The Miracle of Small Business

Categories : Financial, News
May 15, 2024

Imagine, if you can, becoming not just financially comfortable but confident of a fully funded 30-year retirement. Does that require a degree or two from a prestigious university? In truth, it never has, but our current national economy seems to signal a more emphatic “NO!” Thanks partly to a few influential people, including Mike Rowe and (Cheers Star) John Ratzenberger, college degrees are being exposed as unnecessary for some millions of Americans with goals of achieving true financial independence.

In the course of history, the USA has morphed from an agricultural to an industrial economy and, more recently, an information powerhouse. Generations of American parents have been convinced of the importance of sending their kids to college. The college-bound pendulum swung so far toward white-collar jobs that we gradually realized a nationwide shortage of blue-collar workers.

In an ironic twist, traditional blue-collar businesses have become extremely successful. So much so, in fact, that in 1996 Thomas Stanley and William Danko published their excellent book, The Millionaire Next Door. More than 4 million copies have been sold, one of them to me, and I loved it. The book is jam-packed with true descriptions of real people, many of them owner/operators of small businesses, including plumbers, electricians, landscapers, and various construction specialists. All were extremely successful.

Nothing in outward appearance would indicate that the millionaires profiled in the book were financially independent. They had one common denominator, a 7-figure net worth. The most common vehicle in their driveway was a pickup truck (they heavily favor the Ford F-150), and most had been in their current homes for decades. They raised families, lived traditional Middle-Class lives, and were comfortable in their own shoes (or boots). And they saved money.

In modern-day Economics, Small Businesses are defined as having less than 500 employees. Growing up in 1950s Midwest America, our neighbors were frequently sole proprietors, sometimes with a handful of skilled tradespeople providing services we all need. Truly small businesses. Most of us were willing to do whatever was available to earn a few bucks. Small businesses in the trades are too often overlooked as role models.

Since America’s awakening to the excesses of higher education for the masses, more young people are looking for alternatives. Apprenticeships, vocational training, and a boost from involved Americans (as mentioned above) are creating successful, debt-free households.

For an inside look at the evolving workplace, is an invaluable trove of information, where financial assistance can be obtained for the right candidates. Warning to all—there is no easy path to success.

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