I am so depressed and worried by this economic climate. I feel like every time I turn on the TV, be it the news, a commercial, or even prime time programming, an inordinate number of sentences start with the phrase "In this economic downturn...". I actually heard someone say "This is the worst economic climate we've ever been in" on the Chelsea Lately Show!! I'm also heartbroken on a daily basis by stories of people losing their homes, their jobs or having to watch their small businesses fail by no fault of their own. It's scary, it's depressing and above all, it's aggravating.
What I know about economics would fit into a thimble, probably leaving ample room for an index finger. But from what I have gathered, this whole global mess of lost jobs, homes and general financial security can be pin-pointed to the actions of a handful, when compared to the global population, of people. My understanding (and don't bother correcting me; if endless hours of BBC World News didn't get it into my head, you won't fair better in 2,000 characters or less), is that money was lent between banks, and the "toxic assets" didn't out to be very good pieces of collateral. Now the whole banking community is re-enacting And Then There Were None. I get it. If you're stuck on an island with six people and a corpse, you likely won't want to go explore the creaky mansion alone with one of your suspicious companions. But you are going to have to do so eventually. The only question is "When?" Do you stay in the relative security of the drawing room as your supplies (or in the economic version, jobs) are whittled away until you have absolutely no choice. Or do you man up and volunteer to reconnoitre before you reach that point?
I know I am a good mixture of simplistic and misinformed on this issue, but I feel like the various steps to recovery are inevitable, and we could all just decide to do it faster and get back to stability sooner. One thing we all keep hearing about is "Consumer Confidence". It's usually positioned, in a delicious twist of irony, after doom and gloom statements about people losing all their savings or the Dow Index acting like lead balloon. But, essentially, the take home message is if we all throw caution to the wind and indulge in a little retail therapy, everything will recover. What the heck??? The whole complex world of finance can be reduced to the plot of Elf? Are you kidding me?
Well, spending money has never been too much of a problem for me. My father always joked that I had an allergy to money, which led me to get rid of it as soon as possible. In more recent years, I have attempted to be better with my personal finances, and while I am successful about staying out of the red, I don't often foray to far into the black either. With a reasonable postdoc salary (compared to my grad school pittance), and a looming wedding, I have been making better efforts to avoid non-essential purchases.
I was especially tempted by the Firm Wave system. Recently, I have been working out as most soon-to-be-brides do. Typically, when I am in my fitness phases, I shower myself in exercise-related treats to keep myself motivated. I was about to enter my billing address on the Firm website, when I decided to convince myself that I have enough exercise equipment and this was not a necessary expenditure. Over the next few days, I went back and forth on the issue, until I saw the new issue of Newsweek on the break-room coffee table.
Yippee! It's not wasteful splurging! It's my civic duty. I checked my bank balance to ensure I had enough money to buy the system (buying things on credit is why we all here after all!) and Hey Presto...
Even better. In keeping with the Buy American provision of the Stimulus Plan...