Are You Americanized ?

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What does that mean? Being Americanized?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition is: Adapted or altered to have or conform to typically American characteristics. American in quality or character.

Joseph Nocera said, “As the flock became more educated and more Americanized, they wanted to be seen as Real Americans.

The first known use was in 1840.

According to U.S. statistics a million Americans file for bankruptcy each year. Over 80% could be prevented if they had only $300 more per month.

Forbes recently did a survey. More than one third of working Millennials have a side job. Overall 29% of all workers nationwide have a second job.

Millennials far outpace other age groups. About 39% of workers ages 18 to 24 and 44% of workers ages 25 to 34 earn extra cash on the side. I’ve heard many older workers say Millennials are lazy. It doesn’t sound like they are very lazy to me.

In comparison, 29% of workers ages 35 to 44 and 22% of those ages 45 to 52 are hustling side gigs. And 19% of those age 55 and older are also working a second job.

Who takes on these side gigs? Of those that do, nearly one in five workers make more than $75,000 per year, 12% make more than $100,000 and most, 68% make less than $50,000 per year.

Of all these, 80% admit that their current career falls far short of their dream job.

Why is this? Making money is just simple math. You buy a widget for $1 and sell it for $2. Sell only ten a day and you have your extra $300 per month. It’s simple, right? Or is it?

Well, where do we spend our time?

Time is the great equalizer.

We all have the same 86,400.002 seconds each day. How do we use them?

The average person spends 282 minutes a day on their smart phone.

The U.S. Department Bureau of Labor & Statistics reports watching TV is the number one leisure activity for most Americans.

The average American watches 2.7 hours of television everyday. Those ages 15 to 44 watch an average of 2.0 hours per day. Those ages 65 and older spend over 4.0 hours per day in front of the tube.

My wife Laura and I got home late the other night. She was tired and went right to bed. I was thinking about all of the time people spend watching TV so I decided to turn on the TV and see what was on. It was getting late, maybe 12:30 or 1:00 in the morning.

It just so happened that the show Family Feud was on. If you’re not familiar with it, Family Feud is a remake of a 1970’s game show with Steve Harvey as the host. Two families play against each other answering questions that were asked by surveys to one hundred people. Whoever gets the most right wins money and prizes.

A survey question was asked to one hundred people, “What’s the most expensive thing in your home?” The #1 answer was their television! Are you kidding me? Out of a hundred people the most expensive thing in their home was their TV? I cannot imagine that.

So I got to thinking. Most Americans can’t afford their television. They cannot afford their cable or satellite TV service. It’s not the $100+ or so that they spend on the service. It’s the 3 or 4 hours or more they spend per day watching it that keeps them in or near poverty.

It’s been said that the size of a person’s television is in direct proportion to their income. The larger your TV, the smaller your income.

I have personal experience with renters. The renters that don’t pay their rent, almost all have big screen TV’s! It’s a very sad fact.

We live in a world with Weapons of Mass Distraction.

Laura, my wife and I were driving back from the lake the other day. We were amazed at the amount of people that were doing something on their phones while they were driving. Yes while they were driving. Whether they were texting, messing with their GPS or playing around on google, who knows. Over half of the drivers were on their phone. And many were older people!

What are we all looking at on our electronic devices and our TVs? Many of us are watching dramas and useless shows such as “America Used to Have Talent!”

Many are also watching the News. Now, whether it’s fake news or not, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a very good distraction and keeps you from paying attention to your real life!

So, what else is on during these shows and news programs? Advertisements. Advertisements for massive consumption!

According to the Los Angeles Times in 2009, cable networks averaged 14 minutes and 27 seconds per hour in commercials. By 2014, the commercials had increased to 15 minutes and 38 seconds.

Interestingly, at the same time the number of 30-second commercials declined and the number of 15-second commercials increased significantly. Why? Are our attention spans getting shorter or do we have more distractions?

What are these advertisements we are watching? It didn’t take very long to see what is being advertised. Many of the ads are for drugs and pharmaceuticals. Why do we need drug ads? If my doctor thinks I need something she will tell me, won’t she? Why would I need to know anything else?

It’s no wonder we have a drug epidemic in the United States today. We have a magic pill for just about everything these days. It’s a very sad fact that more Americans die from prescription drugs each year than from illegal drugs.

The next ads were for travel and saving money on hotels. Apparently we need to get the very best prices on the hotels when we travel. I guess that’s good. We all like to save money.

Then there were a few car advertisements. They think we all need a new Maserati or an Alpha Romero every two or three years.

What would go better with the car ads than insurance? Yes, we need to insure our cars. There are tons of ads for Geckos, Flos’, Progressives, Generals, General Progressive Flo’s and all kinds of other crazy insurance ads.

Of course there are many commercials for other TV shows which are just about as useful as the one we are currently watching. Many more distractions and time wasters.

Don’t forget about the ads for the reverse mortgages. If you are fortunate enough to retire and have a free and clear home, you can borrow the equity in your house to live on and pay your bills. That is, if you actually bought a home during your working years, didn’t rent your whole life and your home is still worth something.

The commercials that are not really surprising and almost comical are all of the ones for weight loss programs. Why are these so common? Because, we all consume too much stuff. Too much bad stuff that is not good for us.

All of the advertisements and commercials focus and lead us to consumption! And that is what being “Americanized” is. Being a mass consumer of “stuff”. It’s keeping up with the Joneses. It’s our status. It’s having the latest gizmos. That is what being Americanized is.

Warren Buffett said, “If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need!”

Most people that migrate to the United States do so to escape persecution from political and religious reasons or for the freedom and to pursue the American Dream.

When most people come to the U.S. , they are not Americanized. They are not high-level consumers. At least, not Yet. Once here, they are bombarded with consumption advertisements constantly, virtually 24 hours a day, from every source possible.

How long does it take for someone to become Americanized?

In the book, “The Millionaire Next Door”’ written by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Drake, both PHD’s that have studied millionaires for decades, they say it takes three generations. It takes three generations to become massive consumers or what I call being Americanized.

Our consumption has taken us from spending our time in the malls and shopping centers to ordering whatever we desire from Amazon, on our smart phones, while we are driving down the road, so it will be delivered by the time we get home!

That brings us to, “What can we do to lessen the effect of being Americanized?”

We can turn off the TV for an hour a day and focus on making $300 more per month so we can spend more time doing what we want and more time with our loved ones.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1960’s & 1970’s, most of my friend’s dad’s had regular jobs. They ate dinner together, played ball and had normal lives.

My dad had a music store and was more of an entrepreneur. If and when, we ate together, he would usually go back to the store until late in the evening. He was rarely home before I went to bed.

Because of this…

I learned at an early age that money only comes from one place…other people. And YOU have to give someone really good value in order for them to give you their hard-earned money.

During these younger years, I sold all occasion cards and Christmas cards. The other day when we were driving we were listening to Mark Victor Hanson, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and he was talking about selling the same cards when he was young to raise money for a bike. I sold them for a sleeping bag and some other camping and fishing stuff that my parents wouldn’t buy for me either.

As a kid, I also ran some carnivals in my back yard and sold many things door to door in our neighborhood. When I was a little older, I painted the address numbers on the curbs in front of houses for money.

This is what has led me to where I am today. That is, to be less, “Americanized.”

Today, I focus on showing others how to turn $200 into $2,000 in about 2 hours worth of work on small real estate deals, so they can spend more time doing what they love and more time with their loved ones, like I do.

Remember, Time is the Great Equalizer.

I’m going to leave you with a Challenge and a Prediction.

My Challenge to you is to watch TV…one hour less each day this week and spend it doing something you love and/or with someone you love.

My Prediction to you this week is, your life will be happier and very fulfilled!

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