It is said that our lives unfold in three stages and if we don’t follow the tried and true path of phases 1 and 2 we will inevitably spend our declining years in phase 3
The first phase is known as the Learning Phase.
This begins the day we are born and stays with us through those inquisitive years where everything must be discovered, touched and placed in our mouths. As we progress we begin to acquire language skills and (hopefully) develop a small appreciation of boundaries.
After a few short years of learning the oddities of the world our formal education begins. As we move through our learning phase we go to school and perhaps college while we prepare for life by acquiring a professional designation, general knowledge, a worthwhile trade.
Many of us skip this portion of the Learning phase and move rapidly in order to get a head start on phase 2.
This phase is known as the Earning Phase.
This is where we commit ourselves to a roughly 40 year earning cycle during which we are told to spend frugally, invest sagely and prepare our finances to see us through the reminder of our lives.
A few of us – very few – actually follow this format the while the majority, it seems, spend much of the fruits of their labour having a good time while acquiring stuff that is worth less than its purchase price despite looking very nice on the mantelpiece.
It is during this phase we are supposed to prepare the final phase of our lives by setting beside, through various means, enough money to provide us with an income when the day arrives where we cannot, or choose not, to continue the Earning phase of our lives.
It takes but a few keystrokes of a keyboard to thoroughly research, and conclude, that the vast majority of us will spend the final third of our lives in the phase known as the Yearning Phase.
This is the phase that often makes the media and it is heartbreaking to read of seniors struggling to buy food and pay for medication.
We can – and sadly many of us do, look to these elderly folks and point a finger squarely at them for the predicament they find themselves in.
They are often harshly criticized for not living frugally, spending wisely and saving feverishly in preparation for this stage of life.
Both Stats Canada and the various data gathering departments in the US provide ample data informing us that all but a small percentage of people truly spend their last years in the Yearning Phase.
Among my cohort – I was born in the middle of the baby boom – and the following two generations is a strong belief that we are correctly doing everything necessary to avoid the despair of the Yearning Phase and indeed, for many this has been true.
This model may be rapidly changing. Recent developments have shaken so many people to the core and brought them to the reality that a job deemed safe and permanent today may well evaporate tomorrow.
I was told yesterday that crashing oil prices have caused 45,000 people to lose their jobs just in Alberta alone.
The experts – whoever they are – tell us that for many of those people, the salary tied to the jobs they have recently lost will be the highest salaries that will ever earn and while many of those people will re-gain employment when the economy invariably turns around, they are not likely to earn the level of income have become used to earning.
I have read studies that predict – as we are seeing among many large US corporations – that fewer and fewer people will ever again be hired as employees but rather will spend their remaining Earning years as contractors meaning that while they may earn slightly more than employees doing equal work, they will do so without any of the many benefits that employment provides.
And, as contractors, they will be the first to be thrown overboard the next time the ship runs aground.
For so many folks their Earning years will continue well beyond their earlier expectations as necessity will require they stretch their Earning years in order to shorten their Yearning ones.
The lesson from any and all of this is that this thing called job security has become as fictional and mythical as the sighting of a unicorn.
Gone are the days when we could toil at the same companies as our fathers and grandfathers for 40 years and then retire with a gold watch and a pension.
There is a new paradigm to focus on. It is to replace the notion of job security with an insistence on developing income security.
These past months have told us that no job is assured and that the most seemingly safe job can disappear in a heartbeat.
Regardless of what we are doing during these earning years, if we truly want to avoid the Yearning Years and ensure that we become the captains of our ship and the masters of our fate we need to research the many opportunities that exist out there and find one that, with hard work, commitment and determination, will enable us to build an income of our own that will continue to grow and be unaffected by the vagaries of economic times.
Those opportunities do exist and I believe they exist in a single industry more than any others.
That industry is known as network marketing and while many of us know people who look down the noses or indeed hold their noses at the mention of those two words, there are few other industries that allow for ordinary people, with zero to minor investment, the opportunity to build extraordinary lives which will not collapse each time oil prices do.
Oh, I know this isn’t easy and I also know it is so much easier to discount your own abilities and come up with as many reasons as you need as to why this isn’t for you but while you do that look around at all those you know whose jobs have disappeared and ask yourself, “Am I next?”
I work hard in my business and am well rewarded. The flaw with my business, as with most, is that when I take a day off, my income does the same thing and this is true with almost every business out there.
That is why I encourage many of my clients to explore the possibilities associated with network marketing. Outside of the financial services industry I cannot think of another where the income will continue even if the hard work stops.
And it must be nice to have earned income showing up each month without have to go to work to make it happen.
Till we read again.