I’m one of those weird people that believe when things go horribly wrong, the opportunity to make your situation better for the long term quietly presents itself.
I realize it’s not a popular thesis to propose when we’re losing thousands of jobs everyday and 8% of the American public isn’t paying their mortgage on time, but sometimes the best way to educate someone is to let them try, fall flat on their face, and ask them afterwards just what the heck went wrong.
Only then do you get their attention after their arrogance or stupidity has been put in check.
Big Picture Reasons Why I Love the Recession
- We’ve all had one heck of a wakeup call. Instead of a waking up to the normal alarm clock buzzer, someone has thrown a bucket of ice cold water on all us. Quickly followed by a pissed off drill sergeant reminding us we’ve been slacking for the last 10 years and now is the time to get back to the basics.
- People are beginning to think with their brain, not their wallets. The idea of disposable income is becoming less commonplace since we tend to value a dollar more when we’re not sure how many we’ll have in an uncertain future. Because of this, American’s are opening savings accounts in huge numbers.
- The strong get stronger and the weak will die off – maybe! Evolution supposedly still applies to the business world, so any company who offers mediocre products/services, will quickly go the way of the dodo bird. Unless they’re “too big to fail” and receive a few billion in bailout money.
- Overpaid and moronic CEOs become household names. Dragging the once arrogant, now incredulous CEOs before Congress brought the overcompensation issue into the public spotlight, as well as the numerous reports of management putting emphasis on profit over analytics.
- There is an incentive to buy almost everything. Whether it’s a coupon in your Sunday newspaper, zero percent interest loans for a new car, or an $8000 tax deduction for buying a new home and a free IRS efile to boot, incentives are out in force hoping to lure in new customers. Excellent news for bargain shoppers.
- The American public is actually saving money! Shocking! We’re actually saving around 5% of our bring home salary according to the January 2009 consumer spending report. It only takes the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression to scare us into submission.
- Necessity is the mother of all invention. When people are unemployed, some have a tendency to start their own business. Recessions can paradoxically be the best time to start a new business according to some.
- Going Green becomes a necessary evil in Corporate America. When the bottom line is in the red, the ideas dismissed as cutesy or treehugger-like are adopted to save a few bucks. Frugality and green living go hand in hand after all.
- Everyone is now aware their retirement accounts need regular maintenance. I’ve never seen so many people so concerned about their retirement accounts until they were chopped in half. You never know what you got until it’s gone.
- It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked. I’ll let you interpret Warren Buffett’s quote as you see fit.
Reasons for Everyday Folks to Love the Recession
- Gas prices are below $2.50 per gallon for most everyone in the U.S. That’s the best tax cut we can give the American public.
- Food prices have come off their highs. That sneaky “grocery shrink ray” may still be in effect since companies are looking to boost profits any way they can, but it’s still better than paying the prices from mid 2008.
- Cost of basic materials has fallen. The cost of lumber at my local Home Depot has dropped by nearly half what it was 2 years ago.
- Anyone seeking a loan must have a high to average credit score. Trust me, if you are whining after being rejected for a loan, it’s probably in your best interests that you were turned down in the first place. A person applying for a subprime loan during a recession is like making sketchy decisions after 2 a.m. and a nice buzz. It’s best to just go home and sleep it off.
- The simple things in life quickly become the finer things in life. Actually having dinner with your kids, your parents, or maybe even your in-laws can actually become a time to realize that you’ve got it made and didn’t know it.
Purely Selfish Reasons Why I Love this Recession
- Generation X has the investing opportunity of a lifetime. If you’re a long term investor with a retirement account, you should be licking your chops when seeing the stock market down ~50% from it’s highs. Dollar cost averaging into this market over the next few years could be the investment opportunity of a lifetime.
- That uniquely American idea of “hope” finally got taken down a few notches. Don’t get me wrong, hope is a good thing but I’m glad to see a mix of both hope and pragmatism. Pulling an ostrich and sticking your head in the dirt blindly hoping we’ll come out of this mess quickly is fallacy at best.
- Vulture investing opportunities are everywhere. Whether it’s buying a one year old SUV at half price or a foreclosure at 25% off, everyday people who saved more than they spent see the current economy as one large garage sale.
- Environmentalists are witnessing a noticeable scale back in pollutants. If we’re consuming less, we obviously don’t need to chop down as many trees or use as much coal to power the factories that produce the worthless junk we mindlessly consume.
- Giving a few wiseacre smirks to those that ignored the old ways. I’m not much of one to say “I told you so”, but I don’t mind giving a smirk when I read moronic stories of people living beyond their means.
Got any reasons why you love the recession? And don’t say you shorted the market… never celebrate in front of people who just died and got sent back to the minors.