For grandparents who survived the trials of the Great Depression, it looks like we might be on the verge of another one, or at least, a prolonged recession. Jobs are not that great for many young people today, and during the Great Depression, jobs either weren't that great, or they simply weren't around. People couldn't pay their bills banks were tight with money, the stock market was a disaster and the future looked bleak.
The only thing kick-started the economy to life and brought things back to "normal" was the Second World War. Then everyone was employed again, because everyone was involved in the war effort. Not exactly the kind of solution we're looking for us, is it?
Today, the economy is suffering just like prior to the Great Depression, and due to economic factors such as the shortage of oil, the threat of escalating global conflict looms bigger now than it did during the Cold War. If grandparents were to look "back to the future" then they would recognize a pattern from their past which is about to repeat itself in the future.
By relying on their wisdom from past experiences to help position themselves against future storms on the sociological and economic horizon, granparents would probably say:
"This remind me of the old days"
For parents who are Baby Boomers (this includes me) we were born into a world that was absolutely FULL of opportunity. There was an economic boom happening, in a post-war industrial revolution of sorts. As teenagers, work was plentiful and money was there for the taking. Kids had pocket money from either an allowance from their parents (unheard of during the Great Depression) or they had paper routes, lawn cutting, baby-sitting, etc, to give them disposable income. If a teen was wanting money and was willing to work, they had ample opportunity.
With this ready supply of disposable income, these teenage Baby Boomers discovered that they had the buying power to aquire whatever consumer goods struck their fancy such as whatever clothes were the latest "fad", fast food, entertainment, and other consumer goods such as records and hi-fi stereos.
This was the dawn of the Age of Consumerism, and Baby Boomers carried their consumeristic spending habits into their adult lives after graduating from high school.
When the Boomers hit their young adult years, either they found plenty of job opportunities or else they went to college, and graduated into a world with even more opportunity for even better jobs. If you were a young adult Baby Boomer in the 70's and 80's you lived during an era, unprecedented in history, where disposable income and the ability to purchase goods was at an all time high. Simply put, Baby Boomers bought what they needed, and more than that, they bought what they wanted (even if they really didn't need it). Times were great! Jobs were available, money was available and as everyone had good paying jobs with great job security with the introduction of credit cards, consumerism took on a new trend - buy on credit. This was the advent of the "buy now, pay later" mentality which the Baby Boomers personified and then exemplified to their children. This mentality was to become part of the inheritance of GenX and GenY children.
But unfortunately for GenX and GenY, the over abundance of jobs, high salaries and higher level of income that their parents have enjoyed has not to be on their horizon as they enter their young adult years. Times have changed. These children of Baby Boomers are entering into a much different socio-economic climate where, let's face it - things aren't so great. Baby Boomers parents, concerned for their children's future, are now saying:
"When will things change back to the old days?"
Now let's bring things up to date for today's young adults. If GenX/GenY are looking for opportunities to enjoy the same standard of living their parents had (which, after all, if the standard of living they grew up in) the future is most definitely not as a rosy one.
Growing up as young adults today and having to pay your own way in today's stormy socio-economic climate means not being able to buy what you want, when you want it. The era of easy disposable income is over,but the Age of Cosumerims is not. Yet times are changing, because now society is making a transition into the Age of Debt.
So why the change?
The children of Baby Boomers no longer have that same level of disposable income because their opportunities are not the same. The tragedy for many in the younger generations, is that even though they are no longer able to afford what they want, when they want it, their habits haven't changed - they simply buy what they cant't afford by using their credit cards. So now we see an entire generation that is in a form of bondage to debt. They don't have the same opportunity for great jobs, so they don't have the ability to earn great incomes. Result? They can't keep on top of their debt - so they just stay in debt.
Excesive debt. Debilitating debt. Depressing debt.
Yet there is an answer to this dilemma for young adults, as long as they're willing to look in the mirror and ask if they're prepared to recognize where they are part of the problem, and then decide they want to make efforts to change. The answer lies in creating opportunities for themselves by becoming "stand outs" in the workplace. The way they can do that, is by learning the principles of ROI. But that's never going to happen if they can't see the signs of the times, if they can't recognize what they need to do, and more importantly, if they can't understand "why" they need to do it.
That's why "What's Your ROI?" was written. So young adults can "see" the problems facing them, written in a story line from their own life-experience perspective, so that they could recognize themselves in the lives of the characters. Then, like the characters, see where they need to change, and make the personal effort to overcome their problems.
As a doctor, let me talk about cancer for a moment, because it makes for a good symbolic representation of the perspective of the different generations, or what writers call an "allegory". We're going to talk about how different generation perceive the threat of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
All female grandparents know someone who has been afflicted with breast cancer. All female parents over the age of 40 have heard about breast cancer or may even know someone their age who has been afflicted by it, so they know that they need to consistently perform breast self-examinations and have mammograms regularly. Young adult females have certainly heard of breast cancer, but they aren't concerned too much about it because after all, they're young, and they don't have personal experience with friends in their age group being afflicted by it.
Now on to the men. All male grandparents know about prostate cancer, because they know someone who has been afflicted with it. All male parents over the age of 50 have heard about prostate cancer or may even know someone their age who has been afflicted by it. They know they should be screened for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a blood test and have a digital rectal examination (DRE) when they visit their doctor for a routine physical examination. Young adult males may have heard of prostate cancer, but they aren't concerned too much about it because after all, they're young, and they don't have personal experience with friends in their age group being afflicted by it.
When it comes to these cancers, grandparents and Baby Boomers know what their young adult children do not know. There are warning signs. They come with age. They're what you might call "the signs of the times".
When it comes to the problems that we're facing socio-economically, there are also warning signs. Signs that parents and especially grandparents can recognize. They have seen them before, experienced them first hand, or have heard of others who have been afflicted by them. And right now, today, we are seeing these warning signs. We need to warn our children and our grandchildren.
That's why "ROI" and that's why "now".
Historically and sociologically speaking in our Western culture, if a book like "What's your ROI?" was written forty to fifty years ago, it would have been useless at worst, or an overstatement of the obvious at best. That is, if "What's Your ROI?" had been written forty to fifty years ago. Up until the end of the 1950's it would have been a crazy idea to write a book advising people to stay out of debt, respect your employer, speak the truth, walk in integrity, act responsibly and be open to being held accountable, because up until the end of the 1950's well, everyone was.
That was then. This is now.
Sociologically, our society has slid into a place of self-indulgence and complacency whereby consumer debt (especially credit card debt) has skyrocketed. Virtually all of the young adults we've taught in our training seminars don't have a "probervial clue" as how to service fees, late fees and interest rates on their credit cards keep them in bondage to a never ending cycle of debt, only paying off service fees without ever paying off the debt itself. Today's young adults need some form of training that, for whatever reason they simply have not received.
It is hoped that by reading "What's your ROI?" that at least some of this void in their education will be filled. Fifty years ago, besides having a mortgage and maybe a car payment, people simply were not in debt. If you wanted something, you worked to save up money and then when the money was in your hand (and only then) did you go out and make a purchase. Not any more. Now almost everyone is in debt, which is why almost everyone needs "Whats's Your ROI?" because people simply don't know how to count the costs of the mistakes they're making.
Something has changed.
Sociologically, did we as individuals make the change, or did the society we exist in make the change and we, as individuals, simply fall in line with society? What prompts us to spend more than we earn? Our Western leaders and governments act no different (and certainly no better) than we act as individuals. Leaders do not take responsibility for their mistakes, they just simply pass-the-buck, make excuses, or cover up their mistakes until these mistakes (ultimately) blow up in their faces. As much as I don't like to point the finger of blame at my own generation, the fact is, the Baby Boomers are the ones who form our government and our leaders, so it's the Baby Boomers who bear the most responsibility for being irresponsible role models with regards to mismanaging funds. Government policies in most Western countries, especially in North America, have led to national debts in the trillions of dollars, which require hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments alone. So our tax dollars are being used to pay off the penalties our governments created by their own overspending habits.
Words too harsh you say? Just look around.
And it's not just in the economy. All we need to do is look at what's happening in the environment to see that we are selling off the future for a time of self indulgence in the present.
Nobody is counting the costs, but too many are giving us the wrong example to follow. So as our leaders are leading us into temptation, we are playing follow the leader. No wonder we're in the mess we're in.
When you order "What's Your ROI?" if the principles and concepts presented make sense to you, and you believe they will make sense to your loved ones, then at the back of the book you will see how you can send copies of "What's Your ROI?" as a gift, as well as access some further tools and resources which will help you make the most of your future by following some time honored principles of wisdom, diligence and most importantly, self-discipline.
If all the generations work together to bring our society back to the time honored principles of responsibility and integrity, I believe we can once again experience a time of unparalled oportunity. The choice is ours.