Racing to get out of the rat race/ redefining the American Dream

Racing to get out of the rat race/ redefining the American Dream

Racing to get out of the rat race/ redefining the American Dream

Isn’t everyone’s goal to eventually have financial freedom? Well what is financial freedom? Many would say financial freedom is being debt free, if financial freedom is being debt free, then why is our nation in trillions of dollars of debt? Who and what is causing us to live beyond our means? Have you thought of what it would feel like to travel the world, move as you please and have every day be a new day of adventures? But how can you if society has it all planned out for you. Does this sound or feel familiar:

{Graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, get a good paying job, get nice cars, get a house, have kids, progress in your career, then retire and travel.}

Is that my plan? Outside of my call to save souls for Christ, is that the other preconceived path society has designed for me to follow.

Now don’t misunderstand me, there are people that have taken this path and it has worked out wonderful for them! They have got their degrees in areas that they currently practice and use on a day to day basis. But that’s not who I am talking to here. I am talking to the person who got the degree that they are not using, the person that doesn’t want to go to college at all, the person that wants more out of life than to work for 40 years and hopefully retire with enough energy, health and savings to live off of more than dog food and grass. I’m talking to the reader that deep down inside wants more to life than the suburban dream. Someone that isn’t afraid to live within, and even below, their means if that means they don’t have to get a second job and contend in the rat race just to keep up with the Jones.

Unfortunately, most people follow society’s pre-auctioned path. They go to college with no idea what they want to major in, in hopes of ‘finding’ themselves and picking a field before they graduate. Some pick majors solely for financial gains and status recognition with no real passion or desire to pursue that field. When it’s all set and done they end up with debt and, more than 75% of the time, a job that requires only a high school diploma/GED to obtain, but now only making a fraction of what a person without a degree would be making because they have student loans to pay back. And if they really are stuck on the treadmill, they will re-enter college to obtain a graduate degree with delusional thinking that it will open up more doors for them to obtain the job they were supposed to get with their undergrad degree, only to in the end wind up with more student loan debt and become over-qualified. What’s the definition of insanity again…oh yes…doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, that pretty much sums it up.

In this day and age commonsense and some good connections will get you far. Life is more about making right decisions. What you do in your youth will follow you to your adulthood and what you do in your adult hood will follow you into retirement. Each preceding decade is influential on the next. Knowing your self-defined identity early on is important to your success. Now, take heed that I said your identity and not your career because what we are passionate about can change as we age and develop in life. But if you don’t know your self-identity you will begin to wear someone else’s view of success. When you know who you are you will never compare your success to someone else’s.

But what about the person who is already tied to a mortgage and has already actively invested in the ‘American Dream’ before they realized they were to in to quit? They are subject to a 2-4 week time period, generously given by their employer of choice, to travel and create life experiences with their family. The other 48-50 weeks of the year they spend more time away from the people they love to work to afford more things to impress the people they don’t really care about. Small disclaimer, I was once chasing the typical American dream and then I woke up one morning and said, what’s next on the list, buy a house, work till’ old age, retire then travel? Ha! Why wait until I’m too old to enjoy traveling and don’t have the energy or health to actively be involved the way I would want too? Why wait until my kid(s) have left, why not enjoy these experiences with the people I love the most, since we don’t know how long they will be around realistically?

Life is built on experiences! Being debt free and creating great moments while on amazing adventures is financial freedom for me. Being debt free, traveling with my family, creating experiences and simplifying life to living below my means, that is escaping the rat race for me. The rat race is full of pressure to consume debt and discourages purchasing items with cash. The idea that when we make money we need to find a place to put it, that we are not worthy to just save it is a detrimental consumerism mindset that will leave you paying off debts for the rest of your life. I don’t want to be tied down to a 15 or 30 year mortgage, as we have seen, mortgages are a bad investment overall. Even with the slight chance of appreciation (not likely in this economy, lucky if you break even) and the slight tax advantages, I still rather pay cash for my home up front or opt out of the deal all together. I think God put it best, Proverbs 22:7 “…the borrower is slave to the lender.”
For me and my family, we are actively pursuing financial freedom. We question everything, which is why we have opted out of pursuing a mortgage until we can pay for our homestead with cash! We will be financially free from the rat race before we hit our thirties with the option to retire and not have to work once in our forties. We’re focusing on defining our own American Dream, not a pre-written script, and ours consist of traveling this world now instead of later. What does financial freedom look like to you? What is your version of the American Dream? God bless and thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Racing to get out of the rat race/ redefining the American Dream

  1. Here’s my take on the housing portion and I’ll try to be as brief as possible. I was told once that student loans were good debt and my response was no debt is good debt, none. Does that mean I have no debt, nope, but I sure won’t be accumulating anymore knowing what I know now. A house is not an investment in my eyes, it’s a place to live. Sure it appreciates in value (hopefully) and sure you can gain some tax advantages (not enough IMO). But from a business stand point you’re told to basically invest 20% into a product that you are 100% responsible for fixing if it breaks down, that you’re paying more for in interest with the potential to gain a return but also lose? That sounds like a bad business deal to me but for some reason this industry is booming. You’d be better off renting and investing the down payment, closing costs, house maintenance in the stock market and yield a better return that way. If you are seeing a house as a place to live with a 15 year or less, fixed rate mortgage that you will pay off before retirement and pass down to the next generation then yes, it is an absolutely wonderful thing. But with the uncertainty of economies, neighborhoods changing, etc. a house is not a good investment. Homes are not to be used as piggy banks like some people do when refinancing. The only people that truly benefit from a home on a loan are the mortgage lenders, real estate agents and bank. I love the idea of a having and owning a home that I plan to live in into retirement, but I plan to do so once I can pay cash for it and know I’m ready to settle down in one location. Great post, great points!

    • I enjoyed your expression iamwoman, I agree with you. I’m not against Mortgages, I’m just saying its so much more to the American Dream then home ownership. It’s also so much more to having financial freedom then Societies outlook on making a person believe they must have a Mortgage to feel like they have arrived. Some people miss out on living life to the fullest because they’re house poor. Who says you have to have a Mortgage that’s unaffordable? My belief in debt has deterred because there has to be another way then having to always owe somebody. America is in debt but that doesn’t mean I put my family in debt also. Thanks again for your expression.

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