July 30, 2010

Regular Paychecks vs. Resourcefulness

Did you ever stop to think how spoiled our society is compared to those of the past? We’re used to trading our time for jobs with weekly paychecks. So there’s always some money coming in, even if the job doesn’t pay all that much.

That was not the experience of our forefathers. They couldn’t rely on regular paychecks so they had to be resourceful. I think our children will end up being more like our forefathers than we are. They’ll have to be.

July 29, 2010

Declining House Prices are Good!

Houses are plummeting in price in many areas of our country. This is a good thing for our kids. Prices haven’t been in line with incomes in years, and now incomes are dropping. So it makes sense that house prices should drop, too. It’s the only way our kids will ever become homeowners.

July 28, 2010

Gotta Have a Nest Egg in This Economy

A new study reports that nearly half of all Americans have less than one month’s worth of expenses socked away for a rainy day, or a job loss. The good news? That figure was fully 50% when they did the survey last year, so a few people are getting a clue and saving some of their pay in case they lose their jobs.

Are you raising your child to save for a rainy day? Sure hope so, because periods of unemployment will be common over their lifetimes.

July 27, 2010

Where Will Our Children Work?

So many jobs have been off-shored or automated that our unemployment rate just can’t seem to return to a reasonable level. People are having a hard time finding even basic jobs like working behind fast food counters. While congressional members fight over extending unemployment, more and more people find themselves applying for it for the first time in their lives.

It would be nice to think that all these problems will be solved by the time our children are old enough to work. But our current economic woes are caused by problems that are not quickly resolvable.

For example, our economy has always been based on labor intensive industries. For many years it was agriculturally based, but advances in farming have made it easy for one person to grow enough food for many people. So a country that once saw the majority of its citizens at work on farms now sees only 2% employed on farms.

Then the industrial revolution helped manufacturing take over as the economic engine of our country. For many years it was the basis of our booming economy. But now we’ve off-shored so many jobs that entire manufacturing industries have shrunk.

We’ve been told that we now have a service economy. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Great, but one of us better have something both of us can eat, because service jobs don’t pay very much.

Some believe that technology will be the next driver or our economy. That’s a nice thought, but one of the hallmarks of the tech age is that fewer people are needed to do the work involved because computers now do what people used to do. Charles Hugh Smith points out that Facebook only employs 1200 people, while Twitter needs a mere 150 to run its operations. Not too promising in terms of job growth, is it?

With any luck at all, some new industry will arise that will provide job opportunities for our children. Until then, how do we prepare our children for the future? Stay tuned.

July 26, 2010

The Housing Tailspin

We bought our first house when we were 22. But I'm not recommending that my kids buy houses anytime soon, because the housing market continues to plummet.

July 21, 2010

Where Did Our Jobs Go?

This NYT article is not the best I've ever read, but the comments that follow are thought-provoking and will get you thinking about what kind of future our children face and how we should prepare them. There are no easy answers, that's for sure.

July 20, 2010

The Price of Financial Ignorance

Amazingly, some of the people who are losing everything in this economic downturn still don't understand that living beyond their means is what did them in. This woman's sad story reveals no remorse on her part; if she ever earns a decent living again, she'll probably blow it again.

July 19, 2010

When Less is More

The author of this article believes that people need to downsize, that the average American home got too big. The town she she cites in the article, with its tiny houses, was actually a move up for the young WWII vets who moved from city apartments to these homes after the war.

Will our children have to downsize because of the economic changes of the 21st century? If so, is that a bad thing or a good thing? Whatever your perpective, consider that it's a distinct possibility.

July 16, 2010

The Skill Most Needed

It's a skill that's rarely, if ever, taught in college, but it's one of the most valuable skills our children can have. What is it? Find out here.

July 14, 2010

8 Million Jobs Evaporate

What does it mean when they say 8 million jobs are gone forever? It means that we're in a time of rapid change, and young people need to be ready to change careers whenever necessary. The days of 40 years at one company are over.

July 13, 2010

Not Enough Pay and Prestige?

Still out of work two years after college graduation yet this young man turned down a $40k/year job because he didn't think it good enough for him. Wages are stagnating in most industries. Someday he's going to kick himself for that decision.

July 12, 2010

Defunding Public Education

Could cutting funds for public schools become the catalyst for better preparing our children for the 21st century? This writer thinks so. He does make some interesting points.

July 8, 2010

Suing Dad for College Costs

A young woman got her dad to sign a contract promising he'd pay for her college education. But he hasn't paid all of it, so she's suing him for breach of contract.

The family situation is sad, for sure. But college costs are so high these days that suing for damages in this case means suing for big money. Considering she majored in art, one has to wonder whether it was worth spending the money in the first place.

July 7, 2010

Staving Off Deflationary Quicksand

They're saying another stimulus is needed, never mind that the last few haven't worked. We're saddling our children with more debt. How will we explain this to them someday?

July 6, 2010

Savings are Essential

Here in the U.S., our personal savings rate continues to decline after a brief rally last year. What a shame. It's so important to know how to save a good portion of your earnings; if you lose your job, it can be essential to your survival.

Are you teaching your children to save? In the rapidly changing economy of the 21st century, it's a survival skill!

July 5, 2010

Read Those Labels for Country of Origin

If this doesn't convince you that we and our children need to learn to be more self-sufficient instead of relying on imported food, I don't know what will.

July 2, 2010

Creativity vs. CCC

Is making things with your own two hands coming back in style? This article makes it sound that way. The appeal of creating something sturdy and handmade is understandable now that we're used to finding only CCC* wherever we shop.

*Cheap Chinese Crap

July 1, 2010

The Most Important Element is Missing

"No job = No house."

This writer gets it. The housing market and indeed our entire economy cannot thrive if people don't have jobs. So where are the jobs?