I know it’s not going to be a popular opinion, but I kind of think this recession needs to go on for a little bit longer. The job losses suck, I get that – I hate that part of this whole thing. BUT, I am hopeful that the recession will bring back some sense of normalcy and common sense to personal finance. For too long, people spent and spent on anything they wanted, not paying any attention to long term saving and/or the debt load they were carrying. Many families were given loans for houses that they couldn’t afford, were driving cars that were way above their income level, and were basically living on credit instead of within their means. The recession, along with job losses, changes in the credit industry, and the massive amounts of foreclosures, have really forced people to think differently about their finances. Frugality has come back into fashion, “Check on Freecycle” has become a household term, and some stores are even going back in time to offer layaway programs. The idea of Keeping Up With The Joneses has lost some of its appeal, now that people are having trouble just making ends meet – never mind paying off those newer high interest credit cards that they thought they could manage. This recession has definitely hurt many, many people (my brother included, who lost 2 jobs in the last 2 years), but I think it is a necessary event to bring back some sort of “normal-ness” to our lives.
Carrying debt had become the American way – we thought we were entitled to buy more than we could afford, and because of that greed, we all have suffered. People who could afford their houses have seen their value plummet, and those who have worked hard to protect their credit have seen their credit lines slashed. Everyone suffers from a recession, and all we can hope for is that everyone also learns something about their money habits and makes the changes necessary so they don’t suffer so bad the next time we have one. I am hopeful that the era of “get mine, at all costs” has been put to bed by many who were living that kind of life during the economic boom.
There is a very valuable lesson to be learned from the recession, but I am not 100% sure we have fully realized it yet. Are we recovering too soon for anyone to really change their habits? Is the recession not deep enough to really impact the majority of the population? As much as it pains me to say it, and I am sure many will disagree with me, but I think the recession needs to continue for just a little bit longer. What do you think?