Everybody seems to have a different idea. Watch CNBC or other business channels and you’ll get as many opinions as you have speakers. Members ask me to tell them if this is a good time to invest. I tell them my crystal ball is broken right now. There are always reasons not to invest—wars, gas prices, terrorism, recessions, and yes, even bank failures. The truth is, if we wait until the world is entirely stable and people are optimistic and happy, we may never get started. Did you know McDonald’s was founded during a recession? If you’re trying to make money in the next year, it’s a gambler’s game. If you want to make money for the long run, there are many tools and strategies you can use to increase the chances you will do that.
Betsy Dart is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM for the MEMBERS Financial Services programs located in Great Basin Federal Credit Union. For more information on Betsy and her services, please click here.
You may have seen this billboard around town put up by American Family Insurance, and as I was sitting in traffic looking at it, it really inspired some thought. What is the American dream? You get married, buy a house, start a family, maybe open a business, retire by 65, and play golf or buy an RV and travel. So, is the American dream dead? Let’s break it down:
- Getting married–still very much alive, even though your reception will now be at the Motel 6 instead of the Peppermill.
- Buy a house–really? If you’re just starting off in life on your own, it may take you until you’re 40 to come up with a down payment. If you already have a house, there’s a good chance you feel lucky to have it, may be struggling to hold onto it, or may have even lost it.
- Start a family–easy to do, hard to afford. There are people who don’t have children that are giving up their pets because they can’t afford them.
- Open a business–if you can get the financing, it’s a gamble at best. I have seen so many mom and pop places go out of business after being open for only a very short time. Plus how can the little guy compete with the mega marts and franchises who have such purchasing power that they can offer their goods for a much lower price?
- Retire by 65–maybe, if you’re close to it at this moment and didn’t lose your 401(k). But if you’re like me, your nest egg has gone to the mortgage. If you’re in Generation Y, you probably already expect to be working until you’re 80.
So to answer the question, is the American dream dead, I would have to say maybe not dead but definitely in a coma. It’s going to be a rough road ahead for lower to middle class, but we just have to accept that societal norms are changing. Some families still struggle with the reality that it is no longer the norm to have a “June Cleaver” taking care of the kids while the husband goes to his 9 to 5 job. Now society is going to have to adjust again to accept that old age isn’t going to be filled with bingo and buffets.
I would go crazy not working anyway, so the only thing I’m worried about is the increased competition for my Walmart greeter job!
Firstly, thank you to our loyal members and blog followers. This blog is still in its infancy, but so far has been a lot of fun for us. To this point, the blog posts have been provided by our Executive Team of three. However, our employees have recently shown some interest in contributing as well. With that said, we’d like to introduce our newly formatted and named “GB Blog”. Posts will now include various topics and points of view from the executives to the tellers and employees that you deal with on a daily basis at our branches. We hope you enjoy and feel free to interact! Thank you!
Article taken from Credit Union Times – June 29, 2011
Fabian Fernandez-Han, at the age of 12, won the New York Stock Exchange Financial Future Challenge.
Fernandez-Han created the Oink-a-Saurus, a new iApp and interactive website. Designed to show kids how investment opportunities exist all around them, the app tracks web browsing and buying habits while providing an alternative option of what would happen if the money spent was saved or invested. Instead of just buying something, users can go from learning about the company that makes it, to buying and selling that company’s shares in a stock market simulator with the help of Pigger and Porky. The app includes a news service that provides teen-friendly stock market and investing information. In addition, “Oinkers” can head to the Mud Pit to discuss everything from learning more about something heard or read related to saving, investment or economics, to asking other Oinkers to weigh in on the pros and cons of a particular stock purchase. Upon registration, Oinkers enter information regarding their favorite brands, things to buy and favorite things to do. The app uses the responses to create a short list of publicly traded companies that may be of interest. For Fernandez-Han, an avid saver and investor with a 14% return during the recession, it’s been a dream come true to make finance fun and accessible.
Click here to visit the Oink-a-saurus website or simply search “Oink-a-Saurus” in iTunes or from the App Store on your iPhone.
I thought I’d give a quick update to the debit card interchange fiasco. This one started with the sleight of hand senatorial shenanigans to move $16 billion to the retailers, mostly the larger ones. This MINOR amendment to the Dodd/Frank bill to prevent the next financial collapse (or might it be the cause of it?), was to reduce the debit card fee from $.44 to $.12. There was no discussion as to possible effects or hearing of testimony from the experts. The open discussion that didn’t happen when the amendment was created was provided for when a bill was offered to postpone the debit card fee change. Boat loads of folks from the retailers, banks, consumer groups and regulators gave testimony and caused a lot of people to realize that there could be some real nasty affects from this part of the bill. At any rate when it came down to the Senate vote on a possible delay for the implementation of this change to provide for closer examination of the issue, though we were able to gather a 54 – 45 vote advantage, it apparently wasn’t enough. SO…just when the Mega Marts were counting their billions, the Federal Reserve decided to add a drop of sanity to the drama. In their final regulation release, they provided what the congress was not able to do, which was to come to some middle ground and provide for some further analysis of the impact. Essentially, the transaction fee will be around $.21 – $.26. The key component credit unions were concerned about was the provision for exempting smaller financial institutions like credit unions and community banks. The way the Senate had it, the retailers could choose which card network they could honor. Credit unions argued that the retailer would always choose the larger bank rate of $.12 over the $.44 rate received by credit unions. At any rate the Fed made changes here to require multiple unrelated networks be used by retailers. The other key item the Fed obligated them to do was to accumulate data over an 18-month period to see if smaller financial institutions are being adversely impacted. Great Basin will be looking at things also, but for at least a while, we dodged a bullet, I think…