Over the course of a lifetime, we all face various challenges. In the recent economic meltdown that our nation has slowly been crawling out of, we lost an incredible 8.8 million jobs.
This resulted in economic mayhem and personal stress in households
throughout the nation. Many mortgage payments went unpaid. And as they
lost their jobs or were forced to retire sooner than expected, many felt
that the deck was stacked against them. The fact that millions of
others were out of the job market was little consolation.
Prior to the recession, the participation rate was already declining due
to such factors as globalization, technological advances and changing
demographics. As the recession hit, the loss of jobs accelerated.
Only now have we reached the point of recovering the jobs that were lost
during the great recession. But we still need significantly more jobs
to get the economy to the point where we can say it’s humming along.
But right now, stagnant is a better description of the economy. Our GDP
is currently growing at the anemic rate of less than 2.5 percent. The
average age of cars on the road is a shocking 12 years. Many experts
have referred to this as a jobless recovery.
Why can’t the economy seem to gain any traction? There are many reasons.
Without getting too political, reckless government spending and
constant Washington bickering play a large role.
Unfortunately, we still have plenty to worry about. Last year, the major
sources of economic worry were internal issues like the debt ceiling
and budget deal. Now the concern seems to be geopolitical with the
possible re-emergence of the Cold War.
I bring these things up because, once again, investors need iron
stomachs to climb the wall of worry. Emotions need to be kept on the
sidelines. For most investors, in spite of all the worries and concerns,
the last two years were pretty rewarding. I have no crystal ball, but I
remain optimistic about the future.
I was recently at a conference with some of the best and brightest
financial and economic experts you could ever meet. But the one person I
most enjoyed hearing was not in the personal finance business. Rather,
it was a former athlete now in the entertainment business.
Yes, I had the good fortune to meet former Super Bowl quarterback Terry
Bradshaw, now an NFL analyst. Obviously, winning multiple Super Bowls
brings a certain amount of fame. But as he pointed out, enjoying the
journey and staying on top is the key. Even though he was a famous
athlete, like households everywhere, he had severe issues and setbacks,
including financial. But his desire to rebound both mentally and
financially is what impressed me the most.
As is usually the case, it was his parents who provided constant support
throughout all the ups and downs. He described himself as a mama’s boy.
And why not? It seems that no matter how many ups and downs we have in
life, whether it’s in sports, business or our personal lives, the
support and unconditional love we receive from our moms is a given.
I would like to thank my mom and all the mothers everywhere who stand by
their sons regardless of life’s circumstances. Simply stated, Happy