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Leaving the government spending/deficit out of the discussion.....

 

People talk about the bad economy and hard times. In my day to day life I am not seeing it.

 

I see people taking vacation. I see people with the latest technology like fancy phones, netbooks, and ipads. I see people with newer cars. I see the Kindle or Nook everywhere. I see kids with Nintendo DSi and ipods. I see people with their kids in many different activities many of which cost a chunk of change.

 

Around here the stores are always busy. The malls are packed. Restaurants are packed and have wait lists.

 

Most people I know have pay for lawn service. I hear people telling me about their home renovations such as new house color because they don't like the shade of gray their house is.

 

Dh and I just scratch our heads. Where is the bad economy?

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Guest Dulcimeramy
Leaving the government spending/deficit out of the discussion.....

 

People talk about the bad economy and hard times. In my day to day life I am not seeing it.

 

I see people taking vacation. I see people with the latest technology like fancy phones, netbooks, and ipads. I see people with newer cars. I see the Kindle or Nook everywhere. I see kids with Nintendo DSi and ipods. I see people with their kids in many different activities many of which cost a chunk of change.

 

Around here the stores are always busy. The malls are packed. Restaurants are packed and have wait lists.

 

Most people I know have pay for lawn service. I hear people telling me about their home renovations such as new house color because they don't like the shade of gray their house is.

 

Dh and I just scratch our heads. Where is the bad economy?

 

I know those people, too. It is a matter of being able to see the underbelly. My church friends may have iPads and restaurant dates, but my neighbors are (literally, today) knocking on my door offering to clean out my gutters for $10.

 

My cousins are remodeling their house, but my sons and several others are quitting taekwondo because what was affordable last month may never be affordable again.

 

Its the "haves" and the "have-nots," and the gulf is ever widening.

 

Then again, some of the "haves" are shamming. They just haven't hit the end of their credit yet.

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we spent two years unemployed thanks to our bad economy [Mr. Boo is a charter jet pilot]. During that two years we were able to maintain a lot of activities thanks to the nest egg we had saved up. We went to Big Bend, stayed involved in activities, and the kids did some serious fundraising so they could still attend some pricey Scout camps.

 

but I agree w/ Dulcimeramy-- most people are just shamming till the end of their credit......

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I think it depends upon where you live, what your local economy is based upon and what you see in your social strata. If your local economy was based upon manufacturing (Detroit), then the economy has turned extremely bad for you. If your local economy is based on tech or government (military bases, etc), then you probably aren't doing so badly.

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It can be very different in various regions of the US. One huge factor is the unemployment rate in your area. We live on the border of Oregon and Washington and unemployment rates are between 9-10%. That is ONE IN TEN are out of work!! My husband is in sales and these numbers greatly affect his income level, in fact he may be loosing his job in 30 days due to it.

 

 

Yes it is very, very bad here. If he loses his job it could likely take a year or more to replace it and it won't be at his current wage. There are hundreds of people applying for every job in our area.

 

Unemployment Rates for States

Monthly Rankings

Seasonally Adjusted

Dec. 2010

Rank State Rate

1 NORTH DAKOTA 3.8

2 NEBRASKA 4.3

3 SOUTH DAKOTA 4.7

4 NEW HAMPSHIRE 5.6

5 VERMONT 5.8

6 IOWA 6.1

7 HAWAII 6.3

8 WYOMING 6.4

9 VIRGINIA 6.6

10 KANSAS 6.8

10 OKLAHOMA 6.8

12 MINNESOTA 6.9

13 MARYLAND 7.4

13 MONTANA 7.4

15 MAINE 7.5

15 UTAH 7.5

15 WISCONSIN 7.5

18 LOUISIANA 7.7

19 ALASKA 7.9

19 ARKANSAS 7.9

21 NEW YORK 8.2

22 MASSACHUSETTS 8.3

22 TEXAS 8.3

24 DELAWARE 8.5

24 PENNSYLVANIA 8.5

26 NEW MEXICO 8.6

27 COLORADO 8.9

28 CONNECTICUT 9.0

29 ALABAMA 9.1

29 NEW JERSEY 9.1

31 ILLINOIS 9.2

32 WASHINGTON 9.3

33 TENNESSEE 9.4

34 INDIANA 9.5

34 OHIO 9.5

36 ARIZONA 9.6

36 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 9.6

36 MISSOURI 9.6

39 IDAHO 9.7

39 WEST VIRGINIA 9.7

41 NORTH CAROLINA 9.8

42 MISSISSIPPI 10.2

43 KENTUCKY 10.3

44 GEORGIA 10.4

45 OREGON 10.6

46 SOUTH CAROLINA 10.9

47 MICHIGAN 11.1

48 RHODE ISLAND 11.5

49 FLORIDA 12.0

50 CALIFORNIA 12.5

51 NEVADA 14.9

 

NOTE: Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Data refer to place of residence. Estimates for the latest five years have been revised to reflect updated inputs and model re-estimation.

 

 

It also depends on your social circles. Some of our friends in one group, are still very wealthy. Others, in a different group are broke and in debt up to their nickers. We definitely see the divide widening between the haves and have nots.

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I think it depends upon where you live, what your local economy is based upon and what you see in your social strata. If your local economy was based upon manufacturing (Detroit), then the economy has turned extremely bad for you. If your local economy is based on tech or government (military bases, etc), then you probably aren't doing so badly.

 

:iagree:

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I think it depends upon where you live, what your local economy is based upon and what you see in your social strata. If your local economy was based upon manufacturing (Detroit), then the economy has turned extremely bad for you. If your local economy is based on tech or government (military bases, etc), then you probably aren't doing so badly.

 

This is true. While the economy is worse here, we haven't been hit as hard as the rest of the country. I know people who've lost jobs, but don't know anybody who's been unemployed for an extended length of time. (I'm not saying they don't exist. I just don't personally know them.) I do know people who have had benefits cut and salaries frozen, though.

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we spent two years unemployed thanks to our bad economy [Mr. Boo is a charter jet pilot]. During that two years we were able to maintain a lot of activities thanks to the nest egg we had saved up. We went to Big Bend, stayed involved in activities, and the kids did some serious fundraising so they could still attend some pricey Scout camps.

 

but I agree w/ Dulcimeramy-- most people are just shamming till the end of their credit......

 

Am I seeing things? :w00t::seeya:

 

Welcome back!

 

Around here, I have never seen so many people riding bikes in winter. And they look like they need to get some where...they're not just out for pleasure. Dressed completely for the weather w/backpacks...not "sporty-type" stuff.

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I'm interested in where folks live in relation to how the economy is in their area. I live in Nor. Cali. and many of my friends have been effected by the bad economy. Our homeschool group does a lot more free stuff this year and last than they did the first year we were part of it. More folks have joined the charter schools to get help with paying for extra-cur. Lessons for swimming, piano etc have actually gotten more expensive this year so a lot of my friends are scrambling to be able to keep their kids in these ativities. I would give the estimate that about 20% of the families in our h.s. group have either foreclosed/short saled on a home and a few others have had to move to other locations for work/cost of living. One couple in our church has divorced due to financial probs. The homes out here are still way over-priced in my opinion for what this particular area offers. Now, among us military wives, here at this base, I don't see much change at all. Our husbands do have regular incomes and we live on base so our utilities are included in our monthly rent.

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It depends on where you live, I think. I haven't read all the other posts but I live in Las Vegas. We've been hit hard. We are still at 15% unemployment and those are only the folks reporting. I work in a Food Pantry and our numbers have increased 15% over last year and 35% over 2009. That's bad.

Entire strip malls are vacant. We live in a working class neighborhood. There is at least one forclosure per street (16 houses a street). That's bad.

Entire community centers have shut down.

I do see all the "haves" and think, well, the economy can't be that bad. But in my immediate circle we are all "have-nots".

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I said the exact same thing. Until DH lost his job. And then we realized how many of our friends had lost their job, or was going to lose a job, or had to sell their home, was on their last line of credit, etc. All of a sudden people wanted to share things with us, that they didn't before.

 

I think a lot of what you are seeing is people living above their means. But you may also be in an area that is still doing OK.

 

It is pretty bad here. I can't think of anyone in my immediate family and group of friends who has not been affected. There are 4 houses for sale on our street, 3 have been for sale for maybe a year...? Several homes in our neighborhood have gone into foreclosure. People can't afford to stay in their homes, but cannot sell them. And heating oil...that is really hurting everyone here. Hopefully spring comes soon. Our mall has more stores closed than open. I could go on and on.

 

But so much of this was going on around me, and I just didn't notice...until it affected us.

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The company for which my husband works is doing well. Employees have received raises and bonuses throughout the recession.

 

Many local people employed in the construction industry continue to hurt. There were a number of speculators who went belly up. Somehow these people always seem to land on their feet, but the brick masons, carpenters, roofers, etc. of the area are hurting.

 

There are a number of retirees in my area who were certainly cutting back two years ago. While interest rates remain low, the bounce of the stock market seems to have propelled some confidence in the fixed income crowd. I have two friends with RVs who have pulled them out of moth balls (despite the cost of gas).

 

So my area has people who are spending...as well as people who rely on church pantries to help fill in their grocery supply.

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Even with unemployment, on average over 90% of people who want to work, are working. Yes some of them are barely holding on by their fingernails, but the view of the economy is based on where your standing. Nationally things must be getting better, because people are buying, people are investing, and people are driving. Alot of our headlines are kneejerk, and people's moods change depending on how comfortable they feel. When the news shouts that the sky is fallling people feel uncomfortable and even if they themselves are fine, it doesn't feel fine.

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Mrs. Mungo is correct.

 

Michigan is near the bottom and the number listed is well below the actual number of unemployed. Once unemployment benefits expire, those who are still jobless are no longer counted because they are no longer in the system.

 

In my county, the true unemployment rate is 19%. That's huge. At the height of the Great Depression the unemployment rates hit 20-24%. So some areas are seeing a depression. It's just localized.

 

We have empty storefronts, scores of people asking our church for grocery assistance, a state that is going to bankrupt if austerity measures aren't taken, elderly who have frozen to death in their homes because they can't afford any more fuel oil or propane....the laundry list goes on and on. County roads can no longer be repaired. At $60,000.00 dollars per mile to install black top, it simply can't happen. To local paved roads that are going to be requiring far to much patching once this winter passes, will be ripped up, graded and returned to dirt road.

 

Dh and I look comparatively rich. He works for a large computer company on a global account so he works from home and though the hours stink, it is secure. We are in a higher earning bracket than an awful lot of people in this county, and we've got good health benefits. We know how fortunate we are.

 

I know of five teens that are all working on dairy farms for whatever hours they can get and give the money to their folks just to help keep their families afloat.

 

My dad's small business, average gross from previous years of $350,000.00 only grossed for 2010 $150,000.00. He'll be firing employees because he may have to go bankrupt. The problem keeps compounding.

 

We have to head down to Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, or up to Traverse City, Petosky, Charlevoix areas in order to see economies that aren't going bust. Though, I would imagine that eventually they won't be able to continue the illusion.

 

Faith

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Guest Dulcimeramy
Mrs. Mungo is correct.

 

Michigan is near the bottom and the number listed is well below the actual number of unemployed. Once unemployment benefits expire, those who are still jobless are no longer counted because they are no longer in the system.

 

In my county, the true unemployment rate is 19%. That's huge. At the height of the Great Depression the unemployment rates hit 20-24%. So some areas are seeing a depression. It's just localized.

 

We have empty storefronts, scores of people asking our church for grocery assistance, a state that is going to bankrupt if austerity measures aren't taken, elderly who have frozen to death in their homes because they can't afford any more fuel oil or propane....the laundry list goes on and on. County roads can no longer be repaired. At $60,000.00 dollars per mile to install black top, it simply can't happen. To local paved roads that are going to be requiring far to much patching once this winter passes, will be ripped up, graded and returned to dirt road.

 

Dh and I look comparatively rich. He works for a large computer company on a global account so he works from home and though the hours stink, it is secure. We are in a higher earning bracket than an awful lot of people in this county, and we've got good health benefits. We know how fortunate we are.

 

I know of five teens that are all working on dairy farms for whatever hours they can get and give the money to their folks just to help keep their families afloat.

 

My dad's small business, average gross from previous years of $350,000.00 only grossed for 2010 $150,000.00. He'll be firing employees because he may have to go bankrupt. The problem keeps compounding.

 

We have to head down to Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, or up to Traverse City, Petosky, Charlevoix areas in order to see economies that aren't going bust. Though, I would imagine that eventually they won't be able to continue the illusion.

 

Faith

 

Also, there are demographics to consider, even in places that nearly look well.

 

In some places the middle-class white folks are saying that they see economic trouble but not disaster. Well, if you are middle class and white, you might be hanging on by your fingernails but you are working (some) and you haven't given up hope (yet).

 

In your state, black men and teenaged boys might be experiencing unemployment even worse than the Great Depression. The elderly and disabled aren't doing so swift, either. The uneducated lower class and former factory workers are on the brink of true disaster. Food banks and soup kitchens have bare shelves.

 

Sorry for not being more cheerful, but I know this is all true. I live in Indianapolis, and we see the entire spectrum exhibited on our side of town every single day. Some folks are working, wining, dining, and getting their nails done. Some folks are begging door-to-door for work in my suburban neighborhood! And sleeping in parked cars at night.

 

It won't save the nation economically for just the middle-and-upper classes to be surviving. Their numbers are shrinking every day.

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It hit last year in Louisiana when the oil spill happened. My dh is in construction and has worked steadily for many years. After the spill NO one wanted work done on their homes. We started to see a lot of people losing their jobs and we left the region.

 

Where are now is a little better, but dh has been un/underemployed since last May. You won't see me out because at this point I don't have money to put in my gas tank to go anywhere. He's applied for multiple jobs up here, talked with many in his industry and things are very slow. He's getting some work trickle in but the weather has to clear to get started.

 

We're scraping by, but our barrel is just about empty.

 

I definitely think it's regional, LA had been semi-insulated until last year.

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I've done a lot of thinking on appearances. I've discovered that appearances never tell the whole story. Many people mentioned credit.

 

Some problems might not be immediately visible.

 

Some people might be good at hiding it.

 

Some people might be resourceful and able to get things for free or very low cost.

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People

  • talk about their vacations, not staying home.
  • Those who can't afford the restaurant aren't sitting in the parking lot w/ their noses pressed to the windows.
  • Technology can be misleading: it can be an indicator of what someone can afford, or it could be: a gift, a prize, for work. A cell phone doesn't really cost any more (sometimes less) than a landline, & it can have all its other stuff turned off. It can have a bare # of minutes, & it can be for work.
  • Having something for work (incl a car) does not mean gainful employment. Having a job does not mean paying the bills.

 

 

Being w/out is almost always ALWAYS considered a symptom of a character flaw, at least w/in the US. So why would anyone share details that are not immediately obvious?

 

Our refrigerator is bone. dry. bare. & has been for about a month. But not a soul knows it, except my brother, & he only because he spent the night last weekend, & we had to tell him we had no toothpaste or breakfast (except oatmeal w/out butter or other flavoring).

 

He bought stuff for the weekend, sweet guy, but he's a bachelor: he bought cinnamon rolls, pizza, ice cream, & pepsi. So now, if you came over, you'd see the extra pizza, ice cream, pepsi, & extra roll of cinnamon rolls & think we were slobs who spent our little bit of $ on junk. :lol:

 

Dh & I have struggled for the last 3 years, & from that I have learned this: never. tell. anyone. Never. ask. for. help.

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Dh & I have struggled for the last 3 years, & from that I have learned this: never. tell. anyone. Never. ask. for. help.

 

:iagree:

 

 

I agree. Actually, it was this forum that taught me how you have to be very careful with what you say or do or look like if you are poor. How dare you be on food stamps and own a cell phone or a wii or decent clothing!

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Guest Dulcimeramy

We've decided to live another way. We tell everyone, but never ask for help. Well, we have a tiny circle of family friends that we share help with. I think the same $1000 has been held by each family at one time, LOL.

 

We don't go around volunteering info about our bank account, but on the other hand we never hesitate to say, "That's not in the budget." We dress neatly but plainly for church. Olivia Walton is my hero. No shame, no apologies, but always share and always work hard.

 

I am personally on a mission to be real about money, thereby giving my friends and acquaintances 'permission' to be real, too.

 

You would not believe how my friends list has grown since I took this stance! Especially elderly people and young families. These people want acknowledgment that life is tough, and they need social outlets with no financial obligations. That's why I'm here. No one should be required to afford restaurant meals, movies and trips to have friends. I'll be your poor friend.

 

You would believe the friends I've lost, though. Anyone who is shamming (living on credit and denying belief in the inevitable) is not comfy around me. I don't help to keep up appearances.

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:iagree:

 

 

I agree. Actually, it was this forum that taught me how you have to be very careful with what you say or do or look like if you are poor. How dare you be on food stamps and own a cell phone or a wii or decent clothing!

Yep. Dh got me a Kindle. :D I love it. His thought was... you can sell most of your books, because you can get free copies for your Kindle. We won't have to pay as much for new books, because they're cheaper for the Kindle. Oh, and it cost as much as two and a half tanks of gas.

 

It may seem like some gadgets are expensive, but when you compare them to things that (before the recent up in prices, anyway) you pay for without thinking about it, they don't seem so expensive.

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I think this is exactly right.

 

As for people buying "stuff", it is tax return time and our under-the-poverty-level family was able to get dh a new computer (his died), a new treadmill and a few other things that we can NEVER get during the rest of the year, as well as paying bills. We *HAVE* to get gas and groceries so we continue to buy those and the prices are hurting us. We take a cheapo vacation every year if we can.

 

So, to others, they may not "see" our poverty because we're still out spending--but we're spending every last dime of every single paycheck. There are many people who have *become* poor, and they still have the decent clothes and things that they had before the economic downturn. But I'll bet they aren't still going out and buying clothes and toys the way they were before. ;)

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We've decided to live another way. We tell everyone, but never ask for help. Well, we have a tiny circle of family friends that we share help with. I think the same $1000 has been held by each family at one time, LOL.

 

We don't go around volunteering info about our bank account, but on the other hand we never hesitate to say, "That's not in the budget." We dress neatly but plainly for church. Olivia Walton is my hero. No shame, no apologies, but always share and always work hard.

 

I am personally on a mission to be real about money, thereby giving my friends and acquaintances 'permission' to be real, too.

 

You would not believe how my friends list has grown since I took this stance! Especially elderly people and young families. These people want acknowledgment that life is tough, and they need social outlets with no financial obligations. That's why I'm here. No one should be required to afford restaurant meals, movies and trips to have friends. I'll be your poor friend.

 

You would believe the friends I've lost, though. Anyone who is shamming (living on credit and denying belief in the inevitable) is not comfy around me. I don't help to keep up appearances.

 

I think this could be a good approach in some circles. In others, "That's not in the budget" is heard as "Will you pay for me to do this?" You can turn down the offer, but that's pride. You can accept the offer, but then you're *expected* to be able to afford something similar later.

 

Eventually, you're just a depressing person to be around. I remember when we were renovating our house a few years ago. Mil would come over & wrinkle her nose because we hadn't accomplished enough & it looked awful. It did. It was an old, broken house, & we were so poor, it was all we could afford. We worked on it together every night after the kids were in bed & every weekend. It was slow, exhausting work, but we got it done.

 

Poverty is the same way. It doesn't get fixed overnight, & there are usually setbacks along the way: illness w/out ins, broken down cars, etc. Many of these setbacks are the direct result of having no money, so they come across as one more symptom of the character flaw.

 

People are happy to help short-term, even if you don't ask for help. You can be someone's pet project. And if you don't mind swallowing your dignity, you could go from group to group getting help until they give up on you. If you're honest about stuff, though, even unsought help eventually turns on you & people want to know why you're STILL poor. Aren't you doing ANYTHING about it?

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There are a tremendous number of wealthy families in my area- it's something like 10% of Bay Area households still have a liquid net worth excluding retirement accounts and primary residence exceeding $1 Million. They may be cutting back some, but it's not necessarily obvious (i.e. they are vacationing in San Diego rather than Hawaii, keeping their car 5 years instead of 3, canceling their landline but keeping the iPhone, etc.)

 

Then there are families who are all about appearances but actually are struggling. Our neighbors who are losing their home to a short sale drive two fairly recent model Mercedes.

 

Then there are all the folks who have simply left the area to seek better employment options and a cheaper cost of living elsewhere. The population of our county is down by several thousand just since 2009.

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The replies on this thread have made me feel so much better about our situation. We live in a home owned by my family, just manage to pay our bills, and that's it. I would like to claim that we're making it, but if we had to pay rent or a mortgage right now, we would be SUNK. Without a question.

 

It does feel a lot like we're the only people feeling it, depending on who you talk to... DH's parents are facing their "economic crisis" by eating out only 3 times a week, instead of every night. (I wish I were joking.) My mom is probably going to be moving in with us when her lease is up in June, and she just took out a payday loan to make her rent this month. My dad & stepmom handled it by pulling the plug on my brother's college tuition checks. Now he is fully responsible for his education at 18, and you can't tell that the parents are facing recession at all. The rest of our family & friends seem to have been absolutely unaffected.... but that may be because, like Audrey, we just don't talk about it. Sssh!

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I think it's improving but that may be short lived with the fuel increases which will drive up the cost of goods.

 

On a personal level - DH was unemployed 1.5 years. During that same time, I received no bonus, no raise from my employer. DH has been employed for 5+ months now and for the first time in 3 years I received both a raise (small) and a bonus. When I looked at W2s for the past five years, my total income declined year over year. Next year's W2 will finally show an uptick. But then again, our grocery and fuel bills will as well and not because our habits changed but because things simply cost more.

 

Margaret

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I feel a twinge of an upswing here in one the hardest-hit areas in Florida. By twinge I mean that our neighbors sold their house for their asking price within a week.

The housing market tanking in this area was hard.. So many people refinanced or bought during the height of the RE boom and have seen their home loans become double the current market value of their home (we were one of those people). When the RE market tanked building stopped and the construction business just dried up. The man who installed our new internet gave me his biz card as he left - he was a former construction company owner put out of business by the lack of work. Even our major employer (NASCAR/ISC) cut jobs,spending,etc...

Oddly enough the vacation business is doing well. Disney's Q1 earnings were up.

Here I can see grandparents doing well (the ones living off of pensions, SS, savings, paid off homes, and benefits). I look at them and think "... do you KNOW how lucky YOU are!"

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Leaving the government spending/deficit out of the discussion.....

 

People talk about the bad economy and hard times. In my day to day life I am not seeing it.

 

I see people taking vacation. I see people with the latest technology like fancy phones, netbooks, and ipads. I see people with newer cars. I see the Kindle or Nook everywhere. I see kids with Nintendo DSi and ipods. I see people with their kids in many different activities many of which cost a chunk of change.

 

Around here the stores are always busy. The malls are packed. Restaurants are packed and have wait lists.

 

Most people I know have pay for lawn service. I hear people telling me about their home renovations such as new house color because they don't like the shade of gray their house is.

 

Dh and I just scratch our heads. Where is the bad economy?

 

How funny that you post this question, because dh and I were just having this discussion this morning!!! He listens to talk radio in his car and the picture he gets of the economy and the world is GRIM, to say the least. I look at my FB, and like you say I see people taking many vacations, working, eating out etc etc. WHERE is this bad economy?? My town for one! This is the most depressing, poor place to live.........ever in my life. We can't wait to get away and get to these places where the economy is apparently so good. Our business has lost about 45-50% since 2009 :glare: Our house is for sale and we are just sitting here, twiddling our thumbs and hoping and praying it sells very soon so we can catch up. Our standard of living is close to what it was when we first got married----19 years ago!!! I think this 'Bad' economy is definitely regional-----and according to what line of work you are in. My husband is a Real Estate Appraiser-----our line of business has been hit and regulated to death since 2009.

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It can be very different in various regions of the US. One huge factor is the unemployment rate in your area. We live on the border of Oregon and Washington and unemployment rates are between 9-10%. That is ONE IN TEN are out of work!! My husband is in sales and these numbers greatly affect his income level, in fact he may be loosing his job in 30 days due to it.

 

It also depends on education. The unemployment rate for college graduates is about a third or less of what it is for other educational levels. So if you run in professional circles, you won't see many hit by it.

 

The state numbers also don't always reflect just the recession, either. MI and OH already had high unemployment rates from years of mismanagement by the state and local governments. The recession was just icing on the cake. The few people we know who are un(der)employed have been for years. Our little area is doing pretty well, but other areas of this state (Detroit, etc.) are devestated. They weren't sound to begin with, though.

 

But honestly, many of the people we know who are takign vacations and buying a lot don't actually have the money. The recession hasn't changed the way they live, they're just going backwards at a faster rate. I think the results are still a bit down the road.

Edited by angela in ohio
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People are happy to help short-term, even if you don't ask for help. You can be someone's pet project. And if you don't mind swallowing your dignity, you could go from group to group getting help until they give up on you. If you're honest about stuff, though, even unsought help eventually turns on you & people want to know why you're STILL poor. Aren't you doing ANYTHING about it?

 

This. Exactly. I get this feeling like we should have gotten somewhere by now. We've been poor since just before DS' first birthday. Three and a half years ago. Shouldn't this be better yet?

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Guest Dulcimeramy
I think this could be a good approach in some circles. In others, "That's not in the budget" is heard as "Will you pay for me to do this?" You can turn down the offer, but that's pride. You can accept the offer, but then you're *expected* to be able to afford something similar later.

 

Eventually, you're just a depressing person to be around. I remember when we were renovating our house a few years ago. Mil would come over & wrinkle her nose because we hadn't accomplished enough & it looked awful. It did. It was an old, broken house, & we were so poor, it was all we could afford. We worked on it together every night after the kids were in bed & every weekend. It was slow, exhausting work, but we got it done.

 

Poverty is the same way. It doesn't get fixed overnight, & there are usually setbacks along the way: illness w/out ins, broken down cars, etc. Many of these setbacks are the direct result of having no money, so they come across as one more symptom of the character flaw.

 

People are happy to help short-term, even if you don't ask for help. You can be someone's pet project. And if you don't mind swallowing your dignity, you could go from group to group getting help until they give up on you. If you're honest about stuff, though, even unsought help eventually turns on you & people want to know why you're STILL poor. Aren't you doing ANYTHING about it?

 

I totally understand. That's why we moved from the town where I grew up to the city where it isn't so terribly strange to be low-income. I'd forgotten (stuffed?) those memories until you spelled them out. Yup. BTDT.

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The replies on this thread have made me feel so much better about our situation. We live in a home owned by my family, just manage to pay our bills, and that's it. I would like to claim that we're making it, but if we had to pay rent or a mortgage right now, we would be SUNK. Without a question.

 

It does feel a lot like we're the only people feeling it, depending on who you talk to... DH's parents are facing their "economic crisis" by eating out only 3 times a week, instead of every night. (I wish I were joking.) My mom is probably going to be moving in with us when her lease is up in June, and she just took out a payday loan to make her rent this month. My dad & stepmom handled it by pulling the plug on my brother's college tuition checks. Now he is fully responsible for his education at 18, and you can't tell that the parents are facing recession at all. The rest of our family & friends seem to have been absolutely unaffected.... but that may be because, like Audrey, we just don't talk about it. Sssh!

 

I hear you!! SIL and husband just got back from a month in CA during the coldest part of winter. They dropped about a grand on their 10 year olds at Christmas, MIL and BIL are always telling us we spend too much time at home and need to get out more. Really? Our existence right now is work+paybills (and barely at that)+buy food. Thats.....IT! No skiing for the kids (it's cheap and an hour away), no eating out, no day drips, overnight trips...no extracurriculars. Nothing. Our house has literally become our prison this year :glare: Okay---maybe a BIT of an exaggeration because we do take a lot of walks together.

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I totally understand. That's why we moved from the town where I grew up to the city where it isn't so terribly strange to be low-income. I'd forgotten (stuffed?) those memories until you spelled them out. Yup. BTDT.

 

Yup. If the nice people at church had any idea the heartache they cause in this house w/ all their stupid activities that are so hyped up, maybe they'd quit. :glare:

 

As far as the statistics:

 

We live in an area that hasn't been as hard hit--people are moving here because it's so great. So why don't WE have jobs??

 

We've got 3 college degrees between us; statistically we should be better off: why AREN'T we???

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We have fancy iPhones that were purchased two years ago with a tax refund and are already outdated, LOL. We don't have a landline and the monthly service is discounted through my employer making it surprisingly affordable.

 

We take several vacations each year: camping in the most affordable campgrounds we can find or driving across country to where a friend or relative has invited us to visit and stay in their home.

 

My kid has a Nintendo DS- it's a hand-me-down and is at least 5-6 years old now. Both of my kids have iPods: they were purchased used on Craigslist and were their main Christmas gifts this last year. We enrolled the kids in Little League ($65 for the entire season) using their birthday money instead of karate ($90/month.)

 

My car looks nice and newish, but in reality it's 10 years old and needs a $4k repair that we can't afford (transmission went out, beware if you buy a used Honda Odyssey!)

 

Malls are packed but how many of them are buying versus just window shopping? My father has done lawn-care for a living for the last 20 years and he's losing customers faster than you can blink an eye. The remaining customers are cutting back on their service: just wanting it mowed once every 2 weeks instead of weekly, etc. Last year he only made 1/2 of what he had been earning a few years prior.

 

My kids currently don't have health insurance: we make too much to get state aid but can't afford it from my employer. My husband has been trying to start his own business without much luck. He recently picked up a part-time job and we're hopeful he'll be able to go full-time within the next month or two. In the meantime I'm working full-time to help out but my hourly wage is less than what I made when I was in college!

 

So yeah, it's out there. The economy isn't great and everything isn't always what it appears. You really have to scratch the surface a little bit before realizing what is really going on in many people's financial lives.

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Eventually, you're just a depressing person to be around. I remember when we were renovating our house a few years ago. Mil would come over & wrinkle her nose because we hadn't accomplished enough & it looked awful. It did. It was an old, broken house, & we were so poor, it was all we could afford. We worked on it together every night after the kids were in bed & every weekend. It was slow, exhausting work, but we got it done.

 

Poverty is the same way. It doesn't get fixed overnight, & there are usually setbacks along the way: illness w/out ins, broken down cars, etc. Many of these setbacks are the direct result of having no money, so they come across as one more symptom of the character flaw.

 

People are happy to help short-term, even if you don't ask for help. You can be someone's pet project. And if you don't mind swallowing your dignity, you could go from group to group getting help until they give up on you. If you're honest about stuff, though, even unsought help eventually turns on you & people want to know why you're STILL poor. Aren't you doing ANYTHING about it?

:iagree:

 

Where we used to live I ripped up the carpets. They were 30 years old and nasty. We lived with concrete floors for 3 years. They were still concrete when we moved. :lol: I didn't care, we didn't have the money and bare concrete is much nicer than allergen laden carpet.

 

My aunt came to visit as they were passing through town. She stayed a short time and then shortly afterward called my mother to proclaim how sad it was that we were too poor to afford floors. :glare: I was steamed to say the least.

 

We just found out this week that our current home used to be a drug house and everyone was hauled out by the police. So at least we don't need money, we're already improving the neighborhood. :lol:

 

Some days the only thing you have left is your sense of humor.

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My aunt came to visit as they were passing through town. She stayed a short time and then shortly afterward called my mother to proclaim how sad it was that we were too poor to afford floors. :glare: I was steamed to say the least.

 

I don't know; I almost think it's worse when people see where you're living & try to pretend that you've got it good & live in a "cute" little place. :001_huh:

 

"Worrying" about you is also nicer than the girl who complained at church about how poor she was, didn't have a job, was so depressed to be home during the day when her friends were working, only to come to my house, take one look around, & leave. :lol: I guess she didn't need friends as badly as she thought she did!

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My husband was unemployed last year for two months. At the time jobs weren't there. He took the first one and pays less than what he made in 1987 when he graduated.

 

So supporting five on this salary is poverty level for sure. What are you going to do. We made major changes and just trying to plow our way threw. Thankfully we know how to be frugal, but I see some of the vacations not going to happen. I see a new way of enjoying staying home and making the best of it.

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(((AUBREY))), I wish you lived near us. Our church has been scaling back it's activities and making sure that anything it offers is free. No one is looked down upon for struggling financially. But, this has never been a "ritzy" church. They've pretty much always been a fairly laid back, no frills, kind of church family. They also do a lot to help both those who attend and those who don't. It's kept private. When I've delivered groceries to families in the church, it's been mum. The pastor and deacons emphasize this.

 

I am just truly sorry you've been hurt by others.

 

Faith

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We've been very lucky, but most of my friends in the workforce have either been laid off, are working reduced hours or for reduced pay. For the most part they are getting buy. However, I have friends, a couple, who have depleted their entire life's savings (due to unemployment) waiting for things to turn around. It's one thing starting over when you're 35, but entirely something different when you are 55, especially with a child. And FTR, this is a very frugal couple: no car, no TV, no fancy vacations, didn't overbuy when purchasing a house, etc.

 

DH's employer laid off 10% across the board about a year-and-a-half ago, and some of these people have not yet found comparable work. At that time, 401(k) matching was temporarily eliminated (it has since been restored).

 

And this is only stuff on a personal level... don't get me going about the city and the state.

Edited by nmoira
clarity
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I did hear recently that the economy was recovering. I have to admit, I was curious where exactly things were getting better. It seems so depressed here that it's hard to believe it's not depressed everything :p

 

My folks claim that New England is doing fairly well. My dad was saying that New Hampshire has an unemployment rate that's ~5%. Even though I know he's lobbying to get us to move back (can't unless we want to lose the entire amount we put down on this house a year ago), I don't think he'd make up a number that is easily verifiable.

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My folks claim that New England is doing fairly well. My dad was saying that New Hampshire has an unemployment rate that's ~5%. Even though I know he's lobbying to get us to move back (can't unless we want to lose the entire amount we put down on this house a year ago), I don't think he'd make up a number that is easily verifiable.

I think it's 6 in VA. Of course, I'm pretty sure anywhere dh and I could afford to live would be in the middle of those making up the five percent...

 

I think that's our problem. We can't see the recovery, because we can't afford to be among the recovered, iykwIm. I've always wanted to live in NH though. If only it were warmer :lol:

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I agree that when I look around I don't see people struggling, but I guess when it comes down to it they haven't figured out how to do without dinners out and new clothes and are instead doing without saving for retirement, paying off their credit cards monthly and making charitable contributions. We have cut way back as I've gone from full time work, to part-time, to teaching preschool and now at home with only income from running my small scrapbook business. My DH did also take a 12% paycut at one point that really hurt. We are still giving to the charities we support and saving for our retirement, but eating out is a luxury for us, that we enjoy only about once per month, with coupons at the local Chick-fil-a. We don't carry credit card balances and after we finish paying off DH student loan this year will only owe on our home. With gas prices going up more and more people are going to be struggling, but unfortunately I don't think this is temporary. I think we, as Americans, have built up an unsustainable lifestyle and unfortunately for many, the party is just about over.

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