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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Wall Street's worst week ever

This has been an incredible week. Astounding losses. The word crash being bandied about. People are scared. People are petrified. How many of you won't even open your statements. You don't want to know. The sound of the opening bell becomes an irritation. Panic selling commences. The Dow falls 600 points upon opening. It's a nosedive.

Richard Fuld walks away with $350 million dollars. He's a crook. Crowds scream at him "You should go to jail." AIG spends hundreds of thousands of dollars at a resort spa while we pay that bill. The federal bailout isn't working and Nancy Pelosi says we need another one, maybe next month.

GM's stock is so low that it looks like a bailout for American car manufacturers might be next. Some folks are looking at bargain stocks and starting to buy. But that damn closing bell today shows yet another 100 points down. Nobody knows what is going to happen next. Will the slide continue? Will Bill Gates move back up to the country's richest man?

How is this crazy economy affecting you? Were you in the market? Did you use a financial advisor, or were you on etrade buying and selling on your own. Have you pulled out of the market? Cut a hole in your mattress. Do you still have a bank? Do you have any money left?

For me, my stocks were long since sold and the money spent. I had a 401K and my kids had college accounts, but those were also spent when I got laid off in CA and was out of work for 18 months. It's all long gone, but the financial bleeding happening this week is directly affecting me. Nobody is immune, even those of us that aren't actively involved in the market. My state is running out of money and that means that services are going to be cut. The first services to be cut are, of course, for the elderly, disabled, and children. They're already talking about cutting home health aids. That is going to suck. The state's mandated health insurance is probably going to run out of money. That is also going to suck.

If the state runs out of money, then so do the cities and towns. Town services will be curtailed. No garbage, no snow removal, no teen servives, no mental health services.

The more you all lose your money, the less likely you are to contribute to charity, which means the food pantries will be empty and more people will go hungry. If the federal government doesn't help with fuel subsidies, the poor will go without heat.

I don't think that the financial news is all bad. I think the high-living that has been ongoing for so many years has to stop. Those 50 million dollar apartments in NY aren't selling. The huge mansions in LA aren't selling either. People are going to be less interested in emulating the very rich and more interested in getting value for their dollar.

Americans spend too much money on crap. I think that most of you are living on a comfortable middle-class income where you can go out to dinner and have vacations and spend money on prepared foods. But it's time to cut back. You know it. I have been doing it for years. There honestly isn't anything I can cut back on anymore. The margins I'm living with are non-existant. I don't have credit. I have no spare money. For me, buying something as simple as razor blades (and WHY are those so expensive) has to be planned for.

We all need to do better. We need to stop shopping. We need to cut back to the bare bone. You'll know it's the bare bones when you are living on a few hundred dollars for food, essentials, medical payments, etc. No more going out to eat. No more ordering a pizza when you can make one at home for 1/4 the price. No more fancy cars that waste gas. No more clothing you love but don't need.

It's time to plan your gardens for next year as you turn over your garden from this year. Can you make it bigger? Can you feed your family out of your garden? Do you have room to plant fruit trees? Can you grow a window herb garden? How much food can you buy in bulk and preserve?

What about freecycle. Do you use it? Have you rid your home of stuff you don't need? Do you trade/barter for services? Do you give away your clothing to families in need? Do you donate to food pantries? Do you keep your donations local? Are their identified families in your synagogue/church community that need help? Do you cook for them? Offer to help with small household tasks?

There is so much we CAN do for each other. We all need to change our mentality from a 'me me me' mindset to a 'what can I do to help my neighbors' mindset. We're practically in Victory Garden mode, where we all need to join together to ensure that our friends and neighbors will survive this financial fiasco. We can do it!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Daisy said...

I was worried (still am, really) that I don't have a 401K. Now I'm more worried that my husband's is going down the tubes in value. i keep feeling this elemental urge to expand my garden and buy canning jars.

11/10/08 11:32 AM  
Blogger nk said...

appreciate your perspective.

i happen to be an american watching this unfold as a temporary resident of india. so far so good for me: i'm living off savings in a standard fdic account, and the crash has actually improved exchange rates a bit (strangely enough.)

i am glad to be in india: whatever happens to the world economy as a result of the crash, my experiences traveling and learning to live and operate in a different world cannot be taken away from me!

and i am glad to learn to live less comfortably, as our wealth and comforts may not always be with us.

peace
nathaniel
http://nathanielandsarah.wikidot.com

12/10/08 10:35 AM  

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