Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Whatever Happened to the American Dream?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 14, 2016

Writer Adam Levin shared some sobering statistics on debt and the loss of the American dream. Unfortunately, government cannot and will not supply the answers for these challenges. If anything, government debt is exacerbating the problems, not leading to the solutions. In reality, the only viable solution is for each citizen to learn financial literacy and escape the Financial Matrix. When enough people do this, then, and only then, will we be in a position to expect government to practice  financially sane principles also.

LIFE Leadership has the produce (Financial Fitness Program) to teach people the defense, offense, and the playing field for financial success. There is not better time than today to start your journey to debt-free.


Orrin Woodward

The American Dream

              The Vanishing American Dream

A great number of Americans are redefining the American Dream. That was the takeaway from a recent Credit.com poll, which showed that nearly one in four people between the ages of 18 and 24 defined the American Dream as being debt-free. Shockingly, that’s more than those who dream of owning a home.

The poll underscores something I have long suspected — there’s a great deal of nostalgia for a promise that increasingly and tragically looks to be further out of reach for newer generations. Once upon a time, the American Dream was a Technicolor affair, replete with two and a half thriving, college-bound kids, a dog or cat and not one, but two cars in the garage that were owned outright, or would be before they were ready for the crusher. Finally, and most importantly, for generations of Americans the American Dream was about owning a home.

“The value of homeownership is deeply ingrained in American public culture,” write William M. Rohe and Harry L. Watson in the introduction to their book, Chasing the American Dream: New Perspectives on Affordable Homeownership. “From early laws requiring landownership for the right to vote, to nineteenth-century homestead legislation, to contemporary real estate brochures, the ownership of a home has long been presented as a crucial part of the ‘stake in society’ expected of full fledged members of American communities.”

Now it appears that for millions of Americans, the American Dream is looking different. Our study found while 27.9% of respondents see the American Dream as retiring at 65 and 18.2% see it as owning a home, 23% view the American Dream as being debt-free.

How Did We Get Here?

The Great Recession affected all of us. The irrational exuberance of the mortgage boom and investment portfolios yielding 10% growth year after year led to a burst bubble, downsizing and various kinds of over-corrections. At the height of the boom, USA Today published a poll in which 81% of young adults said getting rich was their top priority (and 51% gave the same priority to becoming famous). Americans now face a new personal finance reality.

For millions, fame and fortune is probably out of the question absent a win on reality television. To them, financial survival equals success and the American Dream is about staying above water while the kids pile up an average $27,000 student loan debt, mortgages are upside-down, and not enough money is finding its way into retirement portfolios.

Today, more Americans dream not of affluence, but of basic financial stability. That’s what both retirement and freedom from debt have in common. When Americans dream of retirement and freedom from debt, they dream of being able to exhale. Homeownership is a little different. Rohe and Watson frame it as an aspirational component of American citizenship. Others believe that you haven’t really “made it” until you own a home. However, the failure to own a home is generally not a source of stress in the same way that drowning in debt and the inability to retire are.

In another section of the survey, in fact, we see just how important debt is to consumers. When we asked what financial goals are most important to respondents right now, being free of debt/credit card debt was at the top (33.4% of responses). The runners-up weren’t even close: Retiring at age 65 (11.6%), buying or paying off a car (11.3%), sending a kid to college (8.1%), buying a home (6.8%), paying off student loans (6.2%), paying off a mortgage (5.6% ) and buying a vacation home (3.2%). (And 13.8% had no response, for those of you doing the math).

Finally, the poll found that nearly one in six respondents felt that it was unlikely that they would ever be debt-free in their lifetime. That’s a troubling number and one we’re going to have to watch over time.

Are We in Denial?

This is all sobering news, but there’s further evidence in this study that most of us aren’t really grasping. An interesting contradiction in the data lies in the fact that the latent pessimism described above is not reflected in any age group when it comes to the question of whether the American Dream is within reach. In the study, 78% of respondents said that the American Dream was either within reach or they had already achieved it, compared to 17.7% who said that it wasn’t within their reach. Meanwhile, 55% said that the American dream wasn’t within reach for most Americans. That means a good portion of us are either overly optimistic about our own prospects, or overly pessimistic about the prospects of others. My bet is the former.

Here’s my takeaway: Most of us still believe in the American Dream — but the nature of that dream seems to be changing. Debt is now woven into the fabric of our society. While some debt is absolutely vital for a healthy American economy, the way many of us experience debt is anything but positive. We’ve all seen the statistics about record-breaking credit card and student loan debt. Those numbers are troubling for some and sources of enormous personal stress for others. Many of us don’t take the time to consider how this new financial reality has changed our expectations of what’s possible for each of us to achieve.  Even though we call these things dreams, what’s always been special about the American Dream is our ability to make them come true. When we’ve lost that, we’ve lost a little bit of what it means to be an American.

47 Responses to “Whatever Happened to the American Dream?”

  1. Gyorgy Veszpremi said

    Another great post Orrin. Thank you for sharing. #lovelifeleadership

  2. Dave Nelson said

    I cry over the fact that my parents tried to teach me to save money except they didn’t explain why. No one told me to get a dream and then to use the dream as leverage for working to achieve it by making money and saving some until I could buy my dream. learning to be hungry is harder than quitting smoking., especially if you have learned to short cut it. Denial? yes. I have learned to settle for good when great is possible. cutting the worthless time wasters from my life is very hard.
    Thanks for the financial fitness. program and the MFC. please excuse the typos and poor grammar.
    thanks for the books. thanks for rising to the challenge so many years ago and leading us to this great knowledge that you have refined and made easier to digest and understand.

  3. Leslie Gebhart said

    In to that fertile ground we go with the financial fitness program!! What an environment! “A time such as this” indeed! 🙂

  4. Rajiv Behl said

    Dear Mr Orrin Woodward,

    I like your blog , but I have question, for your goodness, how one can have a real Dreams, when Everyone and Everything is dying and disappearing all around us?
    Dearest Orrin, it’s a false promise and hope, unless you get to a Higher level of security and Conciousness!
    I love your enthusiasm, courage and motivation.
    Please advise me.

    With the best wishes & regards,

    Rajiv Behl

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Rajiv, the principle is to keep your eye on eternity and the audience of one (our Creator) while serving others on earth to display our thankfulness to our Savior. Dreams are simply earthly motivations to do heavenly good and God created an ethical universe that rewards service and punishes selfishness over the longterm. Yes, plunder and oppression occurs but like Communist Russia, it will not last forever. I hope that helps. thanks, Orrin

      • Digna said

        I just needed to say something please take no offense.
        When you put your trust and belief on someone wholeheartedly and and in the next moment you felt like you were benched and felt abandoned by Life, then you become disappointed with Life and with that someone. I realized that I cannot be and should not be disappointed since I am already imparted with great teachings with which I will utilize to achieve my dreams along with our mutual purpose. It might not be how I envisioned it to be as it was in the beginning but I am absolutely sure we will accomplished our main goal which is to reach a million people and to help them become debt free.
        Still I will miss everyone in Life. My faith in God and Christ is strong, that I believe we can all plan our ways but He already established our paths. I have hopes that someday our paths will be of one again. Thanks Orrin & Laurie and Chris & Terry and the rest of the founders for your guidance. Love from my heart.

      • Deborah Poteet-Johnson said

        I believe we are learning what a good test of faith to deepen our patience, endurance, and perseverence can be!

  5. Thank you so much, Orrin. This is very, very true. As an M.D., I work with people who are just barely getting by, financially-speaking, as well as others who are making quite a bit of money, but who are not always practicing good financial principles. The stress level is so thick that I can feel it in my office. But they can’t always put their finger on why they are so stressed-out. Some of them know that it has to do with finances, but I also see many adults who are still dependent on their own parents to prop them up–even co-habiting with family members because at least one of them is “getting disability” and there is a “check” coming in every month. This seems to be much more common than ever before, and they can’t seem to see beyond that to where their REAL dreams should be. Please pray that the ones with whom I am able to share the LIFE Leadership opportunity will have their hearts and minds open to the TRUTH, and that they won’t be afraid to take the right steps to get out of the web that they’re tangled within. They have no idea how this Financial Matrix is working against them; they’re just looking for Band-Aid approaches to survival.

  6. walter martinez said

    Mr. Orin
    Greeting you and wishing you the best of the best. Excellent point about how far we are from the American Dream, but I want to share something which sees the need for it. and bring us a choice. (This is a QUOTE is written in the book I wrote and will leave soon for sale).
    The debt that exists in the USA. as worldwide. NOT REAL is false, what banks do is to charge high interest on a debt that does not exist. (That’s what I call GLOBAL EXTORTION). The secret is that while we are asleep eachother, Corrupt governments will make their own party. We have a Riddle saying in my country: “When the cat is not at home, the mice make their own party.
    Thank you
    Walter Martinez

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Walter, So True! It’s called Fiat and FRB debt and its created out of thin air and loaned to people. Keep learning and leading! thanks, Orrin

      • walter martinez said

        Thank you for your PURSUIT, I believe you are one of those called “WATCHTOWER”. THE LIE RUNNING as crazy horse, but The TRUE as “IS”.
        God Bless you

  7. Andrew LaFleur said

    It’s inspiring to see the correlation between the illustration above and the illustration in the Life Leadership PREZI!! Only Orrin could have the forethought to previously imagine this accurate concept!

  8. Micah Kramer said

    Two great Woodward quotes – “Napoleon said that Leaders are dealers in hope.” and “There are no hopeless situations, only people without hope in situations.”

    With wisdom, faith and courage – so much is possible and hope will be restored. Orrin, Thank you for the example you set through your servant leadership and conviction.

  9. Jeremy Arena said


    Thank you for sharing this great article. It’s good to know that the statistics match up with what we see on a normal basis. I hate seeing people who think they’ve “made it” but they’ve only made it on debt. And then to see them teach their kids the same thing is hard to watch. Thank you for leading the way to right thinking in the financial realm as well as the other 7 F’s 🙂 it’s made a world of difference for me and my family. See you at the top!


  10. Bob Rasmussen said

    I go to sleep sometimes dreaming of what this world will be like with the majority of people out of the FINANCIAL MATRIX instead of in. Loving being a part of the reformation to freedom. Lead on Spartacus, I know you will take us there! God Bless

  11. Jammie said

    I am blessed beyond measure. This article and a quote Claude shared today brought a conversation I to our home with myself, Richard and our 10 year old son. We discussed where we are headed and how soon it could be a reality. He was shocked and a bit scared as he looked backwards and thought about the depression, but then encouraged as we shared about the prosperity that occurred from that and in other times of free market. I just don’t know that without LIFE leadership and the influence of the leaders and information we have access to that a conversation like this would have occurred, nor do I think that we would be prepared to prosper when this situation becomes a reality. We are grateful.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Excellent Jammie! You guys have been great students and its super to see it being passed onto the next generation! God Bless, Orrin

  12. Great post Orrin. It’s really sad what’s happened to the American Dream. I have another story about the loss of the American Dream, I’m going to blog about soon. A personal story having to do with construction and unions, that led me to mlm.

  13. Joe Garcia said

    As usual I love your content Orrin your conscious level definitely stands out in every sentence. Well done!!!!!

  14. Malissa said

    Can you please help me to understand why people would leave what they’ve talked about in public for many years as our best shot at the “American Dream” for what looks like competition against billion dollar retailers who are funded by the financial matrix? How do they think they can help people by selling what the matrix sells? It made me sad when I found out yesterday. I looked up to those people as an example of what is available to our family by following the same system they did that is available to us too. I’m confused, sad, disappointed, hurt and feel lied to. We just seen some of them from stage over the past year.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Malissa, I feel your hurt and appreciate your concern.

      One of the beautiful things about Free Enterprise is the free choice to pursue your dreams in whatever fashion you find most fitting. Certainly, I was disappointed personally when a few longterm friends and business partners decided to move in a different direction; however, I also believe too strongly in the principles of liberty to do anything less than stop the bus and let them go. Accordingly, LIFE Leadership announced that anyone who wanted to exit the bus is free to leave. Thankfully, less than 5% of our organization chose to do so.

      I wish everyone who started a new journey as much success as they deserve and now feel its time to close the door and start driving ahead. I have learned in life that winners focus on dreams and the rest focus on drama. As the leader of LIFE, I choose to lead our members towards their dreams. Fortunately, even with this unforeseen stop, LIFE has grown over 20% in the last three months (in other words, we are bigger now than we were before we stopped the bus) and we will be celebrating two new PC members at the majors.

      In closing, Laurie and I will cherish the memories we had with former teammates and focus on creating many more wonderful memories with our current members. We have nothing but thankfulness in our hearts for the abundance of blessings God has provided to the Woodward family in friends, finances, freedom, etc. 2016 is going to be a great year as we expand around the world. LIFE Leadership has a Financial Fitness plan to help people, regardless of race, creed, color, or age, become debt-free. Moreover, for those willing to work hard, we will help them journey onward to financial freedom. 🙂

      Here is to a blessed 2016 for all!

      Sincerely, Orrin

      • Malissa said

        Thank you Orrin, I appreciate your perspective, so much. It makes sense and clears up my view of what has happened. I am looking forward to major and to seeing everybody. Thanks again for your help

      • Don Harris said

        Thanks so much for the explanation and clarification, Orrin. I wish our friends well. Time to head to a million and beyond! Fired up!

      • Jim Sproul said

        Thank you Orrin for clarifying this. There have been many questions unanswered but as I read your blog the answers really don’t matter. I too wish them well but will not spend any more time trying to figure it out. Full speed ahead. God bless you and your family and we’ll see you at the Major. Your Brother Because of CHRIST.

      • Chris LaBlanc said

        Well said. I am glad someone said something about what happen other than the 24 hour period something was posted on the LIFE site.

      • Glen Ewald said

        Thanks Orrin showing for showing so much class in everything you and Laurie do. God bless you

    • Heidi said

      Thanks for making a statement on this, Orrin. Classy, as always. We always choose your leadership and you’ve never let us down. Thanks for all you do!

  15. James Kozak said

    It’s going to be really different without them Leaders. He was one of my favorite too.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      James, its time for you to fill the gap by expanding your leadership. 🙂 thanks, Orrin

      • Deborah Poteet-Johnson said

        Yes, Orrin–I remember how you teach us that we are to step up and lead if no one else is! The departure of many on my team has been difficult for me, but I knew that I was doing the right thing for myself and others by staying with LIFE Leadership. Over and over those words of yours about stepping up and leading have echoed in my ears the past several weeks!

      • Orrin Woodward said

        Deborah, excellent leadership response! 🙂 Very proud of you. thanks for sharing, Orrin

    • James said

      yeah i know. Orrin you changed my life with the books and cds. i am glad a friend showed me the stuff. Rob Robson is filling that gap. i love how is speaks.

  16. Morgan Brooks said

    Wow the majority of responses were to be debt free. Those Facts are so Depressing when it comes to Dreaming in my opinion. Orrin you have accomplished so much you set the bar for what’s possible in my eyes! Getting out of debt is not enough! We are better then that.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Morgan, I look at it as a process. 1. Learn the right financial principles. 2. Apply them by associating with like-minded people who encourage the mental change to short-term denials and long term dreams. 3. Share your testimony of success with others and inspire them to make the same financial transformation. 4. Everyone wins and the only thing lost is people’s debts! 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  17. Tim Kern said

    I know that some decisions that people make to leave and do something different may not only hurt but be confusing as well. My wife, Peggi, said something last night that sounded so familiar from days gone by. She said, we joined this organization 10 years ago not because of any one individual or couple. We joined because of the leadership we saw in Orrin & Laurie Woodward along with Marc & Kristine Militello. We KNEW this is where we were called to be and where we were to serve Him by serving others. Thank you for your consistent vision of where Life Leadership will go and the opportunity to make a real difference in the world. 2016 will be our biggest and best year ever.

    The leaders of Life Leadership are constantly in our prayers.

    In Him

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Well said Tim. I learned very early, and have never unlearned, the truth that community trumps everything, as people follow people not products. The more I learn about the stress created by debt in people’s lives the more committed I am to do something on a huge scale to help. I can think of no better vehicle to reach the world than our Financial Fitness Product married to the best servant-based group of leaders in the world. I am so excited for 2016 and I am pressing forward towards the mark. I appreciate you two greatly. 🙂 God Bless, Orrin

  18. Rob Brown said

    2 Corinthians 13:1. The witnesses keep coming.
    Thank you Orrin!

  19. Brian Craft said

    One of the things I most appreciate about LIFE Leadership is the heart behind everything this company does. This company offers an opportunity for anyone who will work hard, to pursue their dreams. Some people, this is only the Avenue and vehicle to pursue their dreams in other adventures. One of the areas I have personally grown the most is to focus on me and not allow the opinions and actions of others to influence my decisions and dreams. I love the heart of this team and the product we offer, which is freedom and a better you. Even when distraction and bus stops happen, true leadership stays focus on the long term vision and continues to pursue that goal with laser focus. We see this in the PC and we see it in many of the leaders we follow, and we appreciate that. Than you for living what you have preached.

  20. Orrin,
    Thought you might want to read this article:

    Capital Controls Are Coming – Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2016 20:40 -0500, Submitted by Nick Giambruno via CaseyResearch.com,

    The carnage always comes by surprise, often on an otherwise ordinary Saturday morning…

    The government declares a surprise bank holiday. It shuts all the banks. It imposes capital controls to stop citizens from taking their money out of the country. Cash-sniffing dogs, which make drug-sniffing dogs look friendly, show up at airports.
    At that point, the government is free to help itself to as much of the country’s wealth as it wants. It’s an all-you-can-steal buffet.

    This story has recently played out in Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, and Iceland. And those are only a few recent examples. It’s happened in scores of other countries throughout history. And I think it’s inevitable in the U.S.
    How It Happens
    For the unprepared, it’s like a mugging…

    To be effective, capital controls have to be a surprise. Alerting people in advance would defeat the purpose. Weekends and holidays are the perfect time to catch people off guard.

    Here are the four most common forms of capital controls:

    1. “Official” Currency Exchange Rates
    The government’s official rate for converting foreign currency to local currency is always less favorable than the black market rate (more accurately called the free market rate).

    This applies to official prices for gold, too.

    Getting the more favorable black market rate usually involves informal transactions on the street. Of course, this is technically illegal.

    However, should you follow the law and exchange money at the official rate, it amounts to a wealth transfer from you to the government. The wealth transfer equals the difference between the free market rate and the official rate. It’s a form of implicit taxation.

    2. Explicit Taxation
    A government might impose explicit taxes to discourage you from buying foreign investments, foreign currencies, or gold. India tried this a few years ago by imposing a 10% tax on gold imports.

    Another tactic is taxing money transfers out of the country…say 20% on any amount transferred to a foreign account. In this case, you could still move your money, but it would cost you.
    Governments want you to hold your wealth inside the country and in the local currency. Ultimately, this makes it easier for them to tax, confiscate, or devalue with inflation.

    3. Restrictions and Regulations
    A government might restrict how much foreign currency or gold you can own, import, or export. It might require you to get permission to take a certain amount of money out of the country. The cap is often only a couple thousand dollars.

    4. Outright Prohibition
    This is the most severe form of capital control. Sometimes a government explicitly prohibits the ownership of foreign currencies, foreign bank accounts, foreign assets, or gold, or the moving of any form of wealth outside the country.

    Capital Controls in the U.S.

    The U.S. government has used capital controls before. In 1933, through Executive Order 6102, President Roosevelt forced Americans to exchange their gold for U.S. dollars. It’s no surprise that the official government exchange rate was unfavorable. The U.S. government continued to prohibit private ownership of gold bullion until 1974.

    Today, with no conceivable end to the U.S. government’s runaway spending, sky-high debt, and careless money printing, I think it’s only a matter of time until the government decides capital controls are the “solution.” There’s no doubt statist economists like Paul Krugman would cheer it. All it would take is the stroke of the president’s pen on a new executive order.

    Whatever the catalyst, it’s critical to prepare while there’s still time.

    What Could Happen if You’re Too Late
    Capital controls are almost always a prelude to something worse. It might be a currency devaluation, a so-called “stability levy,” or a bail-in.

    Whatever the government and mainstream media call it, capital controls are a way to trap your money so it is easier to steal. Anything they don’t steal immediately, they box in for future thefts.

    Capital Controls Are Coming view on zerohedge.com

  21. Dave Hass said

    I was in Life briefly, and a long time rep in Team, TOD etc. Great leadership. Good people. No one is perfect. But I’m glad some people have enough guts to pursue their vision. As an insurance agent and distibutor of obamacare (hardly anyone can afford health insurance now without it), I can tell you this country is in serious trouble. The middle class is being wiped out by the financial matrix. Politicians peddle their nonsense, more of the same, creating more and more bondage. Enough is enough. Its up to the people. Glad for any organization that goes after that dragon the financial matrix that must be slain. Sadly, I’ve heard the statistic the average decision time frame for deciding on who to vote for is about 10 seconds or less. No wonder we are in this mess. Keep up the fight. Education is the key. Hosea 4:6 “My people perish from a lack of knowledge”. Keep up the fight. God Bless.

  22. Dave Hass said

    Thanks Orrin. I was a double power player on Jim Shafor’s team awhile back. Great experience. Alot of fun. I then kicked butt in insurance right out of the gate my first 90 days in the industry because of the training system, the people focused approach to business. The other agents had no idea how I was doing it! Anyway, I don’t care what politician wins. Psalm 1 and Matthew 5:5 guarantees our victory, eventually.

  23. Dave Hass said

    By the way let me re-word that. I DO care what politician wins. I just don’t count on it anymore. A Christless nation will soon be brought to its knees. I hope we are already there with now the obamacare disaster, and the re-definition of marriage, roe v wade autrocity etc, and are on the way back up. I pray a freedom minded individual wins, for once! Imagine a country that runs itself! What a concept!

    • Deborah Poteet-Johnson said

      I’m certainly not trying to be political, but Dr. Ben Carson has a Prayer Team whose members conference-call weekly to pray and share Scriptures from the Holy Bible for God to heal our nation (2 Chronicles 7:14 is our main verse). Even if you support a different candidate, you are welcome to volunteer to be a part of the Prayer Team and to join those of us who are praying regularly for America, for Israel, and for God to give us the right leader to heal our land.

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