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.
In late October, 2008, the fear had set in. A writer from Newsweek chose to report on the edge of positivity but, really, there was none to be found. Everywhere you turned, there was more bad news.
Even the run on foreclosed properties had a downside. The article reports that foreclosed owners often left feces on doorknobs and banisters. That’s a reflection of the anger level of homeowners that had to abandon their homes. Many were on the verge of bankruptcy.
The “Ownership Society” rallied by President Bush was meant to include every American into the homeownership club. That went down in flames, taking the rest of the country with it.
Today’s first topic is asset diversification
I promised to talk about asset diversification and I know you’ve heard of this. You may feel a yawn coming on. I know, it’s not very exciting. What is exciting is knowing that your hard-earned investments won’t be wiped away in an instant if “Wall Street” makes a bad decision.
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 saving money, there are many ways to economize. Taking your lunch to work is a great way to avoid overspending. Then, there’s finding better alternatives. A generic store brand is worth a try and may be just as good as a name-brand item. Ultimately, there’s doing without. However, the habit of doing without may offer diminishing or detrimental returns.
Frugal, froogal, froot-gle. Nothing good can come of acting out a word that sounds way goofy. I’m reminded of 18th-century farm living where vocabulary was as limited as the society’s vocational opportunities. No one’s saying that you can’t adjust some habits downward, but developing an austerity habit may not help your future as much as you think it will. Frugalizing to the nth degree can be harmful to your well-being.
Investing. The word alone connotes stocks and bonds. Diversification is the sister term associated with investing. Subtract your age from 100 to figure out how much of an allocation in bonds you should own. Why do we need to have bonds? And what makes bonds a necessary portfolio companion? While trying to understand portfolio allocation a little bit better, I came up with the following five points.
Bonds are fairly simple to understand, they’re loans with a specific duration. They pay interest at stated dates. There’s an issue date and a maturity date. The issue date is the beginning of the loan and the maturity date is when the principal is paid back to the investor. Therefore, unlike stocks that you own forever, bonds are a temporary loan to the issuer.