You seem to see yourself as the victim of large, impersonal forces which you are powerless to prevail against, among them "Corporate America" (several references), a "deteriorating" middle class, decreasing quality of goods, greedy corporate shareholders, and "rich families" which give their own a boost up, leaving you behind. Are you by chance a liberal?
You identify yourself as both middle class and poor, so it's unclear what your economic stratum actually is-- I'm guessing middle-class-but-feeling-poor.
It's not an improved economy (btw, it's growing now at about 3.5%, quite healthy, one might even say robust), a kinder "Corporate America" (which large corporation do you work for?) or a rich uncle that will solve your problems for you. It is you and your determination to get where you're going that will see you through.
Now, on to personal finances.
From what I"m able to piece together, you are doing much right: you are trimming your expenses to a minimun and banking 60% of your net? I wish I could do that. You are employing innovative solutions to achieve your goals, i.e., living out of a motorhome while the cash reserves grow: bravo!
You want to reject "mainstream" values? Try re-prioritizing your financial plan this way:
1. Establish an accessable, emergency
cash fund of $1000, for car repairs
and other unforseeable events
. Restore the Emer. Fund as your first priority whenever you draw from it.
2. Use all existing cash reserves beyond the Emer. Fund and all disposable income
to eliminate all your debt as fast as you can. It is keeping you a slave to whomever you owe the money
. This includes car notes. (The only debt I have is my mortgage.) If you have savings earning 2% and credit card debt taking 15%, you're paying a premium for keeping that cash sitting around. Use your cash to stop the blood-sucking.
Once that's accomplished,
3. Invest 15% of your income
toward your retirement
. This will provide for a retirement
income way down the road. IRAs or 401ks are good vehicles. If you're GenX, you will have a healthy nest egg decades from now.
4. Keep your lifestyle simple, & invest the "discrectionary" income, i.e., the surplus after living expenses and retirement contributions, in growth-oriented mutual funds with good track records. They have a long-haul average return on investment of about 12%, hard to beat.
The most powerful force to be bent to your goals is the power of compound interest. By following the "Rule of 72" you will be able to know how many years are required for any capital investment to double at any given interest rate. Simply divide the interest rate into 72. Example: $20,000 invested @ 12% becomes $40,000 in 6 years (72 divided by 12 = 6). At 9% it will take 8 years. That's with no additional installments: add those, and compound interest becomes even more powerful and the doubling time is reduced significantly.
You just gotta start investing your net surplus. That growing portfolio will encourage you like nothing else will.
It's up to you, but I've rejected the idea of putting myself in deep debt for my boat. I've been following the above advice for a while, and I'll be in a position to purchase
my first (admittedly used) true coastal cruiser next year after eliminating debt, living simply, and investing heavily in funds with good track records for five years. If you must have it now, as you seem to express, you won't be able to do it without debt, and debt works against you.
But if you just have to have it now, other posters to this thread have suggested relocating to a place where living aboard
is not so costly. Just be prepared to be a slave to your lender and pay double what the boat is worth by the time you make all those interest-laden installments.
Quit moaning about conditions you cannot change. Take control of your own destiny. Live under your means. Think long-term. Invest. Succeed.