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March 03, 2009


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90% of the people who have not been affected, as you say, still are seeing their retirement funds shrivel away, their property values decline and an uncertainty of life. Turning off the news will not allay anyone's recognition of higher food prices, energy (gas) etc. Ignoring Hitler didn't accomplish anything either.

There is no doubt that people have over leveraged themselves, purchased tons of useless crap on credit cards, refinanced their equity to put in stupid pools, granite counter tops, ridiculous vacations and other wasteful spending.

It is fantastic that people are finally saving money, paying off their debts and vowing never to overspend again. The lessons are being hard learned. The overspending meant overconsumption and over production of the worlds' finite resources. Less wasteful purchasing will mean less workloads, less human consumption, shorter workweeks and finally, people will have to look at themselves in the mirror and discover they are not defined by a job!

Once people have saved an adequate amount of cash, so much so that it makes them confidant and happy, and once they have eliminated most or all of their debt, confidence will return and they will once again spend. But all within reason. One car per 7-10 years. One pair of jeans every other year. One home for 30 years.


Yeah, it's amazing. But until then, no one should be happy.

PS: I do not consider you 'lucky' because you managed your own financial home ownership responsibly and correctly. Don't under rate yourself. It is beneath you. You and your husband are exceedingly smart and savvy people. Luck had nothing to do with it. You carefully planned, thought it out, discussed it with your parents, were/are well educated, well read, happily married, etc. Wonderful things like that are not accomplished casually. Please, do not berate you nor your husband. You are 2 great people!


That is hilarious and so perceptive! It is amazing how much of life happens to us in our heads first before checking reality. I confess I am afraid to spend money even though I am not a member of the 10% who are deeply effected by this severe recession. Yesterday, I decided against purchasing an envelope for 1.69 because it cost too much. I realized later that I was over reacting to the new battle cry of save, save save. I was a saver before it was popular but now I am turning frugality into a new religion—and like most religions it is all in my head.

Retired Syd

@frugal: Well as a recent inductee to the club of cheap bastards myself, I would never denigrate new-found frugality. There's nothing wrong with saving and spending responsibly.

But I don't think it's helping matters to participate in the low-level anxiety being caused by the media drumbeat of doom.

@Anon: Gosh, I would hate for people to take to heart the idea that no one should be happy until then. There's so much to appreciate right now, I hope people can find some happiness in that right now.

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas

Very wise Retired Syd.

I remember reading Dr. Andrew Weil's Eight Weeks to Optical Health (or a title similar to that) years and years ago. One of his recommendations is to eliminate or reduce TV watching - news can cause a lot of anxiety.

Love your posts!

Retired Syd

@Jules: I read that book many moons ago too. It was something like a two-week news fast, as I recall. I don't think I was able to do it (and I admit, I'm having trouble doing it now.) But he's right, I feel yucky when I follow this stuff, and it's nothing I have any control over, so what's the point of immersing myself in it? It's advice I'm sure we would all benefit from (not just as a nation for economic purposes, but for health and sanity purposes), but it is certainly hard advice to follow!


I was listening to a radio show about the history of newspaper advertising. The summary was that because, in general, people are pretty safe and happy in North America, doom and gloom news stories sell more advertisements than happy ones. I imagine that would apply to the TV news as well. If you look hard enough, there are even some good news economy stories out there, they just don't get as much air time.

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