemic in the West.

 

Free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom!

 
Thanks to Simon Black for this input!

 



7 Trends That Are Radically Changing Your Retirement


Here are several ways in which your golden years probably will not resemble those of your parents.

In a quarter-century, the percentage of workers expecting to retire after the age of 65 more than tripled, from 11 percent in 1991 to 37 percent in 2016, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.


 

You’d be crazy to not take advantage of coupons, promotions and discounts to grow your stockpile. Okay, so I don’t always get twice the stuff for half the price like the crazy coupon ladies from the TV show, but most of the time I average 40% to 50% off my grocery bill. I aim to get at least a 45% discount each time I go to the store.

How do I do this? By making a shopping plan, sticking to it and using extreme couponing strategies each time I shop. If you’ve never couponed before, you may have to change your shopping habits to be successful. Most guys (and some gals) have trouble being “couponers”; they are just too proud to show up with a Ziploc bag full of coupons, watch the register and question the prices. If you are on a budget and want to stockpile enough survival supplies, you’ll just have to get over yourself. It’s either doing that now or elbowing hundreds of other looters when disaster strikes.

Here’s the breakdown of extreme couponing strategies for the uninitiated:

1.     Do not buy anything that is not on sale, unless you will die without it. If you do it right, you will eventually have enough stuff to not have to buy things if they aren’t on sale.

2.     Look through the flyers, circle items on sale and compare them to the coupons you may have. The best deals on brand name items are made possible when you combine sales and coupons.

3.     Most grocery stores and pharmacies offer loyalty cards. Get them, learn to use them and take advantage of the discounts, points and promotions. Frequently, sale prices are only valid for cardholders.

4.     Create an online account with every grocery store you frequent. Here’s the deal, you can now preload most manufacturer coupons onto your loyalty card and save a ton of time and a good amount of money on paper and ink. On top of that, many grocery stores offer “personalized deals”, rewarding you with deep discounts on your most frequently purchased items.

5.     Watch for mail circulars from your local stores. These usually have a few manufacturer coupons and a ton of store brand coupons that will allow you to get basic items at a fraction of the cost.

6.     Once you’ve made your shopping list, calculate the total cost and stick to it. If you tend to overspend, go to the store with enough cash to buy everything on your list – that’ll keep you in line.

7.     Don’t forget that you can run separate transactions if the coupon comes with a limit on the number of items you can buy at that price.

Remember, to survive you have to be not only tough, but also smart. Don’t misplace your pride – tough people look for bargains, too and those who find them probably end up being the most prepared ones. If you need more guidance on couponing, check out www.couponmom.com. This website not only teaches you how to coupon, it offers weekly deals line up for top stores around the country.

 

    


 

Studies have shown that medical emergencies are often an enormous burden on so many families.  With 78% of Americans already living paycheck to paycheck, a medical expense that’s large and unexpected could destroy a family’s financial stability.  In fact, about 2/3 of all bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical expenses. Often the cost is much more than families could ever hope to repay in a lifetime.
 
Because of the nature of these unexpected burdens, we’ve put together some steps that can be taken to survive the financial strain of an unforeseen medical emergency.

 
 READ MORE: 
How To Survive the Financial Cost of a Medical Emergency

 

 

EMP Disaster Survival


 One of the disasters that preppers fear the most is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Why? Because it would literally throw us back a couple hundred years by knocking out the power and rendering all electronics useless. That means no more cars, lighting, hospitals, internet, cell service, hot water… the list goes on and on.

It's been estimated that 90% of people would die after a year without power. To avoid being one of those people, you need to stockpile things that are EMP proof.

As you will soon see, there are many items that are fully invincible to an EMP. This list is presented in alphabetical order...

 

Donate Gift Cards to…

American Military Family [AmericanMilitaryFamily.Org] –this non-profit uses them to buy essentials for troops, veterans and their families who are experiencing tough times. Mail to: AMF-POB 238, Firestone, CO 80520

 

 

A Final Note…

Contributors and subscribers enable the Poor Man Survivor to post 150+ free essays annually. It is for this reason they are Heroes and Heroines of New Media. Without your financial support, the free content would disappear for the simple reason that I cannot keep body and soul together on my meager book sales & ecommerce alone.

 


Social Chaos Survival Guide: Savvy Precautions-Become Self-Reliant


 

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With thought and foresight, the envi was born. We have created a safe space heater that will last for many years and keep you and your family safe.

The Envi is also a healthy space heater that is great for those with asthma or respiratory problems.

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You Can’t Buy Life Insurance After You’re Dead-Prepare NOW for Emergencies. Resources-Solar Chargers back in stock-Grab one now as they go fast.  Our supply on eBay sold out in ten minutes!

*Available at our storefront – PLUS grab one of our popular emergency solar/wind-up/battery back-up power plants…

 


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A Smoking Frog Feature, Shallow Planet Production

 

2 comments:

Dave said...

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times...I think our collective challenge [other than Democratic fueled division] is the massive reduction in buying power of the dollar coupled with how damned expensive the cost of living has become in America [thank you FED]. Health care in particular is a nightmare for many, even with insurance...food cost is scary, the price of autos is more than a damn house used to be just a decade or so ago in many parts of the country and the homeless population continues to skyrocket in areas where inflated home prices are stratospheric, namely the west coast [Leftist] where illegals and elitists and Hollywood types are the only ones who still live in the 'land of milk & honey' as everyone else has moved one...

Bob said...

I'm with Dave in that Dems have fueled so much division, hatred-it's all I see spewing from celebs and athletes despite their wealth. Schools seem to instill helpless revisionist crap and socialist moronic nonsense and dependence on government [I grew up pre-welfare & free school lunch days & we survived just fine even wearing hand-me-down clothing-oh no!] The nannie-state has created its own nightmare of little zombies.