Life and the current economy...your most recent observations?

United States
September 25, 2009 9:52pm CST
Hi everyone. We all know about the economic crisis. Here in the US, the news reports talk that the crisis is letting up some. How is it for you in your own country? And have you noticed any good signs of the economy improving in your own life? For me, it still seems tight!! Gas prices are still sky high...but do drop a bit on occasion. I still don't trust the stock market enough to begin reinvesting in it. And I still squeeze every dime. So share with us how it's going for you! And thank you in advance. Karen
3 people like this
23 responses
@Simon1223 (902)
• China
26 Sep 09
Hi Karen. I'm living in China. The situation here is no better than that in US. The government carried out a 4 trillion RMB (nearly 600 billion USD) economic stimulus package to relieve the shock of economic crisis. They invest a lot in infrastructure construction, mainly high-speed railways. Such investment could generate some jobs, but not many. Most expenditure of stimulus package flew into the stock market and real estate market, which created asset bubbles. Some economists regard such phenomenon as a sign of recovery, but I don't think so. If the government maintain the current stimulus policy, I worry that serious inflation will come inevitably, which would harm ordinary people. If the government shift to tight policy, the asset bubble may burst, which may lead to another crisis. So the government is in a dilemma. In my view, the best way to stimulate economy is to stimulate private consumption. Only when the ordinary people enjoy more shares in national income could the economy develop continuously. But in order to achieve that it needs further reform, which is unable to be carred out in a short time. Some economists used to say that both US and China would benefit if they exchanged their stimulus package. US should rely more on investment and export and China should rely more on domestic consumption. I think to some extent it's true.
1 person likes this
• China
26 Sep 09
Hi,I'm also from China and I'm now living in Beijing. The situation here is recovering now. The price of real estate rose by 20% from the beginning of the year, and the Shanghai and Shenzhen 300 Index of stocks doubled more or less. The promotions of the Stores become less, but comsumers become more. I think the economy crisis is gradually faded from our memory.
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hi Simon. Always, it is the average people...the middle and lower classes that suffer the most and work the hardest in a struggling economy. And seldom do stimulus monies come their way. I do agree that our countries can each take away lessons from the other. When a crisis is global, such as the economic fall, then so must be the solution. Thank you for sharing your insights. Karen
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello 52onepiece. That is some encouraging news. There are the little signs, and they offer us hope of eventual economic recovery. I am sure it will be slow in coming, especially to the average everyday people of the world. And my heart goes out to the poor, as always. The saying: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer....has never seemed more vivid to me than during the past couple of years. Take care and thank you for sharing this information. Karen
• India
21 Oct 09
Hello my friend PeacefulWmn9 Ji, Well, prices are on rise allright. Stock market has come back to its back, as it left at that time. For me personnaly, it has not effected much. I consider in your case as well, because you have lot of money to invest and think of taking risk. My hubby always opines that even middle group peiple should never loiter near stock market. It is not meant for them and do ask me to limit my hard money by keeping in Nationalised banks and Post-office. We are very sound, first think, if salt is not there inside the house, we will not borrow from anywhere and eat without that. So when recession started my hubby took micro-level correction in his budget. May God bless You and have a great time.
• United States
22 Oct 09
Hello my friend? How are your celebration days going?? I hope they are going well and happy! I have diversified investments each decade as I get older, and now, almost all are in secure, low risk categories. So much was lost by so many in the Wall St. crash! It was a good lesson, I do believe. I am glad you are in a place in your lives of financial stability! Wise planning on your part and your husbands. Yes, never borrow, but do without until it can be bought and paid for then and there. God bless you, Karen
1 person likes this
• India
22 Oct 09
Hello my friend PeacefulWmn9 Ji, You are equally wise to secure and remain non-dependent finacially at old age. My hubby made his investment as his hobby some forty yrs back, but he never touched any money from house-expenses. He did not smoke, he never touched alchohal, even he was provided free drinks in Armed Forces due to incliment weather and under adverse conditions. So whatevr money he saved, he made small investment. Also, he used to give minimum coin for each marks obtrained by children during their schooling, he kept such funds seperate and utilised all such money for investment. In fact, during our marriage time, we were fully matutred to take load of family. Also, our marriage never broke. There are many factors, which can be counted for such smooth sailing in any family. Undoubtly, it is good atmosphere between both spouses. Gos is really great. I am proud that I learn many things here from You. Thanks for BR. May god bless You and have a great time.
@kitty42 (3923)
• United States
4 Oct 09
Hello my friend How are you? been a couple of days hope all is well Things are tough but no worries, guess it will be better in time Thank you my friend.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Oct 09
Hi Kitty...I've been sick but doing a bit better, thanks :) I do notice some minute improvements, I guess. Yes, with time and effort, it should eventually rebound in a more noticeable way! Hugs and have a nice week. Karen
@kitty42 (3923)
• United States
6 Oct 09
Hello my friend Sorry to hear you were not feeling well that really stinks, hope you are back to your old self really soon, miss you being here. In time my friend things should get better, some people have it harder than others, I must say for me I don't worry about it, although I should I don't Thanks my friend, feel better.
@Canellita (12051)
• United States
26 Sep 09
This economic recovery nonsense is just that. How can things be in dire straits after years of bad decisions and other issues and suddenly be set to rights in a manner of months? It's utter nonsense.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
I'm with you Canellita. I think every govt. and the news media in every country, to some extent, tells us what they think we want to hear rather than telling us the truth of it all. Do they not know that we are living the truth of it??? So why bother not leveling with the people? Karen
@dpk262006 (56708)
• Delhi, India
26 Sep 09
Hi there! I started a similar discussion recently which stated that cost of living is going north and rising price of essential commodities are getting over our heads. I am not aware about US economy. In India prices of essential commodities keep rising every now and then and we find it very difficult to meet the both ends. We keep struggling to survive. Cost of houses, clothes and commodities is getting every common man’s reach. Population is increasing day by day and resources are getting limited. I do not know what is in store for us in future
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Deepak. Things for the average hard-working citizen in India sound similar to those here in the US. I also do not know where or how it will all end. In the meantime, we do the best we can and unite to encourage the govt. to embrace positive changes. I appreciate you offering up the conditions in your own sector. Karen
@dpk262006 (56708)
• Delhi, India
29 Sep 09
We are sailing on the same boat, with a little bit difference.
1 person likes this
@krupesh (2608)
• India
26 Sep 09
The economy has never interfered with my earinings.I have my own business & its going on smoothly whether the economy is down or not. Regarding your investment in stock market , why cant you do the intra day trading.I have earned a lot of money doing that.I swear I make more money doing intra day trading than you can imagine.But you should know how to go about it.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (78051)
• India
26 Sep 09
Hi krupesh, guide me then - on intraday trading. :) I will include that in Sharon Bucks' next assignment, and she will be so happy. :) Thanx for ur forwards. :)
@clarkbody (141)
• United States
28 Sep 09
It's still pretty tight here. Gas prices are moderately steady, but the job market is still a bust. Just like you, my wife and I are squeezing the dime. They say that the recession is over, well I say tell it to the 350,000 Americans who have been forced to apply for unemployment benefits after losing their jobs this year alone.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Sep 09
Hi Clark. When the so-called experts report these lights at the end of the tunnel of recession, I think it is sometimes to bolster hope, and other times, to give unwarranted pats on the back to corporate America or a political party. For sure, it isn't based on actual statistics...at least not on the numbers that should rise and remain steady before they can be considered a good sign. Everything for the average person still fluctuates on a daily basis...including the stock market. Thank you for sharing your experience. Karen
@Hatley (164154)
• Garden Grove, California
27 Sep 09
hi peacefulwmn I live in Ca and no the current economy has not changed as far as I and my son are concerned' he is still out of work, I am still in this tiresome' retirement center and there still are hundreds of people 'all out of work and when we see jobs open up and my son get a job,then I will celebrate till then phooey and double phooey,its not'true here.
• United States
28 Sep 09
Hello Hatley. I've heard how bad the economy is in CA...just as it is here in MI. I do hope that soon it truly does improve, but like you and your son, I feel none of that yet in my own life or in this area. Do take care, my friend. Karen
@kid221 (151)
• Philippines
26 Sep 09
Hello PeacefulWoman.. In my country, the economy still holds its status in recession mode. Unemployment, rising prices of commodity, low purchasing power of money, businesses closing down, oil/gas costs rising up, etc. If all of these things are also interconnected with the world's economy, then we have no choice but to live it and make some things to overcome all of these. But to add more salt to the wound, corruption in the government beset our countrymen. We can make drastic things to address the economic recession in our own small things but with another like corruption, it is making life miserable in this place. Sometimes I am contemplating of seeking for a job outside the country just to escape from this dilemma. Anyway, if we will work our own ways we can survive all of these challenges in our lives.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 09
Hello there. It seems as you've described in so many countries, including here in the US. The economy is still a heavy burden to bear, and you're right, we have little choice in some of the things concerning it but to do our best to survive it. Government corruption a bane to the existence of many! It exists to some degree in every government, and that makes a sad statement, yes? Thank you for your input, and I wish you well. Karen
@dorannmwin (36648)
• United States
26 Sep 09
I'm also in the US, and I do see some glimmers of hope that the crisis is letting up some. First off, I have had several friends who have been able to sell their houses in the traditional method that have been able to sell them in less than a week and for a profit. Also, from watching my husbands employement I can also see that they are busier than they were at the beginning of the year. Last year he was able to work as much over time as he cared to work while this year he was pretty much cut off from overtime for the first half of the year. He is now back to working overtime much like he did in 2008. That is a huge help for us and shows me that things are picking up some as he works in manufacturing. Additionally, I see that it is a bit easier for a person that is seeking a job to find one where we live. My brother was finally able to find a job after being unemployeed since May and my sister-in-law was able to move from one job to another.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Dorann. That is wonderful news. Perhaps it will become more widespread. Since I live in Michigan, things here are still extremely difficult, despite the news saying that there are lights at the end of the tunnel beginning to show. Again, though, I am happy to hear that there ARE signs of improvment elsewhere in the country. I am happy that positive things are occurring with you and your family. :) Thank you for sharing that news. Karen
@zandi458 (28124)
• Malaysia
26 Sep 09
I think this is the worse economic crisis that the whole world is facing. It is not only in the US but the third world countries are really in bad shape. Inflation is at its peak and many people are left redundant with the withdrawal of foreign investors in many sectors. This ongoing economic crisis is a great challenge. It can challenge us to change and create new life. I am tightening my belt and painfully stretch what ever money I have to meet the needs of my daily life. There is nowhere I can afford to enjoy luxury life anymore not until the economic situation normalize but the present hardship is is good lesson to learn from.
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Zandi. So many are suffering worldwide, and I do not think that this global economic mess is clearing up any time soon. I do admire your courage and determination. I, too, have chosen to take it in the spirit of learning to live with much less and making peace with that. It encourages one to turn to things which lean toward spiritual and emotional richness rather than monetary or material items. And that is not such a bad thing. Thank you for sharing. Karen
@vandana7 (78051)
• India
26 Sep 09
Hi PeacefulWmn9 - well, the difference between our economy and ur economy is that we are a poorer nation, and therefore, we were not heavily into purchasing real estate I suppose. Moreover, we didnt have mortgage investors. And our banks we thought at that time as too fussy in giving loans. Nobody got the 3 percent FHA loans out here. Everybody had to invest almost 10 percent, and depending upon where we were working - we got home loans of 80 percent of property value, or 35 times the monthly income, whichever is less. This is the reason there are few defaulters, and the loans continue to look less than the property value so people are not happy to go for foreclosures. Yes, prices are high here as well. Food prices have increases sharply - last couple of years on average 15 percent! Well, like u, I do squeeze from here and there. But mostly, I opt for alternate ways of earning like the tasks here or such things. Of course, I am ok even without that. But it is just in case safety provision.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hi Vandana. I think you are the wiser for how things are run in your country than we here. We'd become such a greedy nation in general, though not all people are that way, but far too many were...and then there were those who "thought" they were getting a good deal, but were not. Much of it stems from those who cannot seem to live within their means. It's been a valuable lesson, truly, but I wonder how many will remember that lesson when things improve? Like you, I feel a constant need to have extra money, just in case, so I live frugally on purpose and tuck bits and pieces away for emergencies or for when I am older. Thank you for your input. Karen
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
26 Sep 09
Hi Karen, it's certainly not improving over here in my area, tourism was right down this year which effected the local buisnesses and tavernas and building work is at a standstill which has at last stopped the endless building on spec. However that hasn't helped the second hand house market as there are no buyers to pay. We've felt it here ever since the pound collapsed against the euro, so would really need investment from the euro zone to boost things up. Most of my work has just been left on hold until people can afford to invest here again so it ends up as a personal struggle as well. Yet all the time the prices of everything increase madly, from foodstuffs through to electricity and car taxes. I've no idea what olive oil will fetch price wise this winter which a lot of locals will be relying on especially as it looks like being a bumper harvest
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hi Thea. Same here, but then I live in the US state with the highest unemployment and worst economy of all 50. If it weren't for family living so near, it would be tempting to move. But, things are not yet very different anywhere in our country. I hope things improve soon for all of us. Karen
@savypat (20244)
• United States
26 Sep 09
I am on social security and for the next two year we will get no raises, this is scary for me because prices have not dropped that much and seem to be already on the rise.
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Pat. I truly feel for you. Many of us lived on fixed incomes and struggle to meet the barest of necessities. I do hope things improve soon...not just for the wealthy, but for we average citizens. Karen
@scheng1 (24688)
• Singapore
26 Sep 09
Hi Karen, I dont trust the stupid statistics that the government had been feeding us in Singapore. Somehow they managed to twist the statistics to show that the cost of living is not that high. Many international studies have placed Singapore as one of the most expensive city in the world. The cost of living is so high, yet the salary keeps on going down. Apparently when the government takes in the income by the rich, we all seem to make higher average salary, but the fact is that most of us are getting poorer and poorer, while the rich are getting richer and richer. I dont see how the economy is improving! Some newspaper reports say that the unemployment rate is lower, because many unemployed people just give up on job seeking and take up a course instead. So whatever report the government shows, I dont really believe it. All the statistics are supposed to make people feel happier, but we are not that stupid
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Scheng. Statistics are often misleading. Things here in the US "appear" to be on the upswing, but...that is merely for the wealthy. For the rest of us, not much at all has changed for the better, but rather for the worse as more and more of the resources of the average citizen are used up merely to survive! Karen
@cher913 (25855)
• Canada
26 Sep 09
well, i am in canada and from what i understand, the economy, while still in rough shape, isnt in as bad of shape as the us. apparently housing sales are starting to pick up which investers view as the first sign of the economy picking up.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Cher. I am happy to hear that things are beginning to look up for our good neighbors to the north. I hope the improvments continue. It seems the whole world has suffered so much in the past year or so. Thank you for responding. Karen
@mimpi1911 (25473)
• India
26 Sep 09
I really appreciate that Karen. Saving is good anytime. We must not waste and save - that's what i am trying to do every moment as well. Even though here its different from US and average Indians did not really have to face the down turns of economy, things are no better. 'Recession' has hit our psyche and its good in a way. People now have learned the value of each cent. and, this i feel was important for merchandising had reached its peak with stupid consumerism falling prey to it. SAVING day in and day out is my mantra. I have reduced my extravagance. Gifts are now more thoughtful and emotional than expensive. Traveling is cheaper. I have been walking more, so more exercise fitness. less parties, more cosy family gatherings. So, life has changed and for the better. I am a better person now. That's how I have taken it.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Mimpi. I think it is wonderful that you've found the positives in a negative crisis and put them to work for yourself. I, too, have found numerous silver linings in the dark economic clouds, many of them similar to your own silver linings. Thank you for sharing them. Karen
@malamar (784)
• Canada
26 Sep 09
Yes, news reports are rumbling here and there about the improvement in the economy, but to many of us times remain very tough. As with any recession or down-swing, the average person needs time to recuperate and climb back up. With job loss and layoffs, come extra problems like a reduction in savings, higher credit bills, overdue bills & charges, and so on. Only time will tell if the crisis is truly letting up. With the rising gas prices, untility increases, and outlandish food prices, it sure doesn't look like relief is in sight yet. Still we need to focus on repayment of our personal debt, finding new jobs, changing careers, and all of that takes time as well. For the general lay-person, there is still a very long way to go. I am not even factoring in building the investment portfolio back up to where it was before. Hold on, hang on, and hope for the best. Like every crisis, this too shall one day pass. Look at the bright side, we can now add dime-squeezer to our list of skills!
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hi Malamar. Those rumblings are usually more significant to some than to the rest of us. For the average citizen, "recovery" is far down the road, and the struggle continues. LOL, yes, I am now a bonafide "dime-squeezer," and gaining more experience by the day! Thank you for sharing your experience, which sounds very similar to mine. Karen
@vdhaval (119)
• India
26 Sep 09
things in india are doin pretty well after the past year's economic carnage india was affected too with the whole economic slowdown.with most of the IT companies clients not placing any new orders.the usa gove had a 400 billion dollar stimulus package.the indian govt came out with a petty 10billion $ package. anyway the GDP figures are up again and also the growth rate which was a good 7-8% during economic boom dropped to about 3-4% but has now increased to about 6% which shows that atleast for india the things are becomin better. another point to note that this week india's stock exchanges the BSE and NSE indices have seen a one yr high during this week,of course profit booking has brought it down during the end of the week.and i myself made a good return on some investment another thing hiring of new employees was frozen during the past 10 months but i just read in a financial newspaper yesterday the one of the top IT majors has given a hike and bonus to its employees and the same companies have started hiring. other sectors are improving slowly or somewhat marginally.but ppl here kindda feel tht the fund managers are worthless as their NAVs keep on falling overall as long as the USA doesnt come out of the recessionary phase or a bigger economic superpower doesnt take its place things will be slow
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello Vdhaval. I see it as a good sign that things are improving in India. In a global crisis, improvments in one region often indicate that others areas will soon experience improvment, too. Like yours, our stock market continues to fluctuate...but not quite so drastically...and not so always down as at first. Congratulations on seeing a good return from your investment! And thank you for sharing some news of hope. Karen
@mikeysmom (2091)
• United States
26 Sep 09
i have observed business picking up slightly for my husband but our financial situation has not improved because we got behind and had unexpected car repairs and had to cash in what little retirement we had to make ends meet and not lose our home. things would need to improve way more for anything to change for us.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 09
Hello :) This is the way of it throughout history. However much an economy improves, it takes forever to "trickle down" to the average citizens. We struggle. I also lost the majority of my retirement when Wall St. fell, and then had to give up my health insurance over a year ago. Like you, I notice no improvment in how I personally have to live. So...I keep the faith, do what I can, and pray...a lot. My best wishes to you and your family. Karen