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  • How is your "economy"?

    I keep seeing news reports about Americans saying that the economy is bad, and that the economy and inflation are at the top of their list of concerns.
    The President's approval ratings are getting hammered as a result.

    From a personal perspective, my economy, or my finances, are doing just fine.
    In fact, they are doing great.
    I have a feeling that most people who are going to read and reply to this are in a similar situation.
    Over the years, that has been the case on this forum.
    I suppose this group is quite different from the average person.
    Sometimes it's hard for me to relate or to see how some out there could be struggling.
    Especially when my portfolio keeps hitting new record highs every day

    Brian

  • #2
    90% of stocks are owned by 10% of the population. The vast majority of Americans are not meaningfully impacted by the records being set on Wall St each day.

    60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, including 40% of those making over 100K/yr.

    Most of the regulars here are unicorns. We're in that 10%. Some of us are in the top 5% or less.

    I appreciate you saying that it's hard to relate to the struggles of others. So many people refuse to see that or accept that life isn't so rosy for everyone. How often do we see posts here saying the poor just need to get better jobs and stop wasting their money and work harder and everything would be fine? Lots of people like to blame poverty on the poor and no matter how many times they suggest that, it won't ever be true.

    One thing that makes relating to others hard is that talking about this stuff isn't very common. People pretend that all is well even though behind the scenes they are drowning and barely getting by.

    To answer your question, our personal economy is great. We are multimillionaires with over $3 million in liquid assets. I just Googled that and it puts us in the top 4.41% of the population (and that figure is for total net worth; I'm not even counting house, cars, etc.). I recently cut back to part time work and I'm gearing up to drop to per diem some time this year. If I really wanted to, I could fully retire at any time. I'm 57 years old. I'm a unicorn.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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    • #3
      For us, our economy is doing extremely well. After all of our spending in 2021 we're still up hundreds of thousands compared to the previous year.

      In 2021, we had a party for our son at an amusement park. They catered the food. It was around $300. They sent us something in the mail the other day about booking a pavilion again, and an updated menu with new pricing. Sure enough, prices have gone up 30ish%. If we ordered the same thing for 2022, it would cost around $400 now. We talked about how this is going to deter a lot of people from having them cater. To us, its meaningless, but to a lot, thats significant. I feel for people who are struggling. I dont know what the answer is for those people. People are dealt different hands throughout life. Some have good hands and screw it up while others are screwed from the get go. It sucks.

      Comment


      • #4
        I live on the rural interface of a major city in a metro area with base or large corporate HQ for Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, T-Mobile, F5 Networks, Paccar, Nordstroms, REI, Costco, Boeing, Weyerhaeuser. The area is one of the top 3 large-medical and biotech employers. And we have rich natural resources with operations in timber, mining, transportation/ports, fishing, conservation, agriculture, across the entire state. There is ample opportunity to find GOOD employment in this area.

        Yet, I am a member on all the local "neighborhood" and surrounding small community pages and SO MANY people are looking for work, let's go brandon, I'm broke because of gas and meat prices--it's all the government's fault, taxes make me poor (specifically, one party). One community thinks its so hilarious they erected a huge political billboard to let everyone know how dissatisfied they are with their situation.

        No, it isn't. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those mega-employers is hiring RIGHT NOW. There's a difference between being legitimately poor for various reasons and unable to get out from under the weight of debt, obligation, and poverty. And then there's people who refuse to re-tool or hold it together for a 9-5, or pass a drug test, because they'd rather wallow in this perceived notion, victimhood, that everything is against the working man. To that I say, actually get to work. It's a pretty broad generalization and/or maybe I don't fully understand the economics at play in those circles, or maybe I do.

        Nothing is different about the current economy. It's a tale of the Haves and Have-Nots, and the gap continues to widen between the poor, and super-rich, as well as the financially-responsible (no matter what they make) and those who refuse to balance a household budget to save their lives. And the world goes round...

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        • #5
          All good here, I've not gone to work at a regular job for four years.

          There are tons of employment opportunities and opportunities to advance ones work situation all around right now, for those that are inclined to work and get ahead.
          Heck, even those that won't work can get by pretty good if they learn how to utilize all of the assistance programs available.

          Comment


          • #6
            There are several factors that play into the President’s approval rating. If you’re trying to solve for that equation, there’s a lot more than just the economy.

            To answer your question, our personal economy is doing well objectively. I googled our net worth and, when adjusted for age, we’re close to the top 1%. Our annual income is in the top 1%. At 30 and 32 years old, we still have several years before retirement and are still in the foundation laying phase of our life. We’ve made great strides the past couple of years and things seem to be on an upward trend.

            I say objectively because it actually doesn’t feel that way. I feel very far behind and very anxious about the future.

            The economy and rising inflation are top concerns for me. We don’t have enough money to be insulated from changes in the economy. At some point, we will see a recession. It’s just a matter of a time.

            We’re trying to make good decisions and prepare ourselves for when the shoe inevitably drops. That means increasing our emergency fund to one year of expenses, diversifying investments (For example, my husband is seriously looking at buying into a laundry mat. I’m a little more skeptical on this one.), making some strategic career moves, looking for ways to increase passive income, and being very mindful of what we spend money on.

            Everything seems to be increasingly expensive. Inflation has eaten into our discretionary spending dramatically this past year. We’re just lucky we have wiggle room to play with. I really feel for those that don’t.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jenn_jenn View Post
              Inflation has eaten into our discretionary spending dramatically this past year. We’re just lucky we have wiggle room to play with. I really feel for those that don’t.
              And this is exactly what so many refuse to acknowledge.

              If your grocery bill has gone up 20% and your income hasn't, you have a problem. For someone like me who saves over 40% of income, it just means saving a little less. But for someone who is living on the edge, like very many folks, there's no surplus to draw from to cover those higher prices. You may need to start trimming necessities. Maybe you can't fill your blood pressure pill this week. Maybe you have to cancel your doctor appointment because you don't have the copay. Maybe you need to drive on those bald tires for another month. Maybe that leaky roof will just have to keep leaking.

              It is beyond arrogant to assume that just because you are doing well, everyone else is - or should be - too.
              Steve

              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                I appreciate you saying that it's hard to relate to the struggles of others. So many people refuse to see that or accept that life isn't so rosy for everyone. How often do we see posts here saying the poor just need to get better jobs and stop wasting their money and work harder and everything would be fine? Lots of people like to blame poverty on the poor and no matter how many times they suggest that, it won't ever be true.
                Personal responsibility and accountability can not be ignored.

                A friend I've posted about on here before was just bragging about taking his two sons, 6 & 8 to a wrestling match this past weekend. Tickets were $1,800 total. He is facing foreclosure within the next two months.

                My other friend with the $13k used car with a 50% interest loan just got her second speeding ticket and is planning to spend $800 on a wrap for the hood of the car. In the mean time, her husband is still home under employed with 5 kids and she could make more at McDonald's than in her current position. Additionally she talking about getting a second job to pay the probation cost for her 20 year old son for drug charges who works part time at best, and can't maintain a job for more than 2 months. She is now talking about withdraw all of the money from her 401k to pay off a credit card.

                A third friend just had his second child born by his second "baby mama".

                A 10% increase in groceries cost will absolutely rock both of these peoples' worlds, absolutely! There are many factors in life outside of our control, but basic budgeting and planning can help offset a lot of pain. I refuse to believe that any person in the country is stuck and hopeless, with the exception of those few with severe mental handicaps.

                Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                Most of the regulars here are unicorns. We're in that 10%. Some of us are in the top 5% or less.
                This is true. I came across the a post a while back that described money as a tool which requires skill to use. Building skill requires education, time, practice, failures, and learning from failures. And while financial education should be in schools, it's not. The people who find this website are looking to educate themselves, some to solve immediate problems of paying debts, some for preparing for the future in retirement.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by myrdale View Post

                  Personal responsibility and accountability can not be ignored.

                  A friend I've posted about on here before was just bragging about taking his two sons, 6 & 8 to a wrestling match this past weekend. Tickets were $1,800 total. He is facing foreclosure within the next two months.

                  My other friend with the $13k used car with a 50% interest loan just got her second speeding ticket and is planning to spend $800 on a wrap for the hood of the car. In the mean time, her husband is still home under employed with 5 kids and she could make more at McDonald's than in her current position. Additionally she talking about getting a second job to pay the probation cost for her 20 year old son for drug charges who works part time at best, and can't maintain a job for more than 2 months. She is now talking about withdraw all of the money from her 401k to pay off a credit card.

                  A third friend just had his second child born by his second "baby mama".

                  A 10% increase in groceries cost will absolutely rock both of these peoples' worlds, absolutely! There are many factors in life outside of our control, but basic budgeting and planning can help offset a lot of pain. I refuse to believe that any person in the country is stuck and hopeless, with the exception of those few with severe mental handicaps.
                  You just listed 3 people, and yes, its hard to feel sorry for those sort of tool bags. I can name a couple of my friends who also fit this bill. Again, hard to feel sorry for them. These arent the people we're feeling for.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My prickly response above is the flip side of a really old judgement that's been bantered around this board for a long time. I won't say I don't hold that judgement for the able, and that's where I think people should go make money more than just running their mouthes. I do have compassion for those who are struggling through no fault of their own. If we're talking inflation, specifically, that is a problem. I'm also of the belief that inflation is extremely complex and it's not just one person, one party that got us to where we are. However, inflation is not without fault: As we watch the oil/gas industry, they constantly do things like short-supply in order to keep prices up--high. I'd be more sympathetic to rising costs of production in their industry, if every time they did this it didn't result in record earnings/profits. And it usually does. So we know it's about more than just covering costs.

                    If we're talking jobs, wages and production, well, I think things around here are looking quite good in that realm.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Frankly, I've been too busy lately to fully recognize what's been going on in our day-to-day finances. But really, that also implies that we're doing just fine. I've noticed higher costs here & there, but our budget is such that we can flex pretty easily when required... So it hasn't (yet) led us to curtail our normal investments or savings.

                      I think the biggest point both for us "unicorns" as well as the population writ large is that living below one's means is the first & best defense against weird/challenging economic circumstances. Sometimes that can be a challenging bar to meet, but an important one nonetheless.
                      "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Financially we are good. But we are tired and exhausted. I think this whole being our own bosses and making it happen is harder than just working a job.
                        LivingAlmostLarge Blog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post
                          Financially we are good. But we are tired and exhausted. I think this whole being our own bosses and making it happen is harder than just working a job.
                          Both my older brother and mom are self employed and they work harder than anyone I know. It’s not for the faint of heart!!

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