STUDENT LOAN DEBT KILLING ECONOMY FOR SOME

#StudentLoans #StudentLoanDebt #economy #college
Imagine having your dream job, after a great education, and yet be broke.
That is the case with Melissa Cefalu, a veterinarian, and her husband Andrew, a chiropractor.
You see, Melissa and Andrew are buried under $365,000 in student loan debt.
Paul Davidson highlighted their story in his USA Today article about how student loan debt is hurting the U.S. economy. It was also published in the July 7, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Melissa and Andrew never take vacations. They may grab a long weekend with friends or relatives. Andrew drives a 13-year-old Chevy Tahoe. Instead of buying new clothes, Melissa, 35, wears her sister’s hand-me-downs, according to Davidson’s article.
The $1.34 trillion in student loan debt, a record high, is affecting the overall economy, Davidson writes. It’s causing delays in home purchases, it’s crimping consumer spending and inhibiting formation of new businesses, the article quotes analysts. He quotes others as saying the student loan debt crisis is no more than a lot of hype.
“I love what I do but … I don’t feel my degree was worth the sacrifices we have to make every single day,” the article quotes Melissa Cefalu. The couple, between them, makes $125,000 a year, and lives in affordable Madison, Miss.
Let’s break this down further. We’ve all heard about the excessive student loan debt, and the debate rages on about how to fix the problem. Should we, as a nation bail out these loans, or should we let the people who incurred the debt take their medicine – probably for a lifetime?
At the rate they are going, Melissa and Andrew will probably never be able to save for a house, let alone retirement, for a good long time. Theirs is a lesson for others thinking about whether college will be worth what they will have to do financially to get through.
And the Mississippi couple’s example shows that even if you come out of college with a decent job, doing what you had always wanted, debt can punch you in the gut for many years. Think about the graduate who comes out of college with no job, AND lots of debt.
Statistics repeatedly show that the more education one has, the better his job prospects. Still, the decision whether to go to college should not be automatic, even for the brightest of students.
There are many different ways to approach the problem. Consider these options: if a student is college material, but his family cannot afford to send him, he could work for a few years at a relatively menial job, i.e. a restaurant server, and save his money to go to college later in life. That same student could take that menial job, and take some college courses part time over a few years until he has the money to go to school full time.
Secondly, a student could consider military service for a few years, presuming he is physically able for that. The service may entitle him to college benefits after he serves his tour of duty.
Thirdly, a student may decide to look for a vehicle that will provide him enough income to eventually give him a world of educational options, without incurring a lifetime of debt. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Regardless of how you may feel about student loan debt, and how it may be affecting the economy, consider this: if a student incurs debt that would surpass a mortgage, that student will not be able to do much of anything financially for a good long time. He or she could grow old and broke, with very little help to get out of their situation.
If you don’t want to be among those folks, think long and hard about whether, and when, to go to college. College is not for everybody, and for those who are ripe for college academically, but not financially, it’s still not a decision to be made without lots of thought.
He who properly thinks through the college decision will likely see the most success as a productive adult.
Peter

TAKING THE LONG VIEW OF FINANCES

#millennials #BabyBoomers #economy
Home prices in Seattle are soaring.
So, Kathryn Jacoby, 30, and Jeff Whitehill, 32 came to a sobering conclusion: buy now, before prices went up further, or they may never afford to own a home. They bought a 72-year-old house for $550,000. It may be more than they can afford on their combined $110,000 annual income, but they felt time was not on their side.
George Erb wrote of the couple’s plight, and that of other millennials, in the Seattle Times.
Meanwhile, Rodney Brooks writes of how baby boomers are bridging the Generation Gap. His article for The Washington Post was based on Lori Bitter’s book, “The Grandparent Economy: How Baby Boomers Are Bridging the Generation Gap.” The book focuses how baby boomers may be taking care of several generations of their family, be they their parents or their children who may not have recovered financially from the Great Recession of 2008.
“The real story is they (boomers) may have two or three generation of people living in their homes that they were working their butts off to support,” Brooks quotes Bitter. That puts their retirement plans in some peril.
Both Erb’s and Brooks’ articles were published in the March 6, 2017, issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Meanwhile, Ron Lieber wrote in the New York Times of financial trade-offs people make, whether they know it or not. Some take two or three jobs just so they can raise their kids in a certain neighborhood. Others experience life now, perhaps after the sudden death of a relative, lest they not get to do it again, etc.
Lieber’s article was published April 24, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Let’s break this down a bit further. If you are young, you need to be actively engaged in financial planning, including not only what you earn, but what you spend and what you save. The young couple in Erb’s article believed that housing appreciation was going to continue for the foreseeable future, so they extended themselves a bit to buy a house.
If that holds true, they’ll appreciate that decision later. However, there is much peril in the meantime. They borrowed $30,000 from Jacoby’s parents, and Whitehill has a $60,000 student loan to pay off.
Hopefully, they can pay down those debts and they will earn more income over time. The latter is far from guaranteed, making the former more difficult.
Rather than borrow money from parents to help buy a house, some young people are still living with their parents, as Brooks’ article discusses.
The point here is that all generations alive today face financial challenges. The trick is doing what you need to do to overcome them.
With technology and globalization throwing a monkey wrench into job security, people in all generations might want to think about ways to earn extra income, preferably without taking a pound of flesh from themselves, or having no time to really live.
There are many options available to accomplish this. To hear about one of the best, message me.
With job security far from assured, no matter in what field one is employed, financial risks become that much riskier. Still, taking no risk at all generally doesn’t get one very far. As long as the risks are calculated, and one plans accommodations to alleviate some of the peril, there’s no telling what the payoff can be.
Here’s wishing the millennials great financial planning skill, and baby boomers great coping skills as they deal with their issues.
Peter

TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE NOT ALWAYS GOOD, BUT …

It may not have been as devastating as the Great Depression, but the recession of 2008 changed a lot of lives, in many cases, not for the better.
As New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, after such a change, “a certain number of people are dispossessed. They lose identity, self-respect and hope.
“They begin to base their sense of self-worth on their tribe, not their behavior,” he continues.
“They become mired in their resentments, spiraling deeper into the addiction of their own victimology,” he adds.
Brooks discussed this in relation to national politics in a column published July 15, 2016, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If you were dealt a blow sometime around 2008, or since, you probably can relate.
Perhaps you lost a job, and haven’t been able to find one that pays you anywhere close to the job you lost. Perhaps you lost your house.
You keep hearing that things are getting better. The economy is picking up, say the experts. Yet, you don’t feel it.
You tend to blame people, or things, that really are not to blame. Even the employer who canned you, if that happened to you, probably was forced to.
Bear this in mind: blaming takes valuable energy away from solving the problem at hand.
Blaming is also easy. Solving the problem may be more difficult.
You may also hear that employers WANT to hire more people now. Yet, you are not among those they are looking for.
An example might be that police forces and the military are looking for new recruits. But you might not be the best candidate for that because, for example, you are too old. Even if you are the right age, perhaps you are not in the kind of physical shape to deal with the rigors of the job.
Perhaps you’ve just graduated college, with a good bit of debt, but employers want something more than just your raw brain to train. They want built-in expertise that you don’t have.
Therefore, you feel you have nowhere to turn. The natural instinct is to blame.
However, there are many ways out there to take your problem into your own hands, and help others do the same. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
The economy is going through a transition to the information age. As Brooks points out, it went through something similar in the 1880s, when it transitioned from an agriculture base to an industrial base.
“America still has great resources at the local and social level,” Brooks writes. He believes local is more powerful.
When a natural disaster befalls us, we must decide to rebuild or move. The choice is clearly in our hands. In this era, we have choices. The choice to be a victim is not healthy. The choice to take matters into our own hands, perhaps with the help of great local resources, is preferable.
Doing so may mean changing what you did, and how you did it, or getting used to something new, different and, at least at first, uncomfortable. But it can be done if you just look for the right vehicle for you.
If you have the urge to blame, remember this: You can’t embrace what is gone forever. But it can help you embrace what comes next.
Peter

CHEAPER GASOLINE PUMPS ALL OF US UP

#cheapoil #OPEC #gasprices

The elements of an improving economy may not be obvious to everyone.
But the shrinking price of gasoline certainly is.
In fact, gasoline is as cheap as it has been in many years.
Why is it so cheap and how long are these prices expected to last?
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decided not to cut crude oil production to raise prices.
On top of that, the United States, Canada and other regions are producing more oil, according to an article by Rick Jervis for USA Today. His article appeared in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Nov. 23, 2014, prior to the OPEC meeting on Thanksgiving.
Jervis’ article pointed out that while OPEC could still influence the oil market, it doesn’t have as much clout as it did years ago. In fact, a decision by OPEC – whatever that was – would have made the front page of every U.S. newspaper years ago. On Friday, newspapers ran the story but most ran it on the inside, or on the front of the business section.
Sure, we are loving paying less at the pump. It’s real money going back into our pockets. Still, the oil industry doesn’t like these low prices. OPEC was between a rock and a hard spot. If it cut production to raise prices, it would encourage more oil exploration in the United States and elsewhere. Getting oil out of the shale and tar sands of North Dakota and Texas, though it has been a blessing for us consumers, is still more expensive than getting it out of the deserts of the Middle East.
The lower prices are discouraging more exploration here and, as Jervis’ article pointed out, OPEC was keenly aware of that. The oil industry is not in business to give us cheap gasoline, though that has been the result of alternative oil sourcing.
Another big bonus for the United States is that it is not so reliant on countries who may not like us much. Though any new skirmish in the Middle East could send oil prices soaring again, it would also encourage more exploration here.
Also, we are using less oil and gasoline here. Vehicles are more fuel efficient. Many vehicles are only partially fueled by gasoline. Some vehicles are not fueled at all by gasoline. Less demand keeps prices down.
And, as The New York Times recently reported, alternative fuels, such as wind and solar power, are becoming nearly as cost-effective as coal and natural gas. That will trend well toward keeping oil and gasoline prices down.
In the last several years, many of us have been hurt by a troubled economy. We’ve been hurt so badly that we don’t see what’s good about today’s economy.
What should we do? First, put the money you are saving at the gas pump into a savings vehicle. It will take you a while to see financial recovery that way, but it would be a start.
Second, if you truly aren’t feeling the good economy, check out the many other ways there are to make money outside of a job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll find average people making above-average incomes, and helping others do the same.
Just because you can’t see everything happening in the economy doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The gasoline prices are obvious to all of us. The rising stock market may not be obvious to all.
The lesson for all of us is to be optimistic about the future. Don’t let the naysayers tell you we are heading for hell in a hand basket. The future looks bright. And, you can make your own future bright by taking action you may never have thought of taking. Go for it! You won’t know what there is to gain until you look for it.
Peter

SILENT ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS

#economy
We hear and read that the economy is really improving.
Yet, many of us don’t see it, or feel it.
The reasons may be too numerous to mention all of them, but a few key ones are: you may have lost a good job and gotten a new one, but you are making less money. Many of us had to get back on our feet, sort of, by making less money. That is a trend. Businesses want more and better work, for less.
Here’s another: you had a house. You either lost your house in foreclosure, or you had to sell your house for less than it was worth because you lost your job. Your new job, if you’ve gotten one, pays less, but you had to take a lesser house. What gets you, too, is that some rich investor gobbled up your former house for pennies on the dollar, and is either renting it to someone else in your situation, or has resold it for more than you could have afforded to buy it back. To the investor, the economy is booming. But you don’t feel it.
A third: you were lucky to keep your job that you’ve had all these years. You’ve survived downsizings, buyouts and the like, intact. But you have not had a raise in years. Your costs, for everything, have gone up. You don’t see the boom in the economy. Yet, you are supposed to consider yourself lucky to have survived. Perhaps, it’s the new normal.
For those who already had pretty good means, the economy is improving. They are seeing the recession disappear, and their fortunes return, and even improve. But so many are left in the dust. They have been downsized, resized and even “recovered.” Yet, they may never see anything resembling the life they once had. They were good at what they did, helped their employers do well, but they were forced to find a new life with less.
You start to see signs saying employers are hiring. You check out some of them, and find that the jobs they are hiring for will hardly make you a living, or are part time. Or, perhaps, the jobs not only don’t pay well, they are incompatible with your life. There may be a shortage of truck drivers, as has been recently reported. But having a job that puts you on the road at all hours of the day and night for $50,000 a year just isn’t going to work for you. There was a time when driving a truck paid much better. Those days are gone.
We are starting to read and hear about companies hiring, shortages in certain professions and even new jobs being created. When you check them out, many of them are either beyond your qualifications or they don’t pay nearly what they should. Wages should start to rise in this situation, but they are slow to. Employers still believe there are enough desperate people out there that they can still pay less.
So, if you are not seeing the boom in the economy that many are talking about, you are not alone.
There is good news here. There are many things out there that can provide an alternative to the traditional job. And, they can pay you pretty handsomely. But, as in anything, you have to be a person who wants something badly enough to look at something different.
If you are that person, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau, and see one of the best.
You can mope, cope and hope. Or, you can look outside what you know, get a desire to change things for yourself and take the plunge. In this new world, others will willingly help you succeed.
Some may want you to settle for less. Don’t settle. Succeed.
Peter

#retirement bust YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ALL SET, BUT …

History may judge the years 2007 to 2012, give or take a few years on either end, as the retirement bust years.
People not only lost jobs just before they were about to retire, but also their pensions shrank.
People who thought they were all set for retirement, with a nice, promised pension, got a rude awakening. The monthly benefit on their retirement documentation shrunk considerably.
It was a combination of the economy tanking, and companies contributing less, if anything at all, to their retirement accounts. Added to that, the stock market , which supports most retirement accounts, took a big tumble. The bottom fell out of thenNet worth of everything – companies and individuals.
Even the savviest investor could not prevent what happened in those years, short of taking his money out of the financial markets ahead of time. Any investor who withdraws completely is probably not that savvy. Savvy investors take the ups and downs of the market as an expectation, though no one expected what happened in those years.
So the question becomes not whom to blame for the mess. There’s plenty of blame to be spread around among Wall Street, government and, yes, individual decisions. But blaming wastes energy that should be focused on recovery.
We all have had to rethink retirement. Some of us have told ourselves we have to work until we die. Some of those folks may have other alternatives, but they are not seeing them.
Certainly, some of us have said we have to work past the age we thought we were going to retire. That’s fine if you are in good health personally. But don’t think for a minute that your job will be there for as long as you want it. Companies reorganize drastically and often. The younger generation of workers, when they retire, may brag about how many reorgs they survived, just as the older generation is thankful for the steady work they had.
Speaking of young people, they may want to think twice about ASSUMING they will survive every reorg. It’s great to believe, or even be told, how good you are at what you do and how your employer cannot possibly live without you.
But, you can’t always see into the future. The world changes quickly. Companies are constantly looking at ways to work more efficiently. Lots of good people have lost jobs they expected to have for as long as they wanted to work.
How do we avoid the instinct to cast blame and rethink retirement? First, work on you. Make sure you have a good and optimistic attitude. Remember, those who innovate are usually optimists. It’s tough to see the future properly without believing that all, eventually, will be good.
Secondly, think about the things you DON’T like to do – things that make you “uncomfortable,” or so you believe. Give them a try. Then, try them again, and again etc. This will take you out of your comfort zone, where you may have to go, eventually, to survive.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to look at something different. The people who lament that they thought they were all set, are many of the same people who tell themselves, “oh, I couldn’t possibly do THAT!”
There are many ways to fight this. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. If you leave your comfort zone to look at something new, you may lose the instinct to cast blame for your troubles, and find a way out.
This may not be your dad’s way to retire, but the world has changed. We need to be part of our own solutions, rather than focusing on how we got into trouble.
Think of it this way: the federal government bails out some companies because innocent people would get hurt if they didn’t. But they won’t bail you out as an individual if you get hurt. You have to bail yourself out. You might not only bail yourself out, but prosper in many ways in the process.
Peter

YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ALL SET, BUT …

History may judge the years 2007 to 2012, give or take a few years on either end, as the retirement bust years.
People not only lost jobs just before they were about to retire, but also their pensions shrank.
People who thought they were all set for retirement, with a nice, promised pension, got a rude awakening. The monthly benefit on their retirement documentation shrunk considerably.
It was a combination of the economy tanking, and companies contributing less, if anything at all, to their retirement accounts. Added to that, the stock market , which supports most retirement accounts, took a big tumble. Net worth of everything – companies and individuals — had the bottom fall out.
Even the savviest investor could not prevent what happened in those years, short of taking his money out of the financial markets ahead of time. Any investor who withdraws completely is probably not that savvy. Savvy investors take the ups and downs of the market as an expectation, though no one expected what happened in those years.
So the question becomes not who to blame for the mess. There’s plenty of blame to be spread around among Wall Street, government and, yes, individual decisions. But blaming wastes energy that should be focused on recovery.
We have all had to rethink retirement. Some of us have told ourselves we have to work until we die. Some of those folks may have other alternatives, but they are not seeing them.
Certainly, some of us have said we have to work past the age we thought we were going to retire. That’s fine if you are in good health personally. But don’t think for a minute that your job will be there for as long as you want it. Companies reorganize drastically and often. The younger generation of workers, when they retire, may brag about how many reorgs they survived, just as the older generation is thankful for the steady work they had.
Speaking of young people, they may want to think twice about ASSUMING they will survive every reorg. It’s great to believe, or even be told, how good you are at what you do and how your employer cannot possibly live without you.
But, you can’t always see into the future, especially today. The world changes quickly. Companies are constantly looking at ways to work more efficiently. Lots of good people have lost jobs they expected to have for as long as they wanted to work.
How do we avoid the instinct to cast blame and rethink retirement? First, work on you. Make sure you have a good and optimistic attitude. Remember, those who innovate are usually optimists. It’s tough to see the future properly without believing that all, eventually, will be good.
Secondly, think about the things you DON’T like to do – things that make you “uncomfortable,” or so you believe. Give them a try. Then, try them again, and again etc. This will take you out of your comfort zone, where you may have to go, eventually, to survive.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to look at something different. The people who lament that they thought they were all set, are many of the same people who tell themselves, “oh, I couldn’t possibly do THAT!”
There are many ways to fight this. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. If you leave your comfort zone to look at something new, you may lose the instinct to cast blame for your troubles, and find a way out.
This may not be your dad’s way to retire, but the world has changed. We need to be part of our own solutions, rather than focusing on how we got into trouble.
Think of it this way: the federal government bails out some companies because innocent people would get hurt if they didn’t. But they won’t bail you out as an individual if you get hurt. You have to bail yourself out. You might not only bail yourself out, but prosper in many ways in the process.
Peter

ECONOMY WILL COME BACK IF WE ARE OPTIMISTIC

Most leadership experts and motivational speakers and authors talk about the power of thought.
We become what we think, the adage goes.
As Frank Daniels III, community conversations editor for the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville put it, 10 years ago, we lived in fear. We had to sleep with an eye open because we had no confidence things would get better. That kind of thinking, Daniels wrote in a Dec. 8, 2013, column, is the most debilitating factor in our economy.
Income gaps between rich and poor are growing. People who want work can’t find it. Some who are working are not earning enough to support themselves or their families.
Technology and other progress helps companies do more with less. But those who lose their jobs because of technological advances pay the price.
All these things are circumstances – many of which we can’t control. But we can control how we react to them.
Though things in one’s past may have been really good, the past is gone. We have to believe that the future is going to better. Author and speaker Andy Andrews, in “The Noticer Returns,” says that perspective is everything. We have to be actively grateful for the good things in our lives. Gratitude begets optimism.
Too many people are walking around with anger, frustration and pessimism. They believe the world and their lives will get worse, not better. Andrews would call this a period of confusion. Things are changing, and we don’t know what’s coming next. We have a choice: we can look at this confusion as opportunity, or we can fear the confusion and try to stay out of it.
Staying out of the “confusion” leads not just to malaise about the world, it will likely seal one’s dismal future. If you are optimistic during this confusion, you will take the action you need to make your life better.
Our thoughts lead to actions. Optimism, followed by action, produces a good life. It may not happen overnight. Our “confusion” can last for years. But we have to see this “confusion” as something we can work through.
The question for each of us, of course, is how does one work through the “confusion.” If you are out of work, your chances of finding another job that pays you what you made before, or better, are slim. It’s not your fault, but you probably will have to think about operating with a lower salary, or do something else to enhance your income.
There are lots of vehicles out there to enhance one’s income without a traditional job, or while working a traditional job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Consider it a test: if you check out other sources of income, and walk away from them because you are “confused” about them, stop. Perhaps what you are looking at is not “confusing” at all. You may just need to tell yourself, “Wow! I know I can do this.”
So think long, hard and optimistically about your future. Instead of waiting for the next shoe to drop, build a dream board. Instead of believing the world will get worse before it gets better, reflect on the good parts of your life NOW. It will help you see the future in a better light.
We can’t go back to the way things were. But we can go ahead to bigger and better things amid our current “confusion.”
Peter
P.S.: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

CAPITAL, LABOR AND ECONOMIC FUTURE

Are we, or have we been, moving into a trend in which capital surpasses labor as the economic engine?
New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman thinks so.
From the working person’s viewpoint, the economy is still quite depressed. But economic figures are improving and corporations are making record profits. Many of these companies are holding on to their cash for dear life, fearing the investment and regulatory climate now and to come.
Krugman points out that manufacturing is moving back to the U.S. from overseas. He uses the example of manufacturing computer mother boards. They are made largely by robots, so the cheap, Asian labor is no longer needed. Perhaps that’s why we hear that China’s economy is contracting.
But let’s look at the way things are, from where you sit. Chances are, if you are still working, you have at least some fear that your job is going to go away before you want it to. Perhaps you are saving your pennies, and not spending frivolously, in anticipation of being shown the door at work. The U.S. savings rate needed a shot in the arm, for sure, but how it is getting it is quite disconcerting.
Perhaps you are out of work, and have been for a while. You scratch your head because the job you had, which you had thought, or even had been told, was vital to your company just went away. It’s not as if you had done a lousy job at it and were replaced. Your job just went away, and it’s not coming back.
Meanwhile, you hear about record profits for companies and wonder why they are not putting some of that money back into their operations, i.e. in creating new jobs. Well, they probably don’t have to. Technology has improved to the point at which machines replace people in big numbers. No matter how much money they have, companies will not create jobs they don’t think they need. Some will actually cut jobs they should maintain.
This phenomenon is detrimental to what we know as the middle class. Because those with the capital have political benefactors, they may be creating a political system that lets them get richer at others’ expense. When the successful are protected in this way, the less successful become more vulnerable. As Krugman says, we’re not talking about a gap between the educated work force and the less educated. In this milieu, EVERYONE gets paid less. When the less successful become more vulnerable, they not only get paid less for what they do. They pay more for what they need.
INHERITANCE TAXES CAN HURT
Krugman says that the rich also are fighting to eliminate inheritance taxes. He may find some disagreement here, because inheritance taxes can prevent family businesses from being given to future generations of that family. Sometimes, families have to sell their businesses to cover the tax bill, and there is something wrong with that. On the other hand, there could be large amounts of wealth being easily transferred to people who are already wealthy, without adding to the economic engine.
If this trend of forced idleness continues, it bodes ill. Look at what is happening in other countries, where young, often educated people can’t find work. Such free time among a disgruntled group can lead to all sorts of bad things.
However, in all this, there is good news. There are lots of ways out there to make money, without worrying about having a traditional job. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Hear and see the stories of how average people are making above-average incomes, and helping others do the same. It also attacks the notion of paying more for what one needs.
So if you are working, think about your plan B. Savings will certainly help you, but they may not cover all your bills without a paycheck. If you are not working, don’t be discouraged. Check out one of the many opportunities there are, through which average people, regardless of education, are prospering. Sometimes, becoming successful just requires being open to looking at something different.
It has been said that the best way to help the poor is to not be one of them. The best way to fight the capital vs. labor battle that Krugman illustrates is to find ways to generate more real capital. Kurgman calls the capital guys robber barons. If you help people prosper with you, that’s makes you a benefactor.
Peter

CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND YOUR CONTROL

The Libra horoscope for Dec. 8, 2012, read: “Don’t waste time speculating about how you would perform in other circumstances. Focus instead on the circumstances you’re in now.”
That horoscope was published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Not everyone takes horoscopes seriously, of course. But this one has a resonating message.
It makes one think about the difference between wishes and dreams.
A wish is something you want, but usually can’t get. A wish is usually something that depends on circumstances to come true.
A dream is something a person can ACHIEVE, regardless of circumstances, if he really wants it.
A dream is usually something a person creates, along with the way he’s going to achieve it.
Circumstances are none of your business. You can’t control most circumstances. Circumstances result from things that happen beyond your sphere of influence. What takes place in your sphere of influence is how you react to the circumstances around you.
For the last three years, the economy has been in the pits. Lots of folks lost jobs. Some still have not gotten new ones. Others have gotten new ones, but at far less than they were earning before they lost their original job.
Jobs are circumstances. They do not belong to the job holder. There is no entitlement to work. Jobs will come and go, through no fault of the job holder. Some will never come back, either to the job holder or anyone else.
Job holders can’t wish for time to go backward. They have to deal with new realities. They have to face the fact that the job that took care of their lives and families is gone. It would be the same as if a hurricane, or other natural disaster, wiped out one’s livelihood, home or entire town. You may have known it was coming, but you never really know how bad it’s going to be until it hits YOU.
CIRCUMSTANCES ARE LIKE THE WEATHER
Most circumstances, like the weather, are beyond your control. When a boxer faces his opponent in the ring, he knows he’s going to get hit. He can do a lot of things to prevent himself from getting hurt, but he can’t prevent everything. And, he certainly can’t prevent his opponent from swinging at him.
We all face certain circumstances. We can’t wallow in the misery, and expect to come out better. We have to DO something to make things better. We have to acknowledge what has happened, but not be paralyzed by it. We must look at the bad, yet see the good – or potential good – of any circumstance.
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If you face tough circumstances, think of all that is good in your life. Let those thoughts dominate your mind. Don’t wish for things to be better. Do what you need to do to make them better. Don’t wish for circumstances to be different. You can’t control them. Establish a dream, write it down, and go about achieving it. If you focus on that, after a while, circumstances won’t matter to you. Circumstances can take away your job, home, possessions and surroundings. They cannot take away your dream.
It’s been said to focus on the things you can control. You can’t control most circumstances. You can control how you respond to them.
Peter