If you search the phrase “stagnant incomes” on the Internet you’ll find a slew of stories about how wages, median pay and income are languishing, and haven’t kept up with inflation for all but the highest paid.
So it should come as no surprise to learn that about three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com. The survey also found that about 27% of those polled had no savings at all and 50% had saved less than three-months worth of expenses, or not even half the six months worth that experts recommend.
It’s not all bad news though. Bankrate.com says people are starting to feel better about their finances. “Only 1 in 5 Americans felt their overall financial situation got worse versus the previous year, tying the lowest reading from April 2013. And 30 percent of consumers felt more comfortable about their debt, a new high.”
However, it's a long road to recovery. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll found that 58% of Americans think the U.S. is still in recession even though the recession officially ended four years ago.
“The middle class is getting fired,” says James Altucher, author of the new book, “Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream.” He tells The Daily Ticker, “The bulk of people are getting either downsized, or outsourced, or globalized… and temp staffers are filling the holes, or people around the world are filling the holes.”
So what’s a worker to do?
Deal with it, advises Altucher. He writes, “Jobs are disappearing and every industry is in the process of transformation. In order to keep up, individuals have to transform also… you have to choose yourself.”
But how? Not everyone is as entrepreneurial as Altucher, who founded or co-founded several companies including Reset Inc, an Internet-based business solutions company, and Stockpickr, an Internet site combining social media and stock investment ideas which was bought by TheStreet.com. Altucher has also been a hedge fund manager and has written several books.
Altucher agrees that everyone can’t be an entrepreneur “ but everyone can start brainstorming and thinking of ideas by which they can provide services and value to other people and charge for it… it’s not that you want to make this leap. You have to make this leap.”
And he says there are more opportunities than ever for one- or two-person businesses.
He suggests you start thinking about what has worked before for you and what hasn’t, realizing that the transformation won’t happen overnight. And then prepare yourself: make sure you’re physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy.
“It sounds a little bit corny but that’s what you have to do to power the batteries back up," says Altucher. "And if you do that gradually, ideas will start to happen to you and opportunities will start to happen.”
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