I’d forgotten the power of the “so, how much money do you make?” faux pas to enrage in a uniquely immediate way, as if a fire had appeared in the couch, until my nine year old son aimed the question at his parents.
I flashed on the time I blurted the question out- just before dinner one summer…I believe the response went something like, “THAT is none of your business.” Our son persisted, wanting to know why it was forbidden to reveal our monthly cash flow to a fourth grader. I stumbled, but my wife interceded, describing it as a kind of security concern, a softening of the none of your business line, but he wasn’t buying it. Eventually relied on the “none of your little business young sir” approach, and he asked for a cookie as a kind of payoff for his silence on the issue.
His curiosity inspired me to do a little digging. Have we recovered from 2008? How is your average person fairing in 2017?
Those seeking office want to stress the impending or realized economic ruination of entire regions or demographics (usually what used to be the middle class), while those in office, or of the ruling party describe a land of plenty burgeoning with opportunity and the promise of more good things to come. As is always the case, reality is the enemy of everyone in this case. THE MARKETS require perpetual attitudinal upselling, as do sellers of anything. Value is perception as they say- so the crazed eyes of Perception must be closely controlled and protected from off narrative doses of reality. So, what is the current financial state of the nation?
One measure speaks volumes. Half of us cannot come up with 500 bucks to cover an unexpected emergency. Despite job growth and a slight uptick in wages, the cost of basics like healthcare, childcare and food are eating up any gains made.
The short answer is- we are dining on a sinking ship.
Maybe our ship needs to sink, forcing us to consume less, rethink what is important, gain perspective on what we really need as opposed to what we have been conditioned to think we want. You can find as much doom and gloom forecasting as you can handle. Here’s one. Half of Baby Boomers have little or no retirement savings. This fact alone is going to change how we live. It will take some getting used to, but we stand to gain a lot living as we did for thousands of years, with our extended family.