How many times have you found yourself lost in a rural place with no cell service? Or, you were given instructions on how to reach a particular destination, but the directions seem to have led you astray? Often, the only choice in that situation is to try to get back to where you started.

How many people out there do you think are lost financially?

Many are following the wrong financial plan – if they’re following one at all. Just look at all the seniors who are unprepared for retirement. But who is to blame?

“Shortly after I met my mentor, he asked me, ‘Mr. Rohn, how much money have you saved and invested over the last six years?’ And I said, ‘None.’ He then asked, ‘Who sold you on that plan?” – Jim Rohn

What a revealing comment. From the day we’re born, we are following a plan that society, corporate America, the education system, and even our families have either put us on or sold us on.

In life and including your financial life, you’re following a plan whether you know it or not.

If you’re either not sure about or happy with the plan you’re on, ask yourself, “Who sold you on that plan?” Then ask yourself, “Who gained the most from that plan?” I guarantee you that if you’re on a plan that hasn’t exactly worked out, the only ones who gained from the plan you’re on are the ones who sold you the plan.

Who are some culprits who push shady plans?

The #1 Scam: The Education Scam

According to Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, the #1 scam shoved in our faces – even before the time of our births (think college funds) – is:

To be financially successful in this world, obtaining a degree from higher education, especially from an expensive “good school,” is essential.

Tell that to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – both college dropouts – who we can agree both did well for themselves.

Many of us are put on this education path by our parents, our teachers, and society. We end up with expensive degrees paid for with tens of thousands and often hundreds of thousands in student loans.

The #2 Scam: The Prestige Scam

When the education scam has run its course, it’s onto the #2 scam – the prestige scam. This scam says that the only true measure of success (and the only way to pay off your student loans, they remind you) can only come from climbing the corporate, partnership, or whatever other professional ladders you can think of.

This #2 scam says that success and prestige are measured by titles, salary, the neighborhood you live in, the cars you drive, and the country clubs you belong to. Notice that not one of these things buys you financial security. You can lose every single one of these things if you lose your job.

Scam #3: The Wall Street Scam

The Wall Street scam says that the only way to invest and the only way to plan for retirement is through Wall Street. At work, it’s all about 401(k)s. Heck, your employer is even willing to match your contributions.

Who’s getting rich from 401(k)s?

​​Not the workers – most of whom are inadequately prepared for the retirement their 401(k) was supposed to prepare them for.

It’s the mutual funds that are getting rich – and for doing crappy work no less as study after study has shown that more than 93% of professionally managed funds like mutual funds fail to beat the market over time. In other words, investors are better putting their money in an index fund than putting it in a 401(k).

But employers are giving you free money the mutual fund industry says to keep its claws dug into you. None of that free money matters when those same mutual funds are eating up your retirement through fees.

In 2012, a study found that fees can cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000 in lost savings, eating up roughly one-third of their investment returns throughout the life of their investment.

For investors willing to look outside the 401(k) plan, they get suckered in by Wall Street’s other bloodsuckers: the financial planners and advisers.

These guys sell you the same thing as mutual funds. They are the same wolves in different sheep’s clothing. They mismanage your money to the tune of fees and commissions – leaving you with little to show for their supposed efforts. Once again, you would be better off investing in an index fund.

Assessment Time.

What have most Americans gained from the education plan, prestige plan, or Wall Street plan? A lot of debt and lean retirements.

Who has gained from these plans? Higher learning institutions, corporations, and Wall Street. Meanwhile, the individuals who followed these plans are nowhere to be seen on Easy Street.

The scam artists all pushing their plans on you have all been saying the same thing:

“Work and save your way to retirement. Put your money in Wall Street products to grow your savings.”

None of this works. Why? Because the returns on your investments from these plans don’t even keep pace with inflation. You’re bleeding money following these plans that have been around since the founding of our country.

Wall Street is broken. It’s one big scam that’s prone to manipulation. Whether by hedge funds, talking heads, or college kids on Reddit, Wall Street can not be trusted to protect the little guy.

The Cold Reality.

What plan are you on? What plan should you be on? Look at your current plan. Where did it come from? Ask yourself who’s benefiting? Is Wall Street partnering with you?

Ask yourself this: “If you lose on Wall Street, does Wall Street lose?” Hell no! The brokers, advisers, and managers still get paid whether you make money or not.

Can you get a refund from the university you earned your degree from if your career doesn’t work out? Hell no! The Harvards and Yales of the world will keep your tuition while forcing their agendas down your throat.

If it’s the same message you hear over and over again, chances are it’s going to lead you to the same place as everyone else who has followed those messages: nowhere!

The rebels have long been pegged as the crazy ones…​

Too long, we’ve expected someone to come along and save us like in a Disney movie.

In your financial life, the only happy ending will be the one you create yourself.

​​You will have to be the one to muster up the courage to rage against financial conformity. The crazy ones forge their own paths and follow their own plans, but it’s the crazy ones who can walk away from their jobs when they want and live their lives how they want.

Check out my new book, The Guide to Passive Income: How Affluent Investors Build Generational Wealth, and it will help you determine your plan – a new plan, an alternative plan – to financial independence.