Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why I'm Thankful for the Economic Downturn

I have a lot to be thankful for right now. Maybe more than most. But the economic downturn has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I have and to be thankful for it. It has made me thankful for the everyday things I used to take for granted.

First, I'm thankful I have a job. It's amazing how this one thing that you take for granted or complain about or wish you didn't have to do can become the biggest blessing in the world. I have a good job in an industry that is relatively secure, despite colleagues at other companies being laid off. Even if I don't love it every day, I have it. And I count my blessings for that.

Second, I'm thankful that the economic downturn has taught me that nothing is certain. Jobs, investments, the stock market, the housing market--none of it. I am reevaluating the importance of old-fashioned money advice--saving (on a related note, I'm thankful I found advice from Dave Ramsey). I now look at what I spend more carefully, save more, and realize risk in a very real way. Saving money to buy something is old-fashioned, but sound. And, it's the best way to ensure your purchase is certain.

Third, I'm thankful that I can learn from other's mistakes. Being young, I didn't lose a ton of money and when I invest low (now) my money will probably grow. But that's not the only benefit. I don't own a house, but I learned the risk involved in buying one with little money down and with an ARM instead of a fixed-rate mortgage. I learned that it is stupid to mortgage your house to invest in the stock market, because the interest in the stock market is higher than the mortgage's interest. I learned to save up 3-6 months expenses in case I lose my job. And I've learned so much more!

Fourth, I'm thankful (or perhaps just optimistic) that the economic downturn will benefit society in the long run. For one, my money will go further. Items are now (mostly) cheaper. After, they will stay cheaper for a period of time. I'm thankful that greedy people and businesses that thought they were infallible fell. I hope they will make better decisions in the future that will benefit our economy and society. The greed of businesses and individuals was getting out of hand and, even though the circumstances are negative, I'm glad to see people re-evaluating how they live their lives. Hopefully people will now save more, spend less, and get out of debt. I hope Americans re-evaluate their materialism and wastefulness and will take the time to remember what is really important.