Our Saturday morning family breakfast conversation began with talk of Verizon and Home Depot layoffs. Both announcements affected people we know. A friend is succumbing to the death rattles in his restaurant, which he began in 2007 with much fanfare and optimism. "My competition closed last year and with less competition, I thought I could hold out. But there are fewer customers as people are still hunkered down and pulling their money belts tighter."
With the recovery staggering through a muddy rut in the middle of a country road, there is an unsettled air across the nation. We have gone beyond looking for the witch and now seek the magic elixir for economic recovery. GDP is growing, mainly pushed by corporations realizing the productivity benefits of their downsizing and banks flush with cash, making their predictable smart investments in sure bets here and abroad.
Almost 18 percent of the folks are in need of meaningful work. People that are working as independent contractors, especially in self promotion disciplines such as training, advertising, marketing, travel and entertainment, are still in business but are seeing less of it. They are not counted in any of the employment figures but do account for fewer disposable dollars that feeds the economic recovery engine.
The banks will not return to the loose credit days. And many people will not return to undisciplined personal finance. This will cause a slower, sounder recovery. Canada did not fall as deep in the global recession because of the adherence of banks and citizens to obedient economics; 20% down on a house purchase, no easy loans, little credit card abuse. And the US is moving back to that platform, we hope.
Be creative with your business, market yourself, manage your pennies, save more, watch your debt and make prudent day to day spending and investment decisions. Be better off every four years because of what you have done without attention to what the government says or does.
Charles Fellingham is Founder of QAlias and a Podium Coach