>Depression Lessons


I read an interesting article today about how our current economic situation is similar to that of the era of the Great Depression. It made me think about a couple of things, mostly how things now are so different than during that era. Obviously, I wasn’t around during those days. However, all of my grandparents were around and the three that were around during my lifetime shared about their experiences both through stories and through their general philosphies toward finance and spending. A couple of differences that jump out at me immediately:

None of them ever owned or used a credit card. Ever. If they needed something, they saved their money until they could pay cash for the item or simply did without. The only exceptions to this were their homes (of which they only bought one. ever.) and in the case of one set of grandparents a car (one of my grandma’s never had a drivers license).

On the same vein, they lived their lives simply. They wore their clothes and used their household items until they were thoroughly worn out, or until they were unrepariable. Above and beyond this, they cared for the belongings and clothing that they had very carefully. If grandpa wore a hole in his work pants, they were carefully mended and worn some more. He had one suit that he wore for church, weddings, funerals and all “special occasions”. He took specific care of it and it never looked worn or rumpled. My grandma used the same iced tea pitcher for I think the entire 29 years that we shared on this earth (it was from tupperware).

They all worked hard through their lives, lived simply and retired comfortably. There were no jobs that were “beneath” any of them. My grandma cleaned others’ homes until she was no longer physically able to; and she walked from her home to anywhere she needed to go, whether that was to work, the doctor, the post office or anywhere else. My other grandma worked in a stave factory (Google that if you don’t know what a stave is) among other jobs. My grandpa farmed, helped build a bridge, worked in a factory, sold shoes and sold insurance (among other things). How many people in this day and age refuse to even apply for a job because it doesn’t offer the status or pay that they believe that they deserve.

In the article that I read, “Rosenberg advises investors to stay liquid, keep debts low, save more and invest less in risky assets like stocks”. It pretty much parallels the life lessons that I’ve learned from my grandparents and parents throughout my life, “Work hard, take care of your *ahem* stuff, save what you can and remember that money isn’t made of plastic.”


~ by pe2nia1 on July 19, 2010.

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