Monday, May 12, 2014

When the going gets tough, talk to Mom

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 Mother’s Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment