How Crypto Saved My American Dream

Imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have to work a job until you’re 65, just to make a living. Imagine having the freedom to spend your time as you choose. Maybe you work on your passion project during the day, spend time with your family at night, and indulge in your hobby on the weekends. You go on vacations without worrying if you have the time to take off from work or the funds to afford it.

If you’re a parent, you’re able to pick up your kids from school, attend their soccer games, and fund their education with ease. You have no problem paying for the lifestyle you desire for yourself and your family.

Based on my personal experiences, I believe cryptocurrency can transform this from a dream to reality. Here’s how I’ve learned cryptocurrency can be a game-changer for financial freedom.

All my life, I was told that if I worked hard, I would be successful. If I received good grades, I’d get a good job. If I worked hard to stand out from my peers, I would get promoted. I’d be recognized for my hard work and rewarded with an increase in pay, which would enable me to afford my dream life. My American dream was simple: I wanted to own a home in California, in a safe neighborhood, where I could start a family someday.

But my work experience taught me that working hard would not make me successful because the world doesn’t play fair.

My degree in business management did not translate into being paid a livable salary in Los Angeles — a city known for its high cost of living. When I showed up to interviews and demonstrated to my employers that I was a hard worker, and therefore, valuable, I found myself working alongside my peers, making the same salary but with a heavier workload. I was often stressed by unrealistic deadlines, working through my lunch, while my co-workers chatted and laughed about their weekends together. I felt my skills were unappreciated, and I was being punished for my work ethic.

Homeownership became a distant dream. It became very clear that all my hard work was not benefiting me as I expected. I learned I had to work smarter, not harder. To create the life the American dream promised me, I had to take matters into my own hands and create it for myself.

Often, I’d think, “There has to be a better way to afford a home. A better way to earn a living, without being trapped at my job, fighting a losing battle to be paid adequately for my time.”

I didn’t know it then, but I was looking for financial freedom. In 2020, I discovered the Financial Independence, Retire Early Movement (FIRE), a community of people who save and invest large portions of their income to retire and reach financial independence before the traditional age of 65.

The movement resonated with me immediately. I read everything I could get my hands on to learn more. But not everything, I discovered, was as easy as it sounded. Though FIRE provided a way to build wealth, it seemed unattainable. For FIRE to work, you need to be able to invest a large portion of your income. I made a very modest income, and much of it was allocated towards living expenses. After bills were paid, there wasn’t a whole lot left. Which meant, if I didn’t rapidly increase how much money I made, financial freedom would take me a very, very long time to achieve.

And that’s where crypto came in.

During the pandemic, I took my stimulus check and invested $1,000 into XRP, at $0.29, and didn’t think much of it. Fast forward to May 2021, the price of XRP increased to $1.50, and the total value of that investment turned into $5,172. That type of return is unheard of in the traditional stock market, which returns roughly 10%, on average, annually. I learned right then that cryptocurrency would be the accelerator of my wealth-building journey. It could help me reach financial freedom without earning a six-figure income. I didn’t learn how crypto could change my life by watching a video or reading a book; I learned from first-hand experience. I began to learn more about it, developing a strong belief in its value. Crypto can put power back into the hands of everyday people, allowing for control and ownership of their assets. It removes the barriers of entry to investing—you don’t need hundreds of thousands to start.

You can send crypto to someone halfway across the world without a bank or paying fees to an intermediary. You can even lend and borrow against your crypto, creating opportunities to earn more on your investment and providing access to your assets without selling them. As cryptocurrency becomes more integrated into our lives and sees wider adoption, its value will continue to grow.

Cryptocurrency is leveling the playing field for the everyday person to build wealth and achieve financial freedom. But it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. There will be many ups and downs in volatility as the market matures. But investors who add cryptocurrency, with strong fundamentals, to their portfolio and hold for the long-term will be rewarded.

One day I will be a homeowner, and I will have crypto to thank.

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Cassandra Bustamante

Personal Finance Educator

Cassandra Bustamante is a personal finance blogger with a background in business management who empowers millennials and gen-z women to level up their money game and build wealth for financial independence.