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.
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