Are you afraid of the economy on the skids? Are you affected?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm so poor I'm not really affected. We have no investments. Still, it's almost unreal watching the economy take this freefall and I worry about my friends who have lost money and homes. A close relative's husband lost his job and may face foreclosure on their beautiful home. And they didn't even have one those "bad" loans--they just have no income anymore, other than her job, which doesn't pay much. I see businesses failing or closing down around me in Nowhere, Wisconsin. My son is struggling to meet expenses--he has a six month old baby. He wants to find a new job, but he's been trying for a year and can't find one so he has to stay at a company that is threatening to liquidate, and he also hates the job. He lives in the Chicago area--you'd think they'd have a lot of jobs, my son has skills, but he says the competition is unbelievable. Everyone talks about the prices of food and gas--and worries about their jobs, if they still have them. I wonder if this is what it's like to fall into an economic depression. How are you doing/feeling?
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Yes, I am afraid. I've been spending a lot of time reading about it online and listening to the radio and my stomach was churning yesterday.

    A caution for everyone at the start of this thread: we don't discuss politics here. Feel free to discuss the crisis and your concerns, but don't go into the political aspects, please.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    All I can go by is the way my grandma used to talk of the last great depression, and some reading I've done on it myself out of curiouslty. And yes, I think we're plunging head first into one. (hope I'm wrong) And from what I've read.......I'm not really sure if there is a way to actually stop it or deter it. We've become a country of people where the vast majority lives on cards, loans, ect. Back in the 1930's that was unheard of. So in some ways I think a depression is going to be more profound than it was back then, affecting even a larger part of the population.

    I wish I could say all this isn't affecting us, but it is. K is in a town where businesses are closing up so fast it's scaring them. Our town isn't much better, we've had 3 major factories shut down in the area in the past year and have dhl about ready to close come december which will put another 6000 out of work. husband is paying out a small fortune in gas to just get to work in cincy. Grabs as much overtime as he can to counter it. But even that's not helping much.

    My kids have stopped complaining about eating leftover meals. They've stopped complaining about eating what we call Tight Budget meals....meals meant to fill you up the cheapest way possible. They're figuring out Mom is rationing groceries for a good reason, not to just be mean. Food has stopped being wasted around here. Even dogs get leftovers that would normally go into the trash to suppliment and stretch out the dog food. Our days are planned around carpools to get the most out of the gas we've bought to get from school and work ect. We don't just hop into the car and go anymore. And the really shocking part is they are finally learning to shut off lights and appliances when not in use so as to not raise the utilities any higher than necessary. This winter our thermostat won't be going over 60 degrees. :( I haven't had a credit card in years. The only loan we have is for the house. Nichole went and got back on WIC for the baby to insure there will be milk and such in the house for her.

    If gas prices keep going up, pretty soon husband will basically be paying to go to work. sigh

    And the really sad part........we're still barely surviving. Scarey. Lincoln screams everytime I hold a penny, because I hold on to every penny so tight and am reluctant to spend any extra money.

    I don't know how you can be "too poor" to be affected. Cuz we sure are. We're not losing investments, we're struggling to keep our heads above water and to survive everyday.

    I hope it doesn't get any worse, cuz I don't know what we'll do.:anxious:
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We're buying a wood burner with our tax refund (we always get a nice one).
    I'm alarmed at this new trend toward liquifying companies rather than selling them. THat happened in our little town. The owners, from overseas of course, didn't want competition so they just shut down :<
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm very worried. I've had these concerns about my own personal situation since having to pay so much for difficult child's legal issues and now medication insurance this past 18 mos., but I thought I'd be able to pull out by changing certain things around- debt-wise. Now, it looks like I won't be able to do that because the whole country is in this shape. It pains me- I was debt free 2 years ago- other than my house- now, selling my house, if I could but I can't because it needs repair from difficult child's damage and other general stuff, and there's no market for someone to buy it, but even if I sold it, it would be a toss-up if it covered all my debt, and we'd have no place to live.
  6. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Definately feeling it over here on the home front and work as well. Like SRL, I spend a lot of time reading and listening to the news on the state of the economy - I need to stop being informed as my anxiety level is going thru the roof.

    My only investments is in my 401K - that was to pay the house off when I retire. At the beginning of the year, I had enough in there to pay off both loans and then a little left over. That is definately not the case now. Am trying not to look and see that its not so slowly being eroded :( but can't not see the stock market figures on MSN.

    At work, I am hanging on by my nails. Working at home now has saved the company money- its just my paycheck and phone bill they are paying for, but am wondering now how long before I see a paycheck cut that I can ill afford. I specialize in insurance for things no one else wants to write, catastrople insurance homes in the brush area, and the like, but run of the mill companies who never even would consider this stuff, now are taking it at whatever price they need to just to get a cash flow going. Sigh.. And AIG, one of my biggest competitors, part of me would love to see them tank - the other part hoping they won't because the ramifications would be an absolute disaster for the economy.

    I don't know when it was exactly when common sense went out the window with corporations and greed became the rule of the day. Am not even close to being a financial wizard, but it seems to me if people are losing their homes because of adjustable rates, just go back and re write the loan to a flat interest rate they CAN afford. Yeah, banks will lose money, but surely some payment on a loan is better than no payment on a loan, and you won't be stuck with a house that no one can afford to buy. But I guess that would be too sensible.

    All I know is that I went to having a comfortable living to a very uncomfortable one of constant worries of "what if"..

  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I'm concerned and watching very closely. My 401k is wrapped up in some of the stuff going on on Wall Street - in particular AIG, but we're not talking a lot of money. I am wondering if it's even worth it for me to continue contributing right now. I am thinking I'd be better off putting the money earmarked for the 401k into a shoe box uner my bed. It might be better off and safer feels like I'm ripping up dollar bills every pay period. Yeesh.

    We're cutting corners every where possible, mostly between groceries & gas. I'm having a tag sale and all proceeds will go directly into the oil tank for our home heating. We're down to a 1/4 tank and to fill it will cost nearly $1300! I do not have that money. I shop for only what I need in the house and only stock up on sale items. In fact, I only buy on sale items. I shop at Job Lot/Odd Lot and other discount stores when possible. They are far from our home so only when I'm in their neighborhood do I shop there. Also, giving up meat has saved us a lot in groceries. I do drive about 5 miles out of my way for gas that is nearly .20 cent less per gallon than near my home. I think it's worth is since I have a hybrid.

    I feel like my dad, always turning off lights, tvs and stereos. H is bad about leaving the garage light on and easy child is perpetually leaving her bedroom light on along with the tv and even when she's not there!!! We've replaced most of our bulbs with the energy savers, I guess we'll see how that works out. And I refuse to turn on the heat until H has sealed up the house - with the renovations he's doing, there are gaps everywhere and I don't want to waste any heat.

    Having grown up with parents from the depression, I am very familiar with 'living on austerity' and 'pulling in the belt' so I know how to be frugal and stretch a dollar. But it is difficult and I just worry overall about the collapse of our country's entire economic infrastructure. We're not wealthy but we get by okay...however, if we had any major emergency, I think we'd really be in a pickle.

    Most of my concerns are closer to home, but since those issues are a direct result of the bigger picture, I am keeping an eye on those Wall St issues as well! I work in an industry that is very closely linked with the companies having major issues right now. Yikes.
  8. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Right now this isn't affecting me too much: I have no big investments to lose; I'm retired so I don't have to worry about losing my job - my retirement pension is from the state and our state is not too bad off financially so I think the pension is as secure as anything can be; my house is paid for; my property taxes are low. I do have a lot of credit card debt that I am trying to pay down but as long as I have money coming in each month I can continue to pay it down. My biggest problem is gas (I live in a rural area so I have to travel many miles just to buy the basics and there is no such thing as public transportation here) and energy costs plus health insurance (I won't qualify for medicare for a little over 4 years. I currently have a plan that has a $2500 deductible so I would only use it for a serious illness and at that it pays only 80&#37; so if I got seriously ill it would throw me into bankruptcy even with the insurance).

    I do think that, in spite of all that, this thing is going to affect us all eventually. I'm not sure the other shoe has dropped yet and I'm not convinced that "they" know what to do about it. Not being political here - I just don't have much faith in either party or both together to get this fixed without a lot of pain for the general public. I think it will probably get worse before it gets better.

    I know there are a lot of things most of us can do to economize. But many of us are not willing to do it. Most Americans are very spoiled. Yesterday my mother (age 94) was talking about how she and her family got by during the depression in the 1930s. I don't think people would do those things now. We'd probably have an armed revolt if things got that bad. My generation and those who have followed have done without very little. Yes, some of us are poorer than others and we all know about using grocery coupons and going to GoodWill to shop but boiling potato peelings to make soup and going without a winter coat and freezing our feet in the snow is beyond most of us. I think the older generation may be stronger because of what they went through but I hope we don't have to go through the same things as I don't think people now are psychologically equipped to do it.
  9. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Gas and food are horrible. I don't have investments other than my retirement at work, but I am trying to sell my house. I have to, we can no longer afford to live there and get treatment for everyone. After insurance, my portion of the medication costs is 300$ to 400$ dollars a month. Just depends on what antibiotics husband needs. He is getting his tonsils out next month, which hopefully will cut down on prescription costs, but then I have a hospital and surgeon bill.

    My family does not eat it unless it is on sale. We used to have salmon once in awhile, but not lately. Pork loin is $1.99/lb this week, so we will have loin chops or whatever. What I do not get on sale I get at costco. I need new tires, and that will have to wait untill financial aid comes in.

    The only thing I kinda feel secure about is work. I work in a hospital. People will always get sick. It just happens. If I lost my job there for any reason, I would lose my health insurance but could find another job quickly. I already have a second job as a caregiver. Thank good ness I do not work in retail sales. My mom is in commission sales, and her income is definately droopy.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I worry but then that is what I do. Tony works construction so if that market tanks...we are sunk. I am not so much worried about my social security even though some may say I should be. I just dont think its going anywhere in my lifetime. We have no investments though...or savings. We also dont have much debt. Only my car. I own my own home. Utilities are out the roof here though.

    I do worry horribly though about Jamie. He just bought his house and a car. I think he is getting in over his head in this economy. He wont listen to me. He is convinced he is gonna pay the car off when he gets back from overseas. Ok...Yeah he will have a pretty stable job with the state when he returns but still. I guess the fact that there is always crime and he can always get a job as a cop is something he banks on but he thinks he will be able to sell his house to move if need be...Im not that sure.
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    MWM...we need to visit!!! We are so close. No, I don't have any money or furniture, but we can make it happen. Maybe I can get deli guy to come by. ;)

  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I am very concerned about what's gonna happen in the next few months/years. In the past year, I've seen four families move to "better" themselves, and when their original houses didn't sell, they just "let them go back to the bank". Three of these homes were $175k+ homes built in a city where the median income is $30k. These people see nothing wrong with doing this, and that attitude really scares me. A small town bank can't take too many of those, yet I think they're taking a lot of them. Many, many people have an almost "invincible" attitude towards our country and the economy. While they're worried, its not bothering them enough to make those personal changes.
    I work in the financial industry, so I have no idea what the future holds. My company has never had layoffs, but... I try not to dwell on it - it might actually be a good thing for difficult child. lol Being frugal is why I've tried to learn to do my own mechanic work and have parked my truck and now drive a $400 clunker (that gets pretty good gas mileage) that I piece-mealed together. We have an edge because we raise and butcher our own meat and can from the garden, etc, but even with those things already covered, we are still really, really far from being self-sufficient people, and its scarey.
    I don't think I would be in danger of losing my home, simply because of the arrangement we have, but it is still very daunting to me. I think its going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Janet I'm also worried about easy child and sister in law, yes they both have good jobs and easy child will always find work as a nurse, even if sister in law can't as an airline mechanic. (but he'll always find mechanic work even if it's side jobs) The real problem is that they've spoiled themselves so badly. easy child and sister in law see something they want, and they'll get it. Cash or credit. They eat out nearly every single night, sometimes several times a day. easy child thinks she's being economical to buy second hand baby furniture. I sit here and stare at Nichole's baby furniture wondering why she doesn't just ask Nichole to borrow it. Free is even better than used, and there is nothing wrong with Nichole's set. They go to movies a couple times a week.

    I just shake my head at their consistant waste of money. I did it even before the economy was taking a nosedive......I'm really doing it now. sigh

    I grew up dirt poor. Some days all we ate was oatmeal for all 3 meals. Some days it would be whatever veggie was ripe in the garden......I know I can do it. I'm good at doing without. But my kids I worry about. They grew up poor too, but not at the same level I did.

    Just got thru warning Nichole to be on the lookout for warm winter clothing for Aubrey at the remaining yard sales as it's gonna be cold in this house this winter. Jo, I'm so glad I didn't decide to buy the house we wanted out of town or we'd have the propane costs too. That was the reason I'd changed my mind, believe it or not.

    I'd like to find the guy who remodeled my house and skin him for sealing up the fire place chimney. grrrrrrr What an idiot! That would've come in so handy in so many many ways.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Shari...worse came to worse here...we could move another mobile onto this land for one of the kids...say if Jamie lost his house and had to take a job in this county or one of the surrounding ones. We realistically could raise chickens for eggs and meat and maybe a hog or two. I dont know about cows. I dont think we have enough land for that. We might be able to strike a deal with a neighbor. Tony does hunt though. If I was physically able to do a garden we would but I cant. There isnt enough time in the day for Tony to do it all. If we had to bring the others down then maybe we would. At least we do have the land and our own house. We do have that cushion. As tony likes to tell me...a country boy can
  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We aren't that affected right now. Hubby works for a utility company; people will always need power, and I'm substituting; people will always need teachers. The economy is the primary reason I haven't applied to teach full time; budget cuts, whatever, they still need substitutes, where they could lay off regular classroom teachers. My car is paid for; Hubby's has another year to go. I bought this house 12 years ago and still have a wonderfully low house payment.

    I worry about the boys (Hubby's sons, in their 20's). One is an electrician, so far he's making it, but if construction drops off, so will his work. The other just got married, and does graphic design. His wife works in the front office at a medical clinic. I hope she's been there long enough to not be affected by layoffs. And I worry about Miss KT. She graduates from high school next June, and I wonder if she'll be able to find a job.
  16. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Luckily my job is stable. I know that I will have one for as long as I want. husband is also in a good place job-wise. He manages a small store that does copy service and shipping. We has actually increased profits because fewer companies are hiring people to do their copy jobs and they come to him. We do have some investments that I am worried about, but nothing that we can't hold on to and wait for the upswing. It may be when my grandchildren are older, but right now I don't have the need to liquidate anything. We do have a sizeable bank account and I do worry about what to do with the cash assets. I'm still contemplating that. It's scary. But, I have been frugal before and I can do so again.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok...I just got somewhat tickled. Tony called to tell me that one of the guys on his crew got a call today from someone he knows to tell him that they have just announced that the stock market is going to crash on Monday.

    Not that it is predicted or it could or that someone is worried it might crash...but that it WILL doubt about it. Hmmmm...does someone have a crystal ball now and they are planning a crash in advance these days? Lets see...the FED and Wall Street get together and decide that Monday looks like a good day to have a Gives them the weekend to nail all windows shut.

    I think someone is getting a bit news happy.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I dunno...............I just jokingly told husband what you said...........and he agreed. Weird. But then he pays attention to the news and I don't. Plus I heard on the radio from 2 DJs who never normally talk about this stuff, and they're scared to death. Wow. Makes you feel good, huh?

    They did have warnings before Black Tuesday hit. No one listened. Let's just say I've been playing my hand awfully close to my chest lately. I'd rather be wrong, than to find myself in deep trouble.
  19. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    well I know my kids need to learn to eat left overs. They're definatley too spoiled to having what they want (new shoes, video games, name brand clothes) of course it's rarely me doing the buying (grandparents, Aunts, Uncles).

    I am hoping to take a leap of faith and go forward with my plans on buying a low income property. My job seems pretty secure, they're still willing to bring me on FT (I am pretty much FT as it is) it's not a union job and I know others would go b4 me if it came to that. I also know, I can not expect any support or $ from S2BX at this time. So that's scarey.

    Personally I think I could live without cable TV, high priced food and cosmetics, name brand clothes. But I will not give up my internet (LOL) but lets face it, I could go to the library and use their wi-fi every evening, if it came down to it! Plus you can watch alot of shows on line, so you would not even need cable, LOL

    I have very little debt, my car is paid off, and I have a small nest egg, which will towards a down payment. I just signed up at a local research center to participate in surveys and new product sampling for $$$ we will see how that goes.
  20. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I have two debts (one for less than $2,000 and one for $550) that will be paid off by the end of the school year. I need to get that $2000 down FAST - I probably have spent almost $500 in interest fees on that one. I have until next August to pay off the $550 interest free but will pay it once the $2000 one is gone.

    husband has always been a good steward of his money. I don't get involved in his financial investments but by the mail and phone calls we get, I believe it is spread out. He does invest in bonds and has or had something in AIG (atleast we get an envelope from there every great while - not often).

    We own our home and some land (from husband's parent's estate).

    I have watched as insurance costs go up while co-pays and deductibles reach so high that it often seems like what is paid into insurance is a waste of money. Better off putting the cost away into a savings account if you have the self control not to touch it outside of emergencies. Insurance companies gather their income but come up with every excuse under the sun to not pay - primary care clinics are a pain since they are impossible to get referrals from - you just can't go to anyone anymore. Then those on state health care start getting charged co-pays - Come on! Like they really have the money? If they did, they wouldn't be on the state plan.

    I knew that the insurance world would start the US in an economical fall. Then the oil company decided to compete with insurance to see if they could take more of our money. The price of gas is unnecessary to the companies.

    Then to top it all off - the world of debt! Credit cards encourage people to spend - they earn their free money from interest - the more you owe, the more they charge. Even 50 years ago when my parents tried to get a loan, they were denied the loan at the amount they asked for as the loan company tried to force them into getting a larger loan. They said, "No, we know what we can owe." and they left to find another way to build using cash. Just like my $2,000 debt - the company loves that I Have a balance.

    I don't understand how people are making enough money to afford these mansions. I believe those people are way over their heads in debt for life. There can not be that many well paying jobs where husband can work while mom stays home with the kids in these multimillion dollar homes.

    Time to tighten the purse strings and really look at the budget to cut out unneccassary spending. Poor easy child will be hit the worse. She still has almost one month to go before I will take her shopping. She needed stuff two days ago - she better get used to no spending.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008