This afternoon I had lunch with a client from Canada who purchased their home here a couple of years back. After we dispensed with the hockey talk (outside of the presence of a soon-to-be-new owner there’s little to talk about from the Phoenix Coyotes’ perspective), we moved on to politics Canadian and American and the economy. Our consensus? No one seems to know what the answer is to solve the United States’ economic woes, not the folks we elected to fix this miss or the rest of us who are living it on a daily basis.
So much seems to be tied to confidence or the lack thereof. The good news, as he mentioned, is that Americans appear to be saving more money. All in all that’s a good thing … unless you look at the flip side, which means we’re spending less. And without spending, what is going to drive the economy?
Companies are learning to do as much or more with less which is great for shareholders and terrible for current or would-be employees. Mixes messages abound – one prominent employer in Phoenix has hinted at shrinking headcount in one division, preferably by transfer, yet each Monday for the last several weeks has had parking spaces reserved for new hires in other areas.
More and more, the news provides conflicting information. Even the basics as we understand them are under assault – an American dollar valued higher than the Canadian, a Canadian economy dependent on exports surviving if not thriving despite the near-par exchange rate of the past year, an American dollar that is an afterthought rather than the world’s standard …
There’s one possible solution, at least on an individual basis … turn off Fox News, tune out the local newspapers. Not that I’m advocating becoming thoroughly uneducated – there are enough villages that are missing their idiots as it is. But so much of the news means next to nothing compared to what’s happening in our own backyard.
Let’s try a metaphor. Two weeks ago, hail storms ripped across sections of the Valley. This client I met with today lives about two miles from me and received exactly zero hail damage. I’m still two days away from seeing the Good Hands people’s adjuster make an appearance at my own home, where jagged golf-ball sized hail shattered three windows and left my air conditioner looking like the washing machine in the basement of Sydney Crosby’s parents’ house.
Sure, they saw on the news that there was hail all around them but the storm completely missed them. It didn’t apply to them. It didn’t apply to the REO listing behind me, either (which kinda annoyed me, as I wanted to see the bank on the hook for windows there.)
There’s economic hail around all of us. Some of us are being hit by it. Some of us aren’t.
Our compass, like Jack Sparrow’s is broken – broken to the point that it doesn’t even point in the direction of what we desire most.
It’s time to chart your own course.
Photo credit: Tomas Jorquera Sepulveda via Flickr Creative Commons