December 08, 2010

10% unemployment the New Norm??

My husband read an article in a a financial magazine today and he shared it with me.  You can read it here.  The basic premise of the article was that unless there is some breakthrough innovation to stimulate the economy, we could be stuck with unemployment in the 9% to 10% range and that could be the new normal.  Then in a strong "new" economy, unemployment may dip below 8% but the days of 5.5% to 6% unemployment are behind us. 

This is rather interesting and perhaps depressing.   The reason I read articles about the economy is that I like to be knowledgeable and prepared. 

Is it  possible that in light of the Great Recession that our economy cannot or will never be able to support the number of jobs that people want and need?  And if this is true, does it mean that we need to lower our expectations and dreams?  Will one income families become the new normal?  And if one income families are to become the new normal, will the wages earned by one person be enough to support the family?  And what about benefits?  Are those going to disappear? 

I'm not sure what the future holds, but I do think that the smartest thing for everyone to do is to not lose heart.  Perhaps we need to lower our expectations of how we will now be living.  We can have homes, but we may not be able to afford the McMansions that many people would like to have.  A nice not so new 3 bedroom 1,200 square foot ranch style home may become the new dream.  Hey, it was my parent's dream back in the 1950's. 

I have had to scale back my dreams, but they were only dreams to begin with, nothing firm.    We lost a lot of retirement money, on paper that is, so living cheaper now and for the next several years is prudent.  But, we have a house and a lot of people have gone through foreclosures or cannot afford a home.  My husband has a job and although it has taken a little creativity some days, we are living on his income and over time as debt is paid, we will be able to put money in the bank for our future. 

However, just because he has a job now, doesn't mean we have the guarantee that his job is secure.  No one can say that now.  Of all the lessons learned over the past few years is that no one's job is secure and while there is such a thing as unemployment benefits, the best advice is to save for that rainy day and not to entirely depend on government assistance alone to get you through a period of unemployment.  It is worth the sacrifice of cutting back on spending in order to save even a small sum of money.  It's a beginning.

I remember the way it used to be at this time of year.  In my husband's previous job, he would receive a Christmas bonus and would get a raise in early January.  When I was working I would get a Christmas bonus and raise also.  Those days are gone.  But that's okay. 

So, perhaps we are learning a new way to live, scaling back our dreams and finding new ones.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Another reason for putting aside money while we can, as we really don,t know whats round the corner for us all. Lets not live in the moment, but give a lot of thought to our futures.