Experts send mixed financial messages
Which is it? Spend or save? We receive mixed messages don't we? When stock market results are being analyzed, the conclusion is often drawn that things will be better once people start to spend again. So loyal and patriotic Americans, who can aff...
Which is it? Spend or save? We receive mixed messages don't we? When stock market results are being analyzed, the conclusion is often drawn that things will be better once people start to spend again. So loyal and patriotic Americans, who can afford to, should begin to do just that. Shouldn't they?
But then we get another message. Too much debt exists and our dollar is apt to lose its value if other nations stop buying our debt. So we better be cautious as a nation and be very careful in accumulating more debt.
What puzzles me is our governmental spending decisions that often are made during these complex times. We are pouring money into our military involvement thousands of miles away without hesitation. But, perhaps there should be a great deal of hesitation. One very recent disturbing example is the report that our contractor involvement in Afghanistan now includes a 20 percent Taliban tax which is a necessary expense to do construction business in areas where the Taliban still has considerable control. I can remember when the Taliban was successfully driving the Russians out of their country; but at that time we were on their side.
On the other hand, now that we are deciding whether to make health care available for everyone in our country, the cost has engendered great concern and consternation. In a republic, we have political representatives elected to make those final decisions for us, but we certainly should let them know how we feel about where we'd like the emphasis on our spending. We should be doing the right thing for all our people; shouldn't we?
As a "Great Depression" youngster, I don't need encouragement to be cautious about my spending. I was aghast while we were going through our phase of hopping on the merry-go-round of money, status and social climbing. Sophisticated spending then by sophisticated folks. These sophisticates came to be known by their choices which creative advertising had aroused, expanded and maintained. Our middle and upper class society members were increasingly able to take advantage of fads, fashions and hip ways of doing. It became the in thing, the cool thing, to sip double-tall nonfat-lattes, chat on the cell phone, listen to NPR while driving a sporty SUV to Pottery Barn to shop for the $48 titanium spatulas and/or trend down specialty cheese aisles in top-of-the-line hiking boots and nonchalantly lay down $5 for an olive-wheat grass muffin. (We don't have the time or space, at this time, to get into the fine wine snifting and tasting line). Times were easy; times were good. No complaint especially from this Depression youngster who watched all this from way back yonder in the north rural country.
So personally, I'm pleased now to see that most of that conspicuous consumption spending is being curtailed. Good to have those days of unlimited choice behind us in days when markets were diversified, propagandized and manipulated. Debt was easily obtained and even easy for people who had failed to repay earlier loans; these were labeled sub-prime and were bundled all up and miraculously (magic wand?) labeled Triple A by Moodys. The debtors were encouragingly given low payments for a short while and the people-in-the-real-estate-know-how explained how the housing values would continue to rise, and their resulting equity growth, would make higher payments easily handled if refinancing became necessary. They certainly took the moaning and groaning out of loaning. No problem at all, at all!
Writing about money often gets way too serious. Many people are funny about money but it isn't the "ha ha" funny. It is funny because they spend money they really don't have to buy things they really don't need to impress people they really don't like. Do you agree that is really funny?
I often cite my Depression background for being careful with money. I call it being economical, but many of my friends and family call it "cheap." They kid me, at length, about my Discover Credit Card which some businesses refuse to honor.
I'm adopting a new line from now on; I'm bright enough and educated enough now to be contented about money. I've geared down my yearning power to equal my earning power. I hope you have too.