What comes to mind for most people, when they think of the recession, is not something pleasant. The recession is often associated with loss of a job, separation from family, significant lifestyle changes, foreclosure, etc. None of these are positive images. Yet, there are many reasons why I love the recession.
When the 2008 recession hit, it meant a lot of significant challenges for me and those closest to me. It was just before I was graduating college. As a result, I graduated in one of the most difficult times to find a job, even with an undergraduate degree. The four year degree that I had been deceived into thinking would be the ticket to a high-paying job and financial security left me disenchanted. I went through college thinking that the world would allow me to follow my passion and I could change the world for a better place while earning a living. I hate to say that I was wrong, but the recession shocked me into reality. It taught me that my naive understanding of life after graduation was mistaken. While the recession taught me to wake up and be pro-active in terms of a career, it is just one of the many lessons that it taught the U.S. society.
My brother and sister in law, were in a much different situation. Both were in their careers and had been for a couple years. They were doing well and just starting their family, meaning that she quit her job to be a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, they had purchased a house just before the housing market crashed. As a result of their small down payment, they now owed more money than the house was worth and were stuck in an adjustable mortgage, sending their monthly payments even higher. Things only got worse as my brother faced possible layoffs and was forced to go part-time for a few months.
While the recession taught me the importance of work experience and a career, it taught them the importance of living well below their means. They had been over-spending for too long because they could afford to, but when things got worse, they realized how susceptible they were to an economic downturn.
The recession, even though horrible, has taught many people valuable lessons. Through a difficult time, it has forced many to wake up to financial responsibility. As I have learned, sometimes it takes huge financial mistakes to learn responsibility.
What has the recession taught you?