Blind Shaft

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There have been so many uncertainties enveloped in the lives of all Americans over the course of the last few years. Changes that were promised by law makers and politicians’ years ago have seemingly not taken form as we had hope and imagined. Those entering the workforce are having trouble finding jobs, and those who have been implanted in the workforce for decades are often found not knowing if they are actually as stable in their career as they had once imagined. With all of this uncertainty at the helm, where do we turn from here?

Looking for help in the form of changes from “above” just does not give us the sudden or immediate mental comfort that we often seek. The term living paycheck to paycheck, in my opinion symbolizes so much more than the monetary inference taken from that saying. Not only are our finances living from week to week, but that, in turn, forces other parts of our livelihood to do the same. If our finances are not in particularly good shape, that often places strains on our lives in other areas such as our relationships, our educations and our overall motivation for the future. How do we deal with continuing to prosper and move forward in these other aspects of our lives, when so much of the very fabric needed to make each one of these aspects tick relies on money. One cannot confidently promise a loved one whom they wish to potentially spend the rest of their lives with that they can financially support them and a potential family yet to come, when they are not even confident they can pay their own rent and buy their own groceries. The American Dream is becoming less and less of a reality each day, month and year that our economy continues down the oh-so- slippery slope it has been treading on for the last half decade.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So often growing up in American culture you are taught to go through school through high school, graduate, enter college, go through the rigorous grind of a college schedule, receive a diploma, and be on your merry way obtaining the job and ultimately the career of your dreams. However, the reality of the situation is sometimes this is not as cut and dry as it seems. I personally took the opportunity during this assignment to embark on reading one of the ‘cliché self help’ books on personal finance. What I came to find after reading James Wood’s From Ramen to Riches: Building Wealth in Your 20’s, is that personal finance entails so much more than just ensuring that “your money is right” at that given point. One has to truly look at all the avenues present in a person’s life and realize how much having your personal finances in order really does help relieve the strain financial instability can place on these various aspects of life.

I was obviously drawn to the title of the book, which I found very clever. Late night study sessions literally filled with bowl after bowl of ramen noodles seems like it may be the norm to more college students than we may think. The 20 something demographic has always been one that has been equated with the “little sisters of the poor” to other more mature and established members of our society; and rightfully so. Not only is it our nature to live by the edge of our seat when it comes to our lifestyle choices, but that also translates to the way we go about dealing with our finances, however plentiful or pitiful they may be. I often find myself ending a shift at the local pizza shop where I work out, counting my almost always measly earnings and wondering, what am I supposed to do with this? Albeit I could do what my grandparents and parents have always taught me growing up. I can almost hear my grandmother’s voice in my ear as I sit here typing this saying “now Alan if you just put 10 or 15 dollars away from every shift then in five or ten years you would have…” and you can fill in the blanks from here. Sure grandma, it is that easy. With gas at nearly four dollars a gallon, cell...
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