For a week that included The Kentucky Derby, The Met Gala and the White House Correspondence Dinner for the nation’s elite, the economic news felt like it was seeking validation from Main Street a la Monica Lewinsky. As exciting as a 20 year old affair between a climber and the world’s one-time most powerful man should be, it just isn’t.
We moved into our condo seven years ago. We were very excited, as this was our first home purchase; it was a blank canvass; it was below our budget and met our architectural aesthetic. Another reason why we were so excited was because we bought into a condominium. Neither of us particularly loves yard work, painting and fixing things. David’s handy, but I’m not. I led a cushy life when it comes to home repairs and maintenance and it’s not fair for David to do it all. So, naively, this is one of the reasons we bought into a condominium with a homeowner’s association (HOA) and a property management company. We thought that among all of them they would handle most home maintenance issues.
If a broken record gets tired of hearing itself repeat, we can relate. This week was another bag of mixed news, though slightly over weighted on the sorry side with a dash of peculiarity. Like a good nurse, we’ll rip the Band-Aid off and start with the worst of the worst.
In “Our Wallet is Our Weapon“, we discuss our concern with American consumers agreeing to take on more and more debt for longer and longer terms against their best interest. This willingness only inflates the cost of the very products and services many already cannot afford today. There are two ways to improve our personal financial situation and control inflation. We must leave the spending and leveraging classes and join the saving and investing classes.
If last week was a celebration of birth and rebirth, this week feels like growing pains. The economic recovery has been happening in fits and starts and this week is no different.
The first and most important bit of news this week was released on Monday. The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators showed a 0.8 percent increase in March, which is the third consecutive monthly increase. Increased hiring and consumer sentiment drove much of the gains. As an index of leading indicator suggests, lagging indicators like backup singers are likely to follow
That’s right! Boom like the one percent! We all want to be able to drop it like it’s hot, whether it’s on a new car, house, our favorite store or charity. Being able to afford and share some of the nicer things in life is a goal for many, including the One Percent.
American families are not sufficiently nor correctly saving for college. That is MarketWatch’s Catey Hill’s assessment of Sallie Mae’s “How America Saves for College 2014” study. This causes us great concern because, as tuition costs continue to escalate, future undergraduate and graduate students and their families will fall even further behind than they are today.
Happy Good Friday! Not only is today a sacred religious holiday that causes markets the world over to be closed, but it’s actually a good Friday. This week’s economic news was happier than a half-kilted Kiwi meeting Cambridge Dutchess Kate.
For starters, the Commerce Department reported on Monday that U.S. retails sales in March were up 1.1 percent. This was retail’s largest gain in one and a half years. The core-sales number, which excludes most of the goods on which we citizens spend our money, such as gas and food, was also up 0.8 percent. This is good news because these goods are more discretionary and our discretion to buy more of them suggests a strengthening economy.
For many, achieving the perfect body is a lifelong quest. Whether skinny and wanting to gain muscle or husky and wanting to trim down, it comes down to calories in and calories out. Being in picture-perfect financial shape is similar in that it comes down to money in and money out.
When striving for that perfect body we’re too often concerned with burning calories on the treadmill or stair climber and not focused enough on the calories consumed from alcohol, food and sweets. You didn’t need to drink that bottle of wine last night, did you? Similarly, we’re too often focused on how much money we earn and not concerned enough with how we spend the money we currently make. Did you really need to buy that bottle of wine last night?
It’s sure easy to mock the “one percent” and the “one percent of the one percent” these days. I mean, when they compare their plight to Jews in Nazi Germany and claim they’re rich simply because they work harder than the rest of us, what do they expect. It may be true that they work harder than the rest of us, but saying it outside of their head is just as moronic as those who claim life is hard because they’re beautiful.
The truth is many wealthy people become so through their own volition. Many did work hard and smart. Sam Zell is right that the rest of us would do ourselves a favor if we spend as much time emulating the “one percent” as we do bashing them. That is what we’re going to do here.