What I wasn't expecting was to come out of it thinking about the economy and finances and the "American Dream" differently. The film is set during the 2008 election season, throughout the movie you hear snippets of Bush and Obama talking about the economy. At one point, one of the characters says "This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh! I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country, it's just a business..."
I'm not a conspiracy theorist. In fact, people who swear everything is a c-o-n-spiracy make me tired. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. For decades, property ownership was a way to build wealth, a way to start a legacy for future generations. And seemingly overnight, that was no longer the case. In fact, for many of us, our homes have gone from being assets to being liabilities.
Most of my social circle would agree that we were not taught how to build wealth. This is mostly because our parents didn't know, they didn't have an example for wealth building either. But the more I think about it, the more it seems as though we set ourselves up for failure in the way we teach/are taught to be financially responsible.
I think that most of us were taught something like the following:
- Go to school - And probably take out student loans to help cover, maybe even put books and other necessities on a credit card
- Get a job - You're going to need work approrpriate clothes for the job. Maybe you have some money stashed away, if not credit again
- Move out - You've got a job, you need your own place, go be free and pay your own bills
- Begin repayment - You know that stuff that you've already enjoyed, it's time to pay on it, while trying to enjoy your life right now
I've started paying more attention to the "affluent" people at work. What do they do different? The biggest thing I've noticed, is step three is delayed. Those "kids" are encouraged to stay home after they get their first job. Stay home and save! I know someone who had enough money after living with his parents that he had the financial means buy a condo with cash. Cash. For a condo. Number two, they shun debt. It's all about savings.
As a parent, I want to be able to give my daughter the world, and to equip her to be the best person she can be. But I can't teach what I don't know. So I'm watching and asking questions. Wealth building doesn't spring out of nowhere, someone has to start it.
That someone is me.