What’s the silver lining in this recession?

Skyscape with Seagull by John Edwards
Photo: John Edwards

Wise Bread is holding a $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway for a random answer to the above question and I thought it would be a good exercise for me.

Frankly my first reaction to this question was “There is no silver lining.” Our business sales are lower than ever so income is down while food, utility and gas prices keep rising. We have several things around the house that need repair but are holding off on them because keeping money in the bank seems more important at this time.

One of the things that need repairing is our central air conditioning, which is somewhat important as we live in the desert and are expecting temperatures as high as 110° Fahrenheit starting today, but we have decided to try to make do without for now, which is highly unpleasant.

So where’s the silver lining in all this?

It took a little thinking, but I’ve come up with one. The silver lining for me is that this is happening while I’m still young.

I feel guilty and selfish for saying this because not everyone is able to, but I am young enough that this recession won’t destroy my entire future and I can learn from it. For those at or near retirement age, this recession could permanently impact the rest of their lives by wiping out or taking a large chunk out of their retirement savings and investments. I am at an age where, once the recession is over, I still have a chance to build up investments and savings.

Throughout my life, I’ve read stories, watched movies or learned in school about the Great Depression, but because it was all so long ago and our society seemed so far advanced that the possibility of our falling into another depression never occurred to me. I’ve always been careful with my money, but took for granted that our society and economy are well enough advanced that we need not worry about the not having enough money for basic necessities.

While we are not at the point of destitution, things are worrisome enough now that this is something I will never forget. I have learned that merely being careful with money is not enough. I have now learned to be vigilant with my money, and that is something I won’t cease to do even when this recession is over.

That’s not to say I will be living in a state of pecuniary paranoia for the rest of my life, but you can be sure that I will never take economic and financial stability for granted again. So the silver lining in this recession for me is a lesson well learned and remembered.

While my silver lining is only a silver lining for me and those of my age group, I hope that those further on in years have found silver linings in other forms.

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4 thoughts on “What’s the silver lining in this recession?”

  1. I guess for me the silver lining is that Americans got snapped out of their ridiculous, debt-ridden reverie. I don’t know that it will last. I’m actually pretty sure it won’t. But if even a small percent of Americans learn something about frugality/living within their means, that’s something.

    I know it’s awful to be suffering when you’ve been responsible. But I do think America had an Icarus complex. We flew too close to the sun, despite the obvious perils, and now we’re coming crashing down. I hope our landing will softer than our mythological counterpart’s. But it was a realization that needed to come.

    We’ve all been living more and more tenuously since I can recall. Even things like the S&L debacles didn’t thoroughly stunt this problem. Unfortunately, it takes something like this to get the whole country to notice. I don’t think this will come close to ridding Americans of their overwhelming sense of entitlement. But it did put a dent in that assumption, at least. I don’t know that we can be a truly great nationa again until we realize that there are consequences. For up times, there will, at some point, be a downward spiral to compensate. And that is something we must bear. Today there is still a sense of outrage that we are finally taking our lumps for the decades of drastic growth. It exists in much smaller amounts than it did at the outset of this recession, but it’s still virulent. And until we can shake off this belief that we deserve to always make money in stocks, that owning a house is not a right, and that things won’t always go our way, we’re doomed to a boom and bust cycle that will shake us to the very core.

    So, in my eyes, while this recession deals us a bitter medicine, it’s a dose we very much need.

    Abigail’s last blog post..S’mores, you foul temptress!

  2. I guess I listen too much to folks like Gerald Celente and Peter Schiff, but I’m not convinced this recession will ever be “over” in a sense that we get to return to 3-car garages and McMansions for the middle class.

    The silver lining depends on the person. If you aspire to wealth, I suppose the old phrase that wealth isn’t destroyed, it’s merely transferred comes to mind. With times of upheaval come some of the greatest opportunities for those who look for them.

    Lindsay’s last blog post..Edible Ground Covers to Replace Your Grass Lawn

  3. the Economic Recession has been pretty hard on us. some of my friends lost their job because of the massive job cuts. i just hope that our economy becomes better in the following years.

  4. i am hoping that the global economy would recover from this economic recession. life has been very hard with these massive job cuts.

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