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America, the Needy-ful

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

“How can the government help me?”

This seems to be a growing sentiment among the American middle class. “The land of opportunity” is quickly becoming the “nation of the needy.”

Here’s a question I received from a reader just last week:

“I am not happy with how things are going since the Bush Administration allowed tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy. These cuts were supposed to end for those who just keep earning more off the middle class. My question is: I am told that investors can invest as little as $1000.00 in real estate, and make a living doing so. As a person who has followed the straight and narrow, and helped others, how can I help myself in this attitude?”  - Suzie from Los Angeles

I applaud Suzie for wanting to change her attitude, because in spite of her desire to live “straight & narrow and help people,” she has chosen a victim attitude - one that will never give her the financial success she seems to desire.

Suzie’s question first assumes that businesses and the “wealthy” are taking from her. Is this really true? If there were no businesses or wealthy people, would she be better off?

Where would Suzie get her groceries if there was not a business owner nearby selling food supplies? She would either have to grow food, hunt for it, or start her own store.

Where would Suzie live if no business existed to build a home or apartment for her? She would have to build her own.

Where would Suzie work if there were no businesses or wealthy people who could afford to hire her? She would have to create her own income source.

Businesses provide needed goods and services. They are not “taking” from the middle class. They are giving what is needed.

Businesses that don’t offer what is needed go out of business quickly. Just ask the former CEO’s of Blockbuster or Borders. We, the consumers, decide who is worthy of our wallets.

People who work for failed businesses lose their jobs. The government offers unemployment benefits, but how long can a government sustainably pay the unemployed?

The government has to get its money from somewhere, and if it relentlessly takes it from successful employers, more businesses will eventually fail and more jobs will be lost.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the government to support solid businesses in growth so they can provide more jobs, rather than tax them to death to pay for those without jobs?

Rather than blame successful businesses and the wealthy for our troubles, let’s learn from them. What does it take for businesses to survive today? They must:

-    Stay current with trends (and trends change quickly).

-    Be the best at what they do

-    Be willing to grow through on-going education

-    Live with in their means and avoid unsustainable debt

-    Enjoy what they do because customers notice

I told Suzie that if she follows these five success tips, she could become a wealthy business owner herself. In fact, she started to think like a business person when she asked about real estate.

People can indeed buy real estate with $1000. It requires education and effort, but it can be done. Do you think Donald Trump uses his own money in his acquisitions? No, he uses OPM.

Using OPM (other people’s money) is a skill that can be learned and sustained as long as the OP (other people) are making money too. This is one of the keys to building a successful business.

Millions of people have created financial independence through smart real estate investing. They live off the income generated from their rental properties and are totally unaffected by the ups and downs of the stock market. Most of those people saved for a down payment, and used OPM for leverage (OPM can be bank money, private funds, or seller financing.)

If you are like Suzie and desire financial independence, consider this:

Instead of paying for expensive real estate classes that teach you how to buy property with no money down, go to a book store and get educated for $12. There are thousands of books on how to increase your wealth mindset and financial success. Pick one that jumps out at you.

Then start looking around for people who are successful at what you’re trying to achieve. Get to know them. Hang out with them. Work as an intern. Gather as much information as you can possible get your hands on. You may be surprised to find that in every town in this country, there are successful people thriving in any stage of the economy. These are the folks you want to emulate.

Relying on the government, your employer or anyone besides yourself can end in  grave disappointment. The truth is, no one has your best interest at heart the way you do.

Once you realize it’s ultimately up to you to make decisions that are best for you and your family’s financial future, you will take back control of your life. Independence is true freedom.

Kathy Fettke is CEO of www.RealWealthNetwork.com, a company that provides education and resources for its members who wish to become independently wealthy through real estate investing.

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