You might have heard the alarm bells going off with interest rates increasing. Yes, they’ve been historically low since the 2008 economic crash. Most people seem to have forgotten that we have an interest rate at all. Mainly because savings-type accounts earn pennies. Interest rates do not make for the most exciting chat topic. I have a friend that rolls her eyes every time I talk about the economy. Little does she realize that the interest rate has many tentacles.
We’ve been on an interest holiday since the Great Recession. Mesopotamians paid higher rates in 3,000 BC.
It was reported back in early 2009 that 10,000 a people a day were losing their jobs. Job losses meant that people stopped spending money, furthering the damage to the economy. It almost seemed that there was no way out of the disaster. As you can see from the second image that I presented that consumer spending was down, way down. Consumer spending supports the economy at the rate of about 70%, so you can see how job losses and reduced spending were going to delay economic recovery. In addition, average people not only stopped spending but were struggling with accumulated debt.
Job losses were the news of the day. I remember being at my follow-up job only two months, when I had two cell phone calls in one week from friends that both lost their jobs. Many employers handled it poorly, witnessed by the remaining employees.
Ten years ago, back in October, 2008, the stock market tanked. The uncertainty from the big bank bailouts and near-collapse of the economy was reflected in the wild volatility of the stock market.
The Dow Jones Average, at over 11,000 in the third quarter of 2008 was now below 8,500, resulting in year-to-date stock losses of over $8.3 trillion. The news of government bailouts rocked the markets and no one wanted to be in equities. It was a scary and dismal time and the instability was not to be contained.
Imagine losing your job or worrying about your job security at the same time knowing that your investment portfolio was evaporating. Not a fun time.
Today’s flashback to 2008 follows the buyout of Bear Stearns, how their executives knew the financial reality and how the subsequent fallout of the failure of the large financial institutions was forming. CNBC aired a special, Crisis on Wall Street, on the frenzy of reactions during mid-September 2008 to deal with the quick domino-effect of the bankruptcies of the country’s largest banks. If you didn’t watch it, you can probably catch a rerun.
On today’s vlog session, I’ve gathered the following topics – all related to debt:
Flashback to 2008 – Bear Stearns: the precursor of the Great Recession
Assessing stocks – the most important company metric is debt and risk level
Book review: Squeezed. What the author describes as new for our economy is actually not new at all. And by maintaining low levels of debt, you can maintain a high level of resiliency when responding to changes in the financial environment.
How are you managing your debt or is your debt managing you?
When it comes to your financial knowledge, stop pretending that you don’t know what you’re doing. There are more resources than ever. If you’re a book lover, read a few on personal finance. If you’re a net surfer, start Googling up on financial terms.
Answer the following questions and take a few minutes to research anything that you don’t know. Don’t be afraid, we all have an area that we need to focus on. These items are off the beaten path, and from what I’ve seen, points that cause confusion. Some are Yes/No or True/False, while others are thought questions.
I’m all about sharing knowledge. I learn something new every day and never stop reading.
True or False: I have a progressive career plan that will increase my earnings within the next five years.
The last time I improved my work skills was ______________.
What I’ve accomplished during 2017 inspires me to keep it rolling. I pulled off some difficult projects at work and earned a top evaluation rating and raise. I finished an 18-credit certificate in Web Programming. I started this blog. Learning WordPress on my own and customizing the blog page was a challenge, but the struggle stretched my skillset. Blogging isn’t just about writing. It’s learning about social media, like Facebook, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, guest posting, and commenting on other blogs. My professional development wasn’t ignored. I conducted two financial planning workshops and presented at the IRS Practice and Procedures conference with the New York State Society of CPAs.