A Changing Economy – You Have More Options Than You Think
I’m sure you’ve seen more and more headlines, and or discussion on the topic of AI technology and automation; it’s a relevant topic to our economy, because it will have a large impact on jobs, and for many who are now choosing to live full-time as a nomad, this could very well be a piece to your story.
Automation has been around for quite some time, and AI isn’t completely new either, and both are gaining steam in a big way. There are a million ways to look at both topics, being a tech guy I’m of course fascinated by all of it, because I understand the positives that can come from both. However, there are negatives to both as well, and jobs, or more importantly people is at the top of that list. Why? Because our aging population, and many in the lower and middle class simply aren’t prepared for the change and or in some cases even thinking about it.
You see, unfortunately our entire existence is built around jobs and the economy, and very specifically labor. Automation is already having a big impact on that, we’ve seen examples in the auto industry in terms of manufacturing, more recently self-driving cars and trucks. Drones are in the skies, soon to make deliveries and AI is used more and more in health care. So which jobs will be impacted? The simple answer is “all”. Think about it this way, anything that is “task, routine and repetitive”. You see; the largest reason behind this movement is due to cost, people (employees) are expensive and there is no rule or law that a company must maintain first level or even second level and mid-level jobs, because, it’s all about being efficient and reducing costs. I get it, and quite frankly; I’m done with mowing lawns and emptying the dishwasher, but the real problem is that while we are creating these solutions, there is no discussion about how millions of us will be impacted by it and what we can do in order to transition and or operate independently and be happy as a population. What’s frustrating for me is that “they” continue to send the narrative about careers, family, 401k and retirement, and they have to in order to keep the economy moving along and of course, in order to serve their own needs, which for them is cash flow. Once again, as noted earlier, there are a million ways to look inside this topic, so I’m going to give you my bend on it.
As you know, I’m a big proponent of living small and independently, and; in my view, it depends upon your age, your physical abilities and where you are in your life in order to answer this correctly. So, here I go. When I face the big picture, it appears slanted and quite honestly I’m being nice about it, but I don’t think I’m far off. When home values, rents, and simply the general costs for everyday living are going up, without wages following that trend, to me the math is simple. Then you have other factors such as 30 hr weeks instead of 40 (which is another article I may write), age bias, gender bias, fresh technology or industries like Airbnb for example, where you have entire cities and communities that are being forced to live further and further away from their job, which, increases their overhead, makes your commute more dangerous, and in return gives you less free time, and, of course a less net profit in your pocket. So my question is, as automation, AI and brand new ideas begin to take over, what will “we” do and how will “we” continue to exist, let alone survive? In other words, what will be our next role on this planet? Then, you can break it down between different age groups and desires. Hopefully, the overall narrative will change as well. The economical answer from one group to all of this is to be competitive right? Go back to school right? How much does school cost? Uh yeah. Now you’re in debt, and it’s not just a credit card. It’s large it can be overwhelming, and as we have seen in countless stories, it has actually ruined lives. What if you’re over 50? Taking on more debt doesn’t make sense. What if you’re 19 and poor? What if you’re in your 30s, have kids? Your recently divorced and you have nothing; however, you need to continue paying alimony? As you can see the challenge in our current economy is much greater today than it was 50 yrs ago, and the reasons that you may be facing these issues are varied. Now, I realize this may sound dreadful to some of you, but in reality, it’s not. It’s about changing your direction and in fact; you have options. There is a gentleman named Bob Wells that now has a life that is all about teaching others how to live in a van, in a car and off the grid. He’s written a book about it, he posts videos on Youtube each week, answering all of the issues that all of you are concerned about when you reach this moment in your life. Bob was there just like many of us, drove by a trailer one day on his way to work and said to himself; I could live in that. He still had a job and obligations; he knew that in order to make it work; he had to reduce his monthly overhead, and so he moved into that trailer, and he hasn’t looked back since. I’m sure you’ve heard of the RV Lifestyle, and it’s following? Once again, these are people who are making the choice to sell their home and travel full-time. Obviously if you’re in a 40ft, RV money isn’t your problem, and what you’re doing is simply a choice. Regardless, that’s cool. However, for many of you, it’s a much different story. This is a survival decision, and you know what? You can do it! There are people doing it everyday. They vary in backgrounds and circumstances; many are still working full-time, and some are working seasonal jobs while they travel, some are living off of SSI, but they are doing it.
I’m sure that many of you are beating yourself up over this; you feel like a failure, and you’re concerned about perceptions. Ya know what? Screw them. This is about you and how you are going to recreate your life and be happy. You don’t need a house full of things to make you happy, and you certainly don’t need a freshly cut lawn just to look at. Life is about the experience, not about things, and more importantly your money, is YOUR MONEY. Keep it in your account so that only you can enjoy it and do what you want.
Below are more resources to help you make your final decision.