I’m Just A Gal Who Watches The Economy

Forget about what you read in the newspapers. We all know that news is fake. Ditto for financial news. Do you really think America is doing that well? Use your eyes and look around you. I doubt very much anyone of you is living in a bubble.

Do you see that homelessness in America is soaring? Why is that? Do you really believe it is the homeless person’s fault on why they are living in the streets, sleeping on the sidewalks and taking craps in building hallways? Think these people are just useless drunks and drug addicts? Homelessness is on the rise because the rents are too high and their pay is too low. The cost of insurance is skyrocketing. Most everything today is valued too high and over priced. Do you really think people can survive on the new minimum wage of $15 an hour? Not if they are slowly being replaced by kiosks and AI (Artificial Intelligence). In other words, people are slowly losing their jobs or are slowly being paid with paper printed money that is worth less and can no longer cover the higher costs of almost everything on this planet.

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stock photo of NYC homeless man

Housing today is overpriced. What’s the point of selling your now expensive home or condo only to turn around and buy another overpriced home or condo? Do you actually think you can take your ‘profits’ and turn it into more income by investing in an overpriced stock market with overpriced stocks and bonds? Interest rates may be coming down which in turn has made mortgages affordable BUT you are buying a home or condo or property that is over priced. Has anyone forgotten about the 2008 housing crisis? Apparently, they have. What are you going to do when the housing bubble bursts? Yes you’ll have a low interest mortgage on a house but that house isn’t worth what you paid for it. Duh?

Side Note: quickest group becoming homeless is the elderly. (click here)

Take a look around you. What do you see? Do you see store after store closing, laying off thousands of their workers because, as ‘they’ claim everyone is buying stuff on the internet? Do you really think that’s true? Why isn’t any news operation following some of those laid off workers? Where are they now? Did they find another job? Say as a UPS driver since everyone is ordering online? Perhaps they are working at Amazon right now, at that infamous $15 an hour? See what happens to them as stated above.

There were 7,000 store closings, so far in 2019. That’s way more than the number of stores that closed in 2018. Big brand names, such as The Gap, CVS, Dress Barn and Pier 1 (click here) are closing their doors and laying off thousands and thousands of workers. Where are all these workers now? Have they found other jobs? That pay more or just as much? Or are they learning to adjust to live on less?

Have you noticed that more fast food operations, such as McDonald’s have installed kiosks that can take your order, pay your bill and deliver your product at window #7. There’s no need to speak to a human being anymore or a counter person. AI’s got your order. Your best bet working for McDonald’s now would be as a computer programmer or technical systems repair person. That’s only if and when the system can’t repair itself. Don’t wait up for the call to come in any time soon.

Look at the overpriced costs of automobiles. Did you ever think an SUV or pick-up truck would cost $70,000? How about the costs of appliances, such as a dishwasher, washer, refrigerator, dryer? Thanks to this new thing called ‘tariffs’ your every day appliances just became unaffordable. Unless you take out a low interest loan. Two years ago, did you ever hear of the word ‘tariff’?  What new words will be coming up next week, next month, next year?

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There’s a reason why most of you have no idea what I am talking about. Most people don’t. That’s because most people, through no fault of their own, have no idea what financial responsibility is. It’s NOT taught in school. None of your friends will talk about money. Your parents didn’t know what fiscal responsibility is or was, so how can you blame yourselves? You’re taught at school by teachers who are mostly poorer than a church mouse. No fault of theirs either. They have no idea what it takes to run a company or meet a weekly payroll. They just know that money is evil. So are the big corporations. Well, look around you. Use your eyes. Those big corporations are taking over the planet and you know nothing about it because it’s never talked about, written about or discussed. Financial literacy is NOT taught in schools for a reason. That’s how ‘they’ control you into being incompetent worker bees for your whole entire life. ‘They’ become rich while people like you become poorer.

Some fortunate people, like myself, have to learn about money the old fashioned way: we fail at it. Then and only then do we learn the valuable lessons of proper money management. I’ve got something that isn’t taught anywhere. It’s called fiscal experience. Unfortunately, it took me a lifetime to learn it but there it is. As I stated, about myself, in a previous post (click here):

Shall we ask survivors, such as myself, what it was like going through The Stock Market Crash of 1987 (I lost everything I had and had to file bankruptcy. I didn’t have the fifty cents needed to go over a bridge to borrow $50 from a good friend of mine), The 1995 Recession (seniors were eating dog and cat food. Thankfully, I wasn’t a senior then BUT I do remember how difficult it was putting food on the table. Very embarrassing), The Dot Com Disaster of 2001 (I lost my computer business at Christmas time and did not have the money to buy a Christmas tree. We cut a bush down off the side of a road. I hung my cookie cutters on the tree as ornaments. I started selling my possessions to make ends meet) and finally, the fabulous Great Recession of 2008 (by this time I smartened up: I had no debt, no mortgage, no car loans, no credit cards and friggin’ cash in a bank! ABSOLUTELY NO INVESTMENTS WHATSOEVER WITH WALL STREET. We breezed through the Great Recession with nary a scar nor a bad night’s dream)

My financial experience over the years has alerted me to watch for red flags. They’re everywhere people. But we are too wrapped up in euphoria to know. Everyone keeps hinting at an upcoming recession because we know, at least I hope we know, that things can’t stay up forever. Our economy is slowing. There’s the yield curve inversion, which is a true indication that a recession is coming. What is a yield curve inversion?

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You can educate yourself by reading more about it here, here and here.

Treasury Bonds are down. No more 3% to 4% interest on bonds or CDs.  Many retirees rely on high CD rates, me included, as a way of making safe income during our retirement years. Well, that security is on its way out and it’s gone, gone, gone. What’s a retiree to do? Usually they take on riskier risks because they need and they want to make up the deficit. Good luck with that folks. Easiest and quickest way to lose your money during the neediest time in your elderly life. Social security is on its way to bust in the next few years. Hope you’re NOT depending on Social Security to tide you through your Golden Years? Ditto for your preposterous 401K retirement funds (which are invested in over inflated stocks all the while as you are losing money paying pesky investment fees)? And puh-leeease don’t tell me you’re not worried about your bank collapsing, because after all you have your cash invested in FDIC banking institutions.

How big will the next crash be? We all should know by now that markets always crash. What are you going to do? How will you be prepared? Or unprepared? Don’t look towards me because I’m not giving out any financial advice. Why should I? You have to learn your own route to solvency and financial well being. Look for educators or teachers who speak from experience. Not from something they learned in a book or a classroom. I don’t care if you have a PHD in Financial Literacy. You’re nothing more than a joke. You have no idea what you are talking about. Experience in THEE best teacher on the planet. Look for “educators” who have been there, done that and have successfully come out better on the other side AND MAINTAINED THEIR SOLID FINANCIAL PLANNING REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IS DOING. Because it’s all fake news, people. It’s all fake news.

 

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20 comments

  1. Cindy, this is profound, and I totally agree. We all need to pay attention to money, and a wise parent will teach their children the value of money, and to be very careful with it, from a very young age.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sally. Do you recall a woman, named Amy Dacyczyn who wrote The Tightwad Gazette back in the late 1990’s? We were going through a serious recession then but Amy wrote her book and when she saved a million dollars, she stopped production. She hasn’t written a single word since then BUT every time the economy falters, she’s dredged up again by the news media. Amy made a statement and said why don’t people learn their lessons? When the economy gets good again, people go out and spend, rack up debt, then the economy falters and they are back at ground zero. Stupid.
      We all need to watch our money, learn as much as we can, for like FOREVER. It doesn’t stop. Amy didn’t cease living her thrifty lifestyle just because she became a millionaire!
      You can still get Amy’s book at Amazon or at your library. Here’s the link. Good luck to all of us!
      https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Tightwad-Gazette-Promoting-Alternative/dp/0375752250

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Cindy,

    Yes, we can count on a recession. Since way back in history, these down turns come and go. Whether banks, investors, government, or war causes them, they happen. We have a record number of people working, but many are holding two jobs. I can remember my brother in law, the farmer, in the 60’s and 70’s, not only farming, but holding another job.

    We are up north at our old cabin. (We bought it in 1980 for $30,000) Our neighbors are our son’s age. Both husband and wife have a full time and a part time job. Up here wages are low (and she is a school administrator) and winter layoffs are common.

    We order more and more off of Amazon. Also, we baby boomers are buying less in clothes. In the summer I wear shorts, cut offs, or jeans. My dress pants are only for special occasions for which we have fewer and fewer. My Skechers can last for five years or more and they are washable. My sandals are crocs, attractive and bought used. I could have them for 10 years. My better leather and dress shoes I had when I worked. I have been retired 11 years. We have always tried to keep cars for 10 years or more. We often buy used. (Although I hear that is harder to do.). Goodwill shopping is booming. We are contributing to all these store closings.

    We now order off the senior menu. We eat a lesser amount of food. Senior portions are just perfect. Many time they come with dessert. My husband gets iced tea and I get water. With tip we can get by for $20.00. We love fast food. McDonald’s fish sandwiches are one of the best around. I often get a salad with that sandwich. We can eat there for just over $12.00. I know older friends who go to Culver’s, a local midwest change that is branching out, and order the children’s meal thatcomes with a free cup of custard.

    Since my husband had a spinal arthritis from his teens and was not able to hold a full time job and I choose a career in education I figured we would never be wealthy, so I planned very careful. Years ago I got the Tightwad Gazette by subscription. I still have those issues. My parents went though tight times. I learned much from them. My mother had a huge list of inexpensive, homemade meals which both my sister and I still use today. We have a Christmas savings, so that holiday does not stress us out. We never spend our whole monthly monies. We always save. For years now we have been able to pay cash for our new or newer cars. I continue to study and practice frugally.

    I do not know who is going to cause the next crash, but it is coming! Thank you for you article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, you are singing sweet music to my ears. Bless you woman! I think both you and I found the secret path to retirement financial success. We do almost all of the things you guys are doing. We got to McDonald’s for a special breakfast. Only costs us $12 vs $25 at a diner. We also do go to that diner for the senior specials. For $8.50 we get a complete meal: soup or salad, entree with 2 sides, dessert and bottomless cup of coffee or tea. We try to keep it under $20 with the tip. Sorry waitress if I can’t give you any more.
      We used to buy new cars when we were younger and very stupid. Now? We buy and drive used cars that are Certified Pre-Owned direct from reputable dealers. I am driving a 2015 Dodge Citadel that retails for $56,000 back then (it’s probably $65K by now) but I only paid $20,000 for it (with my old trade-in). Each time I get in it (pure luxury BTW) I laugh all the way to the bank. The new owner took the financial hit. Not me! And yes, you are right. Used cars are more precious than new cars. Go figure!
      I buy most of our clothes at Goodwill. If the store is located in a rich neighborhood, you get some mighty good buys. Hubby needed white pants for the summer. Old Navy was selling them, on sale, for $30 bucks. I picked up a pair for hubby for $5. As I said, we laugh all the way to the bank.
      I learned how to be thrifty for Amy Dacyczyn when I experienced my first recession back in the middle to late 1990’s. As I said, older people back then were eating dog food. Painful lesson to learn.
      Stay thrifty my friend. Respect money. Hold onto your values. Enjoy your life (within reason, of course!) Thank you so much for your comment. I only wish you and your family the very best!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I happened into a 4% bond in 2014 and a 3% one last year. Both times I maxed out what I was allowed to put in. We are still, in a limited way, in the market. It has been a roller coaster for sure. We don’t put any money in that we will need in the next two years. I am still averaging 10% year over year. I wish I could be riskier- but I know my limit. My trust did not leave until the machine crash a few years ago—the market is totally rigged.

    My kids are huge savers- one having almost as much in his retirement savings then me! I appreciate their minimalist lifestyle while raising three kids.Their goal is a fully paid for house in five years.
    None of my family has stepped foot in a mall of any type in the last five to ten years. We are on line buyers (and our mail man hates us). My daughter and dil are both amazing at finding children’s things second hand (there are some great Facebook pages out there. They tend to buy from dual income professionals who can “afford” to burn it.
    I have noticed a huge uptick in the lower class. IN the last ten months our food pantry moved from providing food for 12 families a week to well over 30. I have heard some grousing about the families who show up in pretty new cars…the problem is those people are newly poor. They are usually in a car lease. It would cost more to turn it in then use it and bankrupt it. Frustrating.
    We tend to fall back on my husband’s Mormon roots. We know how to conserve, grow, can, fix, barter, and save. I think we could whether almost anything as long as our house stands. Maybe you should check out raised bed gardening and some local farmer markets for that type of “stuff”. It made some of my fears disappear. Now my motto is:If we go down, the entire country will be at the bottom. Communally , we will have no place to go but up.

    Like

    • Hi Janette. I tried my hand at square gardening and I was a bomb. I live amidst so many farmers and ranchers, supporting as many as I can, that if we do have a downturn, I know where I can get fruit, veggies and a good side of beef, lamb, chicken or pork. My neighbors!
      You are very very fortunate earning 10% per year. Congrats to you both. Being smart is nothing to take lightly. I’m certain the two of you are well versed and careful, careful.
      I’m locked into an investment earning me 4.21% BUT it’s callable. UGH!!! Every month I cringe. When the Feds lowered their rates I thought for sure I was a gonner. Not yet. Then I realized, if they call, they have to return ALL my money. They may not be able to do that nor want to do that. They may need my money more than the roller coaster interest rates. In any event, what will be, will be. I’ll just turn it over and make a bit less. We’ll manage.
      You see more families at the food pantry? I find more and more once well-to-do people shopping at our Aldi. So much so, many times the shelves are bare. Management can’t keep up. We just came back from Aldi and second week in a row they didn’t have our bread! When we got back to our car, parked in the back, there were 2 people dumpster diving in Aldi’s garbage container. My husband said to me ‘those people ain’t poor. Those new tires on their car cost over $1000!”
      Our eyes will never lie to us.
      Look around.
      We’ll finally see the truth.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Peace & hugs, Janette.

      Like

    • Julie this is fabulous news. I’m not that close to Albany but I hope this program comes to my neighborhoods. Wow!! Where do I sign? Thanks for the link. I’ll keep my eye out.

      Like

  4. I can’t argue with experience, though I’m not quite so pessimistic. Yes, failing and starting over is a valuable teacher, but I’ve always been on the slow and steady course, never big risks so never big rewards or losses, just tightening the belt a bit more when needed. We’re doing that now, as we are trying to squirrel away for college costs we’ll need to cash flow and modest home upkeep and improvements.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cindi, thanks for writing this. It had some interesting thoughts. I also read the article you linked to about the homeless elderly. Hubby and I are members of that part of the baby boom and I would agree with some of the thoughts expressed in that article about coming of age in a recession. We only did ok b/c my husband was an engineer and we moved to the East Coast as there were not many jobs in the Midwest when we graduated. We did return to the Midwest in the late ’90s when the economy was better and the cost of living where we lived was getting harder and harder.

    Right now we are doing fine, as is our family. We have done the best we can to get our kids a college education as we saw how having an education helped us. We have tried to be good stewards of what God gave us through the years. We are on the last big push to retirement. I am a big believer, like you, that God has helped us, and always taken care of us, and I carry that with me to the next stage of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chris, God is good. He makes sure we have what we need, not always what we want. In the end however, God’s goodness is all that matters. Yup, the East Coast may be good for a well paying job but you were better off returning home to your roots. Getting old in the East Coast has its downfalls. Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  6. I totally agree with you. I live in a town of 1,000 that had its only grocery store close last year. We do have a Dollar General. The closest Wal Mart is 20 miles away and that, along with Dollar General, and farm markets, because we are in rural catfish country, is where I shop for food. Most of my clothes comes from the thrift stores in the college town where some of my kids live. I will occasionally go the Aldi there, and to SAMS. Any underwear comes from Wal Mart or Dollar General. I have bought nothing on line, except maybe an airline ticket to visit my daughter. The only “new” item I have bought, was when my futon was toast, I went to a furniture store 20 miles away, found a couch they were going to send back to the company because it had torn when they took it out of the package, and bought it, with delivery and taxes, for $380. I stuck black duct tape over the tear and you cannot even see it. I was sorta afraid of buying a used sofa because of the bed bug issue. I would love to retire but I really don’t count on my pension and social security being there, or at least the full amount, so I think I need to work as long as possible. I am 59. Great post you made!

    Like

    • Thanks Cindy. How does an only grocery store close? How could it not have been profitable enough to remain open? That’s the question. You got a good deal on your couch. I’m deeply afraid of bed bugs also. If and when I buy anything at Goodwill, it comes right out of my car and into a hot dryer! Or to the washing machine. bed bugs can destroy a budget let alone your home. Yuck!
      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  7. Best Bun here.

    As always your posts are informative and thought provoking

    Several years ago there was a Canadian tv show called “Continuum”. The show had the premise that big corporations rather than individual governments ran the world. At first I thought this was pure science fiction, but every year I see more and more truth to this theory.

    DH and I have small retirement savings but do not have any debt. When we go into our local gourmet restaurant aka McDonald’s we sip our senior coffee and thank God for all his Blessings.

    Proudly hung the dollar store flag on the front door.

    Best wishes from Best Bun.

    Like

    • Hi Best Bun. You certainly are a treasure. Bless you! Isn’t the senior coffee at McDonald’s divine? Different franchises charge different amounts anywhere from .59 to .99 but nonetheless, it tastes ever so good! With free fill ups!
      May God continue to keep you and your DH well. Thank you so much for your comment!

      Like

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