The United States is facing some tough times.
If you’ve tuned into the news at all in the last week, you know the United States economy is on very shaky ground. And that might be an understatement. First there was the housing bubble burst. Then banks started failing. Now the politicians in Washington are scrambling to pass an economic recovery bill to head off bad times.
I’ll admit, the economy doesn’t look good right now. And I think all of us would be wise to be cautious in our money management in the near future. But as with the Great Depression, I believe that the United States will enjoy prosperous times again someday. But before we get there, I hope a few lessons are learned, so we don’t have to see a crisis like this again.
Honesty and integrity are important. This whole mess started with the mortgage industry. Banks were handing out loans they knew would go bad. People were taking on loans they hoped (but didn’t know for sure) they could afford. Real estate agents assisted home buyers in finding creative financing to make a buck.
Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around. But the lesson is that business should be done honestly. Banks shouldn’t offer loans that people have no hope of paying off. People shouldn’t take out loans that they won’t be able to afford two years down the road. Real estate agents should listen to consumers who tell them they’re only comfortable spending 25% of their monthly income on a mortgage payment. Let’s do business honestly.
I believe we are going to start seeing the frugal lifestyle enjoy a resurgence. Gone are the days of excess. Like the days of the Great Depression, though maybe not to that extent, consumers are going to have to cut their budgets to make ends meet. No more wastefulness. It’s time to focus on what really matters in life.
When I was in high school, I interviewed my grandparents for a term paper I wrote. All of my grandparents lived through the Great Depression. The one thing that was really impressed on my young mind through those interviews was the underlying theme of hard work, wise use of resources, and simple fun in each of my grandparents’ lives.
Though times were tight in the Great Depression, each of my grandparents went on to prosper. They told tales of playing in creeks, hanging out with siblings, and just enjoying their families. They told stories of driving across the Dust Bowl in search of a better life. Though they lived through some of the hardest years in American history, it didn’t get the best of them. They lived to raise their own children and to teach their grandchildren important life lessons.
So though the economy may get worse before it gets better, I believe some good can come out of this, if we as a country are willing to learn from our mistakes. Sometimes it’s good to be humbled, and I believe that’s what’s happening to the United States right now. The important thing is that we learn from our failures.
Photo by Koshyk.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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