Sunday, May 3, 2009

How's Your World?

Today's topic is somewhat self serving. Mrs. T and I are trying to come to an investment decision and fundamentaly disagree on our world view.

Lest I cloud your opinion, I'll wait until tomorrow to describe my view of the world.

So how are things in your part of the world? Any signs of housing improving? Is anything being built? If you had a truly great idea, could you get a loan to implement it? How are things at work? Company growing? Do you fear for your job? Are your kids working, plan to this summer? Is your local newspaper full of doom and gloom, or is everything coming up roses? Are you shopping? Malls full? Rents holding up? Farmers happy? Restaurants occupied?

You get the point. I seek your biased view, of life in your town, wherever that may be.

Feel free to respond anon, but give a general idea of where you live.

I appreciate your responses.



Martha said...

In our little town we never had a big bubble to burst . . . however, there are 3 new restaurants coming to town (and one that is about 4 months old) . . . we're seeing some retailers expand and our housing costs have been pretty stable (but they were never inflated anyway) so life is good on the prairie.

David said...

My company (a commercial insurance brokerage) is far busier than we were at the end of last year, which may be a good sign, or may just be our brokers out shaking the trees.

Brett's firm is busy enough that they're considering hiring an associate. That said, the candidate is graduating law school now and less than 20 percent of his class has work lined up. They rent the extra office space in their building, and they're full.

I got a loan for a car without any problem.

A bartender friend has been making crazy money over the last two weeks. The month before that was pretty paltry.

We ate out last night, and while we got right in without a reservation the restaurant did seem full.

My 72 year old mother complains constantly about how much she's lost and "the way the world is going." What she isn't doing is giving up her country club membership or not buying whatever she wants, or curbing herself in any visible way.

Nobody has made an offer on our condo, which is a drag. Nobody has made an offer on the house we want either, thank goodness.

Mixed signals, but to me things seem to be picking up.

Gail, northern California said...

I live in a heavily-forested subdivision in the hills above a very small town in northern California. We have been under a building moratorium for the last 6 years, at least, so the pressure on the existing residences is tremendous as prices continue to escalate. Before I even turn on the tap or use a toilet, my water/sewer bill is approaching $100/mo.

Both my husband and I are retired and live on social security and small pensions from former employers. Half of his pension pays for health insurance coverage for me $753/mo). We manage, seldom splurge anymore on "stuff", but we do worry about our adult children -- our son especially who has been out of work before, for months at a time. Production manager at a software development firm (owned by East Indians).

I was talking with a grammar school teacher yesterday and she mentioned school attendance is way down. Does that mean young families are leaving our town due to unemployment? Many shops stand vacant and those still in existence struggle. We make every effort to buy from them, even though it may cost more. They are the heart and soul of our community (not corporate WalMart)and we feel it's important to "keep our tax dollars at home."

Oddly enough my greatest fear isn't the economy, it's the pressures that are being brought to bear because of it. We have a grow house next door (marijuana) with an occasional caretaker with pit bulls. Are they lazy and/or stupid or desperate to make a living?

I don't know that any of this will help you with the discussion with your wife. I'm just throwing it out there. Make of it what you will, we are just one family -- two retired folks.

Summer is a Verb said...

Fashoinably late getting around to acknowledging your award but please swing by to take a gander. G'town not showing many outward signs of the economic downturn unless if you count the house across the street lowering it's asking price from 6.5 mill to 5.5
And, blessdly our families are fairly unscathed.

preppyplayer said...

Can of worms you're opening... :)

We are a family of seven in a suburb outside NYC. My husband does well. I have my own small business. On one hand, My husband is making great money and my business has never done better, on the other... our 41K has tanked and we have had two kids in private college for five years. We make too much $$ to qualify for college assistance, but struggle to pay the 85,000. a year in college fees. Boo Hoo.

There are people far worse off. We have put the kitchen I have been planning with designer, architect, and contractor for over a year, on hold until January. I could spit, it makes me so mad.
But, there are other people worse off. They must be the ones at the mall and the restaurants...

So, I guess I'm trying to say: We are lucky that we can afford a family of seven, send them to good schools, and we aren't hurting.
But, we are scaling back and waiting before we go into more debt.
I want my kitchen though.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the late response, didn't get a chance to meander onto the blogs yesterday. Similar to preppyplayer, we too live outside NYC and personally haven't suffered economically (thank heavens) - and since we're both CPA's, the professional independence rules 'saved' us. We started 2 weeks ago our rear addition project - which was delayed by 9 months by our town - (as an aside, we're going green and it's very new - recycling water, solar panels & prodex insulation (made for NASA).). Never the less, my electrician filed for unemployment, the landscaper had an IRS levy placed against him for $100K (hasn't paid his employee taxes), hired our sitter's father for snow removal & other misc. work since he didn't have any work, and several boutique stores in town are boarded up. Our cleaning lady had said she's lost several jobs since since some of the ladies were laid off and they're now cleaning their own houses. My brother indicated that his daughter's school district has to layoff 55 employees and they're only 5 schools in it and they're all 'up in arms' since they were 'short handed' already. His summer home on Cape Cod isn't fully rented and oddly enough July 4th week is still open eventhough he's dropped the price. My other brother's company (which has a few hundred employees) just voted that everyone take a 40% pay cut instead of laying people off. As such we feel fortunate to be able to do what we are doing and hopefully are keeping some people employed. Yes, the restaurants are full and so is the very upscale mall. However, look around, few people are carrying bags. Spring time is generally a time for an uptick financially, so I think it's difficult to gage whether there's a foundation being built or just some temporary stimulus.

Giuseppe said...

Haven't worked in nearly a year...unemployment about to run out...nothing on the horizon...

I think I'll leave it at that for now.