We've all seen the old Western movies in which the cavalry, bedecked in bright blue uniforms with banners flapping and trumpets blaring, rides onto a scene of peril in the nick of time to save the day. In a similar way, I envision the network marketing profession charging to the rescue today.
Many people have circled their financial wagons, loaded their last couple of shells into their employment shotguns, and are firing their final shots into the job market, hoping to hit the mark. More and more it seems that around the globe the old formulas aren't working. What people need is something different, something better, some solution they can utilize to take control of their own destiny and fight their way out of their current financial ambushes.
Let's take a look at the financial Wild West in which many people find themselves stranded.
One of the key indicators of overall well-being in any economy is the unemployment rate. Currently in the United States the unemployment rate is over 9 percent, representing more than 14 million Americans out of work. In Canada it's only a little better at 7.4 percent, even though the Canadian number has grown by 1.4 percent this year alone. These numbers don't include those who have either stopped looking for employment or settled for being under-employed and are working for much less than their previous wages. In fact, the U6 unemployment rate, which represents these last two categories, has grown from 15.8 percent to 16.2 percent from January through June of 2011.
Amazingly, it now takes people an average of forty weeks to find a job. Most staggering of all, perhaps, is the portion of the U.S. population that is employed: 58.2 percent. This is a new record low. According to 60 Minutes, 1.5 million Americans have at this point exhausted their unemployment benefits.
Debt and Savings
Let's take a look at the value of our money. In the world markets, total foreign exchange reserves just topped $10 trillion, which means central banks have created that much fiat money to buy each other's currencies. What this means for everyone's individual savings is a decrease in buying power, no matter what the denomination (relatively corrected, of course).
The personal debt picture is equally bleak. According to CreditCards.com, U.S. household debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product was recently at 1929 levels (approximately 100 percent). Total U.S. revolving debt in 2010 was $853 billion. Total U.S. consumer debt that same year was $2.45 trillion, while the average credit card debt per household that had credit card debt was $16,007. A new record has also been set in the category of college student credit card debt, at an average of $3,173 per student (for those with credit card debt). Shockingly, 21 percent of college students had balances between $3,000 and $7,000 on their credit cards in 2010.
Residential finances aren't any better. According to Freddie Mac, the U.S. began the year 2000 owing $5.5 trillion in residential mortgages and finished the decade with $11.8 trillion, an increase of 111 percent. Canada started 2000 with $421 billion and ended the decade with $975 billion, an increase of 132 percent.
It may follow that with all this financial pressure individual savings would be down, too. According to Fortune magazine, "The long decline of the savings rate in the U.S. has been widely discussed, yet every revisit of the data brings new cause for alarm. In the seventies and eighties savings were in the 5 to 7 percent range; in the decades since, personal savings have declined to the 1 to 3 percent range."
The Way Out
How can people get out of this mess? How can they ever plan to retire? According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, most Americans won't be able to retire until around age eighty. Seventy-two percent of people surveyed now plan to work through retirement. This is partially necessitated by the fact that Social Security payments for the average worker were only $1,177 per month at the beginning of 2011.
Even a cursory look at numbers like these leaves one numb. Rational people everywhere (as these economic woes are by no means limited to North America) are waking up to the ever-growing feeling that they've got to do something, and quickly. More and more people are seeking to take charge of their own financial futures. More and more are saying to themselves, "There just has to be a better way."
This is where the chase music begins and the networking cavalry rides in to save the day.
Offering a home-based business opportunity, unlimited in its earning potential, undiscriminating in its reward system, and ungoverned in its rate of growth, the soldiers in the cavalry of networking have a legitimate alternative to the problems listed above. There is no need for people to circle their financial wagons in a desperate last stand against the attackers of bankruptcy and foreclosure. There is an answer. There is hope. There is a way out.
You and I both know that the way out won't be easy. Building anything of value and structuring it properly so that it stands the tests of time and holds strong for the long term is not child's play. But neither is suffering through years and years of financial pain. For anyone who is ambitious, looking for something more in life, teachable, and honest, networking is the way out of the canyon.
It is important to remember this perspective as you build your business. Never forget what a wonderful and legitimate answer you provide to people. Never forget that people out there every day are praying for an answer, for someone just like you to ride in on a mighty stallion and rescue them from financial destitution.
So mount up, form a posse, and ride to the rescue! You've always wanted to be a hero anyway, right?
CHRIS BRADY is author of Rascal and coauthor
of the New York Times, Business Week, USA Today
and Money best-seller, Launching a Leadership
Revolution. Together with Orrin Woodward, he
leads a network marketing organization of tens of
thousands of people. Their common goal is to raise the
level of professionalism and leadership in network marketing.