Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Door Buster Specials–we must be in the middle of the Holiday Season. The Madison Avenue advertising juggernaut is in full force, with supposedly red hot deals, super buys and incredible savings. Our wants are being tra
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Door Buster Specials–we must be in the middle of the Holiday Season. The Madison Avenue advertising juggernaut is in full force, with supposedly red hot deals, super buys and incredible savings. Our wants are being transformed into needs. At the same time, we as consumers are being coerced to spend, spend and spend more, even if we don’t have the money.
Closer to home, our 401(k) statement is bleak, one of our friends has been laid off and it has finally been determined that the country is in a recession—since December 2007! By many accounts, we are in the midst of one of the toughest economic downturns in recent history.
The expectations of the holiday season are in stark contrast to the outlook for the current and near term economy. For most of us, these are conflicting and challenging times. So what, if anything, is there to be thankful for?
Being thankful I recently asked my son and two of his friends, all in their mid-20s, to take five minutes and individually write down what they are thankful for. Keep in mind this is the hip-hop generation, raised on iPods, Nikes, rap, XBoxes, Wiis, HD-TV, etc. Below is just a sample of what they wrote:
What am I thankful for: • I am thankful for life. • I am thankful for God. • I am thankful for my family. • I am thankful for my friends. • I am thankful for my job. • I am thankful for the women in my life. • I am thankful for my car.
Each of the young men read the top three items from their list, and all of their responses were centered on their faith, family or relationships.
Too often we take for granted the many blessings we experience on a daily basis–life, health, relationships, freedom and the list goes on. We are brainwashed into feeling inadequate because we don’t have trendy clothes, the fancy car, a big screen TV or whatever is professed to equate with the American dream. In fact, to too many people outside of this country, we are living the American dream.
Are you thankful? What are you thankful for? Right now, take five minutes to write down your list. Ask your family, friends or close relatives to write down their lists. Share and discuss your lists with each other. What’s common in your lists? What would you have added after hearing theirs? How do you feel about your family’s situation, and what can you do to move it forward?
Looking forward Next year is forecast, by many economists, to be a tough economic environment. However, America is a resilient, resourceful and adaptive country. It was born by revolution, survived a civil war and two world wars. Many of the economic mechanism put in place during the Depression of the 1930s, such as the Federal Reserve Bank, Federal Deposit Insurance and unemployment insurance have and will continue to serve the country well during tough economic times.
I am optimistic about the future for two reasons. First, I feel that my son and his friends are representative of our future. The basic American values are there, and although I may not always agree with their music, dress or tattoos, etc., they will assume their roles and responsibilities as needed in the future. Secondly, we have a new national leadership and a commitment to change the direction of our country. I am thankful to be an American and God Bless the USA.
Michael G. Shinn, CFP, Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of and securities offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC
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