Thursday, March 5, 2009

The End Of The World As We Know It?

Today the DOW index dropped another near 300 points. With no bottom in sight yet, what is the average American to think about the future?

Well we all know that the "lower the lows", the "higher the highs" right? The problem is that when we finally get to that magical turnaround point, there may not be many of us left standing to take advantage of it.

I've been through many recessions of varying degrees but like many of us, I worked hard all my life to reach a point where I became my own boss. Thirteen years ago, I founded The first couple of years were difficult as starting any new business can be. We experienced some highs and some lows particularly immediately following the 9/11 tragedies. The next few years were great for business and we were all busy making money

In late 2006, my business volume began waining. I wondered if this could be a sign of the beginning of a massive economic adjustment. The decline in sales continued and accelerated towards the end of 2007 and through the first three quarters of 2008. And then, WHAMO, the financial markets collapsed followed by even more dramatic and continued drops in the value of homes nationwide. Consumers were now maxed out and loosing equity and wealth faster than anyone could keep track off.

That meant near disaster for my company and for millions of small business owners during the last holiday season. The beginning of 2009 has seen the catastrophic decline in consumer confidence continue along with the dramatic slide in just about every industry I can think of .

Deep breath. So where do you go from here? If history is any indication, it could take up to a decade for our standard of living to return to 2005 levels. That means that we all need to re evaluate our priorities, tighten our belts and put away as much of our income as possible to weather the storms ahead. In the meantime, don't sweat your credit score. Put your money under your mattress and tell the credit card companies that as soon as you recover your losses, they can look to recover theirs. Put your family FIRST - not your creditors. Why? They're the ones singularly responsible for creating the deplorable conditions we'll have to live under for years to come. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

What do you think?

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