This question is a classic all-American question. In fact, you can swap Peruvian and put in Filipino, Chinese, Italian, Russian, you name it, because this is one of those classic questions that have always been asked in the United States dating back for the first time a settler from Europe set foot on American soil.
You have to remember that the United States is an artificial nation. People are not united by blood, they’re not united by a long shared static history, and they’re definitely not united by religion or language. Instead, what unites them is a dream, that regardless of where you come from, regardless of how many times you failed and regardless of how many people hate you in your homeland, you can always come to this special place on the globe where you can reinvent yourself.
To say that the United States is the land of second chances would be to put it mildly. In fact, if you looked at the typical histories of groups that have migrated to these far shores, you would see that a lot of them were persecuted in their home country. Many of them were driven out. Some were dismissed as ugly, undesirable and worthless. But by they time they came to the United States, they absorbed that all-American blessing of a sense of possibility.
It’s not like somebody walked up to them and gave them $10,000 to start a new life. Instead, they had to work from the bottom up, and this journey transformed them.
This is how Sicilians from a very depressed part of Italy now became a proud American population made up of judges, lawyers, doctors, politicians, movers and shakers. This is how Jews from Eastern Europe who were chased out by pogroms and riots became a solid middle class. The same story plays out regardless of where the group came from in the world. Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Mexican, everybody shares this American reality.
How can Peruvians become part of that? Well, it’s actually quite simple. First, get married. According to statistics, poor families are almost always one-parent families. In other words, the simple act of getting married and committing yourself to a partner and providing for that family takes you out of poverty.
In fact, the percentage of American households involving a married, intact couple who is legally entitled to poverty benefits or assistance is less than 5%. So by simply getting married, you basically insulate yourself from being poor.
Second, get any kind of job. Now, you may be asking yourself, a $10 per hour job doesn’t buy much of anything. Well, if you are in a household and the adults in that household get $10 an hour jobs or even $8 an hour jobs, when you add it up and you also are frugal in terms of your resources, you actually enjoy a standard of living that is the envy of 80% of the rest of the planet.
Make no mistake about it, one of the biggest blessings in the United States is its amazing purchasing power. You only need to log on amazon.com or go to your nearest Walmart to understand what I’m talking about.
The prices here are just so low compared to other parts of the world. In places like Mexico or the Philippines, you actually have to pay several times what you would normally pay in the United States. So use that to your full advantage and take whatever job you can get and save up and grow those assets.
The third secret to making it financially in the United States is to reinvest. One of the biggest lies that you would ever come across in terms of personal financial management is that saving money is going to make your financial problems go away. It would not. Not even in a million years.
Why? When you simply put money together and put it in a bank, your money is going to lose value over time. This is guaranteed. It’s called inflation. You have to do something with that money to grow it so that it can maintain its value or grow in value over time.
This is where stocks, real estate investment, and any other type of investment comes in. Save money and work to grow your assets.
Now, of course, there are two ways to do this. You can do this actively by finding investments, or you can do it passively by buying an apartment complex, for example, and people pay you rent month after month.
By following these three tips, regardless of how poor you were in Peru, after enough time, you can be well-off in the United States. This is a completely different country with a completely different economic engine behind it.