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Uncertain Times

May 17, 2010

My father-in-law told me that before I married his daughter I needed to save up enough money for us to be able to live on for 6 months without a job.  It was extremely difficult but well worth it.  Saving like that was something I would not have done on my own.  I saw it then as a combination of planning ahead and thinking negatively, or at least preparing for the worst.

Most of us have felt the impact of the recession in one way or another.  Some folks have lost their jobs, some have stocks that rise and plummet while others just acknowledge they pay higher grocery bills.  A Gallup Poll had some interesting findings this past month on American’s perceptions of job security and also their actual financial savings.

1 in 5 Americans feel it is “very likely” or “fairly likely” they will lose their jobs within the next 12 months.  On top of that, Americans who said they were “not at all likely” to lose their jobs fell 19 percentage points to 38%.  Fear and anxiety have gripped a lot of people.  To make matters worse, 91% of people making less than $30,000/yr could not make it past 4 months.  It isn’t much better for those making more money, 76% of people making $30-$75,000/yr could not last beyond 4 months financially before hearing their finances go crunch.  It is a bad situation for many people.

Somewhere down the line I forgot my father-in-law’s wisdom.  Call it the power of positive thinking but I got lazy and our 6 month safety net turned into parking meter change.  My guess is that for most people in this country that voice of wisdom is being drowned out by everyday needs and the wants that come from being exposed to 3000 advertisements each day.

Today is a good day to revisit your finances.  To figure out what you can and can’t control in this crazy time.  To listen to the wisdom of your in-laws…or at least to mine.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jay Barrow permalink
    May 17, 2010 1:51 pm

    Great post! I started listening to Dave Ramsey back in 2005 and started paying off my debts about a year later. By the time it was all payed off in 2007 there wasn’t a recession. About a year later the recession hit. It was even more apparent to me how important it is to have a “rainy day fund” set aside and debts paid off if possible. I hope the good from the recession is that people might be better equipped to handle lifes sparse times.

  2. May 17, 2010 2:09 pm

    Thanks Jay! Hope all is well for you and your wife. Would love any recommendations in regard to reading, podcasts, etc. that would help out in this area.

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