Crossing out recession and writing recovery.

Recession Lessons: What Have You Learned?

Economists say the recession ended in June of 2009.  But that doesn’t seem to be the word on the street.  Many people I meet in workshops and through this blog are clearly still feeling the effects of the recession.

A Shared Experience

Some are still out of work.

Some who are employed are fearful about losing their job.

Some are dealing with the financial and psychological toll of owning a home that’s now worth far less than it was before.

Some are hesitant to spend.

Some are hesitant to invest.

Some have developed a new level of mistrust for financial institutions.

We’re Different, or Are We?

There have been quite a few headlines about how the recession has brought about lasting changes in how we manage money.  But has it?

It’s true that people are carrying less debt these days, and at first glance, it appears to be a positive sign.  But then the Wall Street Journal delivered this explanation on June 10th:

“Households pared debt for the tenth consecutive quarter, partly as a result of paying down debt but mostly due to defaulting on mortgages and other loans.”

According to a 2009 Citigroup survey, 63 percent of people said the recession had forever changed the way they spend and save.  Again, it seems like a positive.

But then Citigroup ran the same survey a year later and the percentage of people who said the recession had forever changed the way they spend and save went down to 52 percent.

Let’s Learn Something Here

I’m always interested in stories of how adversity changed a person’s life in a positive, lasting way.  The recession, which has impacted all of us in some way, has the potential to be a positive turning point in each of our lives.

That may sound crazy to someone who is still out of work or who is now very much upside down on their mortgage.  I don’t mean to add insult to injury or suggest that we all just paint on a smiley face and move on.

But I am suggesting that we not miss the opportunity to use this huge financial event for good.

I’d also like to suggest that we not be too quick to frame our lessons in a negative light (“I’ll never trust another mortgage broker in my life!”).

What positives can we take away from the recession?  What financial lessons have you learned that you believe will make a positive, lasting difference in your life?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you know someone else who would benefit from this article, please forward a link.  And if you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe to this blog by clicking here.  Two or three times a week, you’ll receive ideas and encouragement for using money well.


5 Responses to Recession Lessons: What Have You Learned?

  1. Patty July 23, 2011 at 9:37 AM #

    I’ve learned that we have to track expenses and follow a budget. Somehow, seeing it on paper gives me the assurance that we can go forward with hope for a better future. We did everything we could to keep our home and avoid bankruptcy, but both happened anyway. In truth, the debt burden was lifted off of us by a Higher Power. Now we are living frugally, but with knowledge that our merciful Lord is here with us. Our rented home is more than comfortable and we can meet our expenses.

  2. Juan July 23, 2011 at 9:09 AM #

    I know for me the recession impacted my life in that it helped push me toward a career in business development/finance. After seeing all of the (seemingly) stupid mistakes that were made leading up to the collapse I knew that I would like to be in a position where I could help to solve/prevent a future situation.

  3. Shirley July 22, 2011 at 6:58 PM #

    I have realized how something as seemingly small as eating home cooked meals can have a positive effect on my budget.

  4. Martha July 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM #

    Observation’s I’ve had regarding the effects of this recession, for which I am grateful, are the fire’s which have been ignited and have been long overdue; the fire’s of compassion and serving others!

    Thank you God!

    Isaiah 55 begins with:

    1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.”

    Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

  5. Laquetta July 22, 2011 at 1:49 PM #

    In today’s economy, the financial crisis challenges me to be more creative. i.e. Recycle, yes but now I look to reuse what I can. They say “A penny saved is a penny earned” so I’m using coupons again, bartering for services and as a family, for entertainment, we go bike riding more, have BBQ’s with friends, and now go river rafting. We’ve always been frugal and resourceful so we never stop comparing our lifestyle with our spending to see if we can cut back somewhere else. And we’ve been able to help others save, too, which has built stronger relationships.

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