Doom and Gloom

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mojave
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Doom and Gloom

Post by mojave » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:41 pm

As someone not yet 30, I sometimes lose my optimism (which I generally have plenty of) and become concerned with the future and the ability for my family to "get ahead". Aside from the Great Depression, I don't know of another modern era in which so many potentially disastrous unknowns lie ahead:

- Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging

For those of you with more life experience, have there always been potentially economic-crushing concerns like those we have today? Where's the silver lining? Do these things just work themselves out in non-catastrophic ways? What is your take on all of it, besides "stay the course" of course :)

Tigermoose
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Tigermoose » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:43 pm

We are living in a golden age.
Institutions matter

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by investingdad » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:50 pm

mojave wrote:As someone not yet 30, I sometimes lose my optimism (which I generally have plenty of) and become concerned with the future and the ability for my family to "get ahead". Aside from the Great Depression, I don't know of another modern era in which so many potentially disastrous unknowns lie ahead:

- Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging

For those of you with more life experience, have there always been potentially economic-crushing concerns like those we have today? Where's the silver lining? Do these things just work themselves out in non-catastrophic ways? What is your take on all of it, besides "stay the course" of course :)
You mean like somebody born in the 1970s with the threat of Red Dawn looming over our heads?
Or those around in the 1940s with not one but two major World Wars under their belts?
Or those around in the Dark Ages when disease was rampant?

...yes, I'd say every generation has some challenges.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by obgraham » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:52 pm

If you didn't live through the Cold War, in which many of us were convinced we would all die in a massive nuclear exchange, then you don't really know what "doom and gloom" really meant.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by obgraham » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:54 pm

I also forgot: in centuries past most folks toiled from sunup to sunset just to survive. History books were written by the lucky few who had free time.
And don't forget your prospects if you were in Europe in 1348.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by solonseneca » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:56 pm

These are bad times indeed. Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are considered artists.

There have always been reasons to be gloomy in the past. The Cold War, high inflation, multiple recessions and of course Abba.

Cheer up.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:56 pm

obgraham wrote:I also forgot: in centuries past most folks toiled from sunup to sunset just to survive. History books were written by the lucky few who had free time.
And don't forget your prospects if you were in Europe in 1348.
They also did not have TV to tell them that they were living in gloom and were doomed.

Victoria
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gasman
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by gasman » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:57 pm

mojave wrote:As someone not yet 30, I sometimes lose my optimism (which I generally have plenty of) and become concerned with the future and the ability for my family to "get ahead". Aside from the Great Depression, I don't know of another modern era in which so many potentially disastrous unknowns lie ahead:

- Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging

For those of you with more life experience, have there always been potentially economic-crushing concerns like those we have today? Where's the silver lining? Do these things just work themselves out in non-catastrophic ways? What is your take on all of it, besides "stay the course" of course :)
The twenty year period from about 1980-2000 were the most peaceful and prosperous the world has ever known. USA in particular. It should not be considered the "standard" that we have come to expect.

There has always been something to worry about. What seems to be different now is that upward social mobility in the USA is harder than it was. Low skill living wage jobs are in short supply. Well paying middle skill jobs are disappearing. Even the professions; medicine, law, dentistry, accounting which were a virtual guarantee to upper middle class lifestyle if you worked hard and were a decent citizen are no longer the sure thing that they were.

The silver lining is that these types of trends will not necessarily continue for very long.

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ryuns
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by ryuns » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:58 pm

I think this calls for one of ValueThinker's inspirational posts.

There are potential solutions for all of those things, though most suggestions would border into politics. What's amazing, despite those issues you mention, is that there truly is a lot of good news. These are easy to forget and/or they may not affect you, but they're good to keep in mind.

-There are way fewer people in poverty now than ever before. Development continues apace in much of the developing world.
-By most measures, the world is a less violent place than pretty much ever before. Wars are tragic, but isolated. Crime rates in the US have decreased by about 50% in the past 20 years.
-Similarly, cities are far more pleasant places to live than in the past several decades (possibly ever), meaning there are far more legitimately pleasant places to find "your niche" in any given city in the US, many of which do not require a car and a long commute.
-External factors that could potentially limit the success of anyone who isn't a white, straight, Christian male continue to decrease. (I was trying to think of PC way to say that.)
-Life expectancies are increasing.
-Housing has rebounded considerably. If you don't use the bubble as a yardstick, things are okay in many places. And it gave many of us a good buying opportunity.
-Economic prospects for next year look pretty good.
-Craft beer is popular in the US again. :)
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:58 pm

solonseneca wrote:There have always been reasons to be gloomy in the past. The Cold War, high inflation, multiple recessions and of course Abba.
You mean the gloom and doom of
[b]ABBA[/b] wrote:I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain't it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That's too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball...
?

Victoria
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frugaltype
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by frugaltype » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:02 pm

obgraham wrote:If you didn't live through the Cold War, in which many of us were convinced we would all die in a massive nuclear exchange, then you don't really know what "doom and gloom" really meant.
+1

Although having the planet being destroyed by global warming is pretty comparable, depending on how bad it gets.

As to the OP's concerns, enrollment in ACA is exponentially increasing as the website stupidities get straightened out. Social Security will be fine if the cap on salaries is removed.

The job market stinks and I see no way that will be improved.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by NightOwl » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm

mojave wrote:As someone not yet 30, I sometimes lose my optimism (which I generally have plenty of) and become concerned with the future and the ability for my family to "get ahead". Aside from the Great Depression, I don't know of another modern era in which so many potentially disastrous unknowns lie ahead:

- Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging

For those of you with more life experience, have there always been potentially economic-crushing concerns like those we have today? Where's the silver lining? Do these things just work themselves out in non-catastrophic ways? What is your take on all of it, besides "stay the course" of course :)
To keep within forum rules, I'll go with a general comment: the composition of your list pretty much reveals your news sources. I'd recommend consuming less media generally. We live in a politically polarized age, and it's always in some party's interest to represent the current state of affairs as disastrous in order to try to sway political opinion. One of the reasons that I love this forum is that it prohibits political discussion, and I think that saves people here a ton of money -- investing for the long term based on anybody's short-term political rhetoric is a disastrous idea.

Bottom line: save as much money as you can, invest in a low-cost, diversified portfolio, and over the long run you'll be better off than people who don't do those things.

NightOwl
"Volatility provokes the constant dread that some investors know more than we do, making us fearful of ignoring such powerful price movements." | Peter Bernstein, "The 60/40 Solution."

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Fallible » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:07 pm

To hear some of my young relatives talk about their student loans, it seems that's enough to become a pessimist about everything economic. Then too, it seems once one gets down about one thing, it's tempting to pile it on and lose perspective. There's something good about everything, including every one of those items on your list. Look for them and put those down, too. Perspective returns. :happy
"John Bogle has changed a basic industry in the optimal direction. Of very few can this be said." ~Paul A. Samuelson

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by MnD » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:13 pm

Your odds are dying from violent trauma are way down...... :beer

http://longnow.org/seminars/02012/oct/0 ... -violence/
Forensic archaeology (“CSI Paleolithic”) reveals that 15 percent of prehistoric skeletons show signs of violent trauma. Ethnographic vital statistics of surviving non-state societies and pockets of anarchy show, on average, 524 war deaths per 100,000 people per year.

Germany in the 20th century, wracked by two world wars, had 144 war deaths per 100,000 per year. Russia had 135. Japan had 27. The US in the 20th century had 5.7. In this 21st century the whole world has a war death rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people per year. In primitive societies 15 percent of people died violently; now 0.03 percent do. Violence is 1/500th of what it used to be.
Last edited by MnD on Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:14 pm

mojave, I hope I won't discourage or shock you when I say that I find it odd, because to me, this seems to be a relatively "normal" time! About as normal as it ever gets.

Even approaching age 30, you can't seriously think that there are more "potentially disastrous unknowns" today than there were during 2008-2009, can you?

Actually, it is a typical human misperception always to see the present as a time of unprecedented uncertainty, compared to some past age when things were "normal." We only think they were normal because we know the rest of the story. For example, we know now that there was a quick recovery from bottom in 2009, but we didn't know that at the time. There was a lot of agonizing about the possibility of an "L-shaped recovery."

I am not sure it is comforting but I would say that even if we don't always muddle through, the things that get us are usually not the things that we are worrying about. Basically, people were not in a state of dread in 2007, for example. In fact at the time I was reading a 2002 book called How the Markets Really Work, by Joel Kurtzman, that explained:
While a single car buyer or home owner in the package may have fallen on hard times, chances are the overall group of borrowers is in pretty good shape. In fact, packagers and insurers have sophisticated math programs that can calculate the risk and price the package accordingly.
Hah!

In October of 1962, I was in college trying to call home to my parents, and couldn't get the call to go through because all the long-distance lines were busy. It was the Cuban missile crisis, and we all thought nuclear war was imminent. Eventually, I succeeded, and my parents told me that they had felt the same way in the past, but, you know, next day the sun came up and the world was still there. And so it was then.
As the opening lines of 'A Tale of Two Cities', Charles Dickens wrote:It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:16 pm

At 30 it's all relative to your earning potential.

I heard something recently to the effect that essentially all employment growth in the future will involve adding value to computer systems.

Of course, there will be a low-wage jobs supporting those who are adding value to computer systems.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by NAVigator » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:17 pm

Fallible wrote:There's something good about everything, including every one of those items on your list. Look for them and put those down, too. Perspective returns. :happy
I agree. Living a life filled with gratitude is far better than gloom and doom. The best part of all, is that it is YOUR CHOICE to make.

Jerry
"I was born with nothing and I have most of it left."

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by YttriumNitrate » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:20 pm

frugaltype wrote:Although having the planet being destroyed by global warming is pretty comparable, depending on how bad it gets.
After going through that polar vortex (or as called long ago: "cold weather"), the earth turning into the lush tropics of the carboniferous period is looking better and better. How's that for optimism?

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by MP173 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:29 pm

In the mid to late 1970s/ early 80s when I was just out of college and beginning my adult life:

1. WIN - Whip inflation Now. Enough said.
2. Richard Nixon resignation.
3. Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter administrations.
4. High interest rates (to go along with #1). First mortgage rate was 12%.
5. Massive unemployment around 1980. Rust belt as steel mills began retrenching here in the Midwest.
6. Nuclear threat.
7. Hostages in Iran.
8. Grain embargo for those in farming.
9. Gasoline prices double.
10. Disco
11. End of the free sex era as AIDs begins.
12. Hangover from Viet Nam war.
13. NBA playoffs on tape delay.

I could go on and on, but it wasn't a very good era. In many ways, the two eras are very, very similar.

Ed

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by 22twain » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:31 pm

obgraham wrote:If you didn't live through the Cold War, in which many of us were convinced we would all die in a massive nuclear exchange, then you don't really know what "doom and gloom" really meant.
I remember reading an article about home fallout shelters in (I think) Consumer Reports magazine, when I was a kid in the 1960s.
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by investingdad » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:43 pm

Can you imagine the Cold War being played out in 2014 with Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and 24 hour news cycles on your SmartPhone?

Yeesh...

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by JoMoney » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:53 pm

YttriumNitrate wrote:
frugaltype wrote:Although having the planet being destroyed by global warming is pretty comparable, depending on how bad it gets.
After going through that polar vortex (or as called long ago: "cold weather"), the earth turning into the lush tropics of the carboniferous period is looking better and better. How's that for optimism?
We go from climatologists predicting global cooling to global warming in 30 years...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_861us ... be&t=1m35s
Either way, extremes probably no good, but it does make me wonder if anyone really knows anything.
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:00 pm

mojave wrote:Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
I do not intend to be political. We have a household employee whose husband died because of inadequately treated asthma. He could not afford insurance because of his pre-existing condition. His widow is insured now, for the first time in her life. There is some gloom for her in this, but only because it didn't happen sooner.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by GeauxBR » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:09 pm

NightOwl wrote: To keep within forum rules, I'll go with a general comment: the composition of your list pretty much reveals your news sources. I'd recommend consuming less media generally. We live in a politically polarized age, and it's always in some party's interest to represent the current state of affairs as disastrous in order to try to sway political opinion. One of the reasons that I love this forum is that it prohibits political discussion, and I think that saves people here a ton of money -- investing for the long term based on anybody's short-term political rhetoric is a disastrous idea.
NightOwl
This. It's all noise. I'm a worrier by nature and am young like the OP (31). A year or so ago I quit watching news altogether. I still read news a couple of times a week but I was getting worked up/fearful about the future and finally realized I needed to focus on what I could control and disregard what I couldn't.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by lrak » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:12 pm

The political partisanship and long term economic outlook is the worst it has ever been in my memory. But I recognize I was born into historically good times. While I don't think my children will be able to succeed as easily as my generation, I do believe they will be able to succeed in life. I also don’t think the US is at risk for falling apart yet. :)
mojave wrote:- Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging
ACA will work itself out.

Higher education is going to be a big concern for several more decades. Some solution will eventually have to be found.

Housing market in the dumps isn't a bad thing. Houses were unaffordable to the majority of sane people 10 years ago.

I remember a survey back in the 90s that revealed more college students believed extra terrestrials had visited earth than social security would be around when they retired. It will be around, it just won't be as good a deal as it was for our parents/grandparents. Many of us won't break even.

While I consider our spending completely irresponsible, as a percentage of GDP the US still isn't as bad as many stable world countries.

There is not much you can do about the economy. It always goes in cycles. Look on the bright side, the job market isn't great, but it is a lot better than it was a couple of years ago.

investingdad wrote:You mean like somebody born in the 1970s with the threat of Red Dawn looming over our heads?
I believe my parents were fairly honest with me. It was very very very very unlikely anything was going to happen. I lived 10 miles from a primary ICBM target and 5 miles from a secondary target. (Not explained in those terms at the time, but…) If something did happen I wouldn't know for more than a fraction of a second and then it would be lights out, so it wasn't worth worrying about.
Or those around in the 1940s with not one but two major World Wars under their belts?
WWI = 4.4 years (US only involved 2nd half of war)
WWII = 6 years (US only involved 2nd half of war)

A ton of casualties, but less than 5 years in total spent at war and 25 years dramatic economic expansion after WWII.

If you're 30, the US has been involved in some sort of politically motivated "military action" in the Middle East for more than half your life! Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Desert Fox, Iraq War, Enduring Freedom, etc. These wars have not cost as many lives, but have cost trillions of dollars. The under 30 crowd has also grown up with the War on Drugs and War on Terror. A couple more trillion dollars. I question the effectivness of those "wars" and their impact on our economy, safety, and individual liberties.
Last edited by lrak on Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by richard » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:20 pm

mojave wrote: - Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging
- Healthcare cost growth is slowing. Compare the ACA rollout to other similar programs, such as Medicare Part D
- Student loans and education costs are a problem
- Doesn't this mean it will cost you less to buy a house?
- Social Security should be fine with a minor tweak, such as a better implementation of the Greenspan commission
- You might want to look at actual numbers - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/ is a good source. Look at debt/GDP, not just debt. Did you know the Feds ran a surplus in December?
- The economy is lagging

Markets are doing rather well.

As others have noted, there have been lots of problems during just about every time period we know of.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Chadnudj » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:23 pm

As someone not yet 30, I sometimes lose my optimism (which I generally have plenty of) and become concerned with the future and the ability for my family to "get ahead". Aside from the Great Depression, I don't know of another modern era in which so many potentially disastrous unknowns lie ahead:

- Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act and the future of both (ACA appears to have so far been a bust but that could just be my perception)
- Excessive student loan debts and increasing cost of higher education
- Housing market still in the dumps
- Social Security's questionable existence when I retire (or at least, the concern by others my age that it will be gone)
- Government has an insane amount of debt and keeps increasing it
- Economy still lagging

For those of you with more life experience, have there always been potentially economic-crushing concerns like those we have today? Where's the silver lining? Do these things just work themselves out in non-catastrophic ways? What is your take on all of it, besides "stay the course" of course :)
My advice? Judge slowly. Just as in investing, extremes regarding other aspects of life/politics tend to revert to a more moderate mean.

No one yet knows the end effects of the ACA, for instance. For all the stories of the admittedly disastrous rollout, there's evidence that it's working in curbing the rise of health care costs and Massachusetts' example implementing the same system as proof that it could work. Either side could be right, or the truth may lie somewhere between.

The housing market is only in the dumps based on your frame of reference and location. If you're viewing from Florida in terms of the late 2006 highs, it might be in the dumps. Not so if you're comparing it to prices in Florida in 1994, for instance. Again, the truth lies somewhere between the extremes.

Social Security's "questionable" existence is only "questionable" to the extent that politicians don't make easy fixes. They will, eventually, have to do so....much like they've done multiple times in the past to keep in solvent, such as under Reagan, etc. Again - the truth is in the middle.

The government's debt is, again, only "insane" as a total number on the federal level and as spending for a future return. As a percentage of GDP it's falling as government spending decreases across state, local, and even federal levels. As "debt load" (i.e. the debt you have times your interest rate) our debt is downright cheap thanks to current low interest environments. As spending for a future return, money spent keeping the financial system from collapse in 2007-2009 at 3% or lower interest rates seems pretty damn smart to me considering the run-up we've just seen in the market, rising employment (as opposed to the almost certain much worse unemployment numbers we'd have experienced otherwise). No one's applauding our debt (or, at least, they shouldn't be), but I'd hardly consider it calamitous, and would just say we need to responsibly make efforts to tighten the national belt without hurting economic growth and those most susceptible to the loss of government benefits/assistance.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by TSR » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:24 pm

It helps me to remember the conception of economics as "the study of choice in a world of scarcity." A few years ago people always talked about "peak oil" and how oil was DEFINITELY just going to run out entirely. These days we talk about health care and entitlement crises. These things are not unimportant, but the people who traffic in panic will tend to ignore the fact that economics affects us whether we like it or not. In fact, humans are astonishingly good at marginal change in the face of scarcity. This is a classic example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%8 ... lich_wager. But I see this sort of fear in a lot of the "this time it's worse" talk -- "at this rate, we're doomed." No, we never continue "at this rate" in ANYTHING we do. Again, we do actually need to address some or all of the problems that you mention, but you can count on the fact that we actually WILL address those issues at some point, either by consuming fewer resources or shifting to other resources.* We should all work for a better future, but it's probably going to be ok.

*A good argument can be made that certain issues, such as global warming for just one (non-political) example, are less susceptible to "economic" solutions than others because, among other reasons, they (1) require global coordination among nations with strongly conflicting interests, and (2) involve potentially permanent changes to which humans are simply less good at adapting. Those are the sorts of issues I'd be more concerned about.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by telemark » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:47 pm

I started working professionally near the beginning of Reagan's second term. I was certain that the soaring deficits and national debt would produce massive inflation that would soon destroy the economy. Certainly Social Security was a giant Ponzi scheme that would fail long before I could ever retire. Needless to say, it's nice to be wrong sometimes.

On the positive side, it helped convince me to put money into my 401K, and that turned out fairly well.

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Ged
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Ged » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:26 pm

:oops:
Last edited by Ged on Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bonnan
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Bonnan » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:33 pm

When thinking doom and gloom one must step way way back and comprehend civilization and progress of man. Remember that the USA came about after the final discovery of the remaining lands of the planet. We were blessed with unending natural resources and a selection of spirited human beings who emigrated here. Think, only certain individuals came here; many stayed behind. These people made specific laws at that time based on their life experiences. Those that came worked hard, suffered and prospered. Along came two World Wars the latter of which mankind had never imagined . The USA enjoyed the fruits of victory! The rest of the world was annihilated , completely at our mercy and then we rebuilt it. The economy boomed. Any Tom ,Dick or Betty could get a job back then. The middle class grew like never before, unions were strong. The period from 1945 to about 1990 was ours. This scenario can never be repeated. Many of our current laws and thinking are the result of this prosperity but may not endure. Our future will be some mishmash of all of this but definitely not the aberration that occurred from 1945 to present.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:54 pm

While searching old British newspapers to investigate another topic entirely, the late Stephen Jay Gould discovered London had continually been in the midst of an unprecedented crime wave for 150 years.
PJW

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G12
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by G12 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:57 pm

Rejoice, federal tax rates are very low for the vast majority of tax payers. Just think in 1981 the highest federal marginal tax rate was 70% and we aren't currently dealing with high inflation, boy do I recall my dad grousing about the escalating costs of Cadillacs and such. Things look pretty good to me for those that want to manage their own financial futures. :beer The organic whole chicken at $13+ at the store Monday was off-putting so I kept walking. :wink:

Now if you want to discuss contracting cancer, and having other pre-50 year old friends contracting cancer with no family histories, and walking into my oncologists' office yesterday to find I needed to meet with another Dr due to the fact that my guy was tied up receiving a chemo infusion for a recent bladder cancer diagnosis I could go on about some Gloom and Doom. There is perception and there is reality I suppose, meanwhile I suppress worries over things I can't control.

sambb
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by sambb » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:05 pm

you dont have to worry about the US if you instead invest in Vanguard total world... since it is cap weighted, if the US declines, other countries will take its place. And it is one fund, one size fits all. It has large US holdings, but over time those could go down in your scenario. If youre wrong, they will appreciate relative to the rest of the world. It works. Thats the solution.

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mojave
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by mojave » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:18 pm

Thanks everyone, for the reality check I knew I could find truth and sanity here :)

Of course, my question was more along the lines of economics, war and health and personal battles of course overshadow those.

For those that seem to think my perception or questions as odd (I guess?) keep in mind, those of my generation grew up in the 80s and 90s. I saw nothing but prosperity in my childhood, not just in my family but in my town and our city of Chicago. I didn't know anyone that was unemployed or that suddenly lost their job and everyone was successful and spending left and right and being able to afford it all. Businesses spent a ton of money on everything. The first time I heard the word "foreclosure" was 2007 and my mom is a real estate agent. That's how most of us experienced the world. Add to that the normal sheltering you experience as a child. Even the crash in 2008, I was out of school and working for a year but still living at my parents house and pretty out-of-tune with everything. I remember the fear others experienced from the stock market crash but I didn't know the magnitude of it. What brought me to reality was the layoffs that happened after that, not just where I worked but everywhere.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Johm221122 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:21 pm

obgraham wrote:If you didn't live through the Cold War, in which many of us were convinced we would all die in a massive nuclear exchange, then you don't really know what "doom and gloom" really meant.
We used to have nuclear war drills and hide under desk :oops:
John

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:18 pm

Johm221122 wrote:
obgraham wrote:If you didn't live through the Cold War, in which many of us were convinced we would all die in a massive nuclear exchange, then you don't really know what "doom and gloom" really meant.
We used to have nuclear war drills and hide under desk :oops:
John
When my parents hid under the desk they were actually dropping bombs, so that's progress.

seamonkey
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by seamonkey » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:35 pm

I have heard that gourmet cupcake shops have a really dismal outlook.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by 209south » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:06 pm

I have lived through the whole 'cold war', 'stagflation', '87 crash', etc. - the entrepreneurial spirit tends to win out and I remain cautiously optimistic - having said that the OP has some reasonable concerns - 'all-in public debt' is at frightening levels, even vs. GDP; the social security fixes are 'simple' provided politicians act rationally...we'll see; the student loan issue as a macro matter is immaterial but is troubling nonetheless; as an investor my means of dealing with this is to 'market weight internationally', so I am very happily ~50% international in equities, bonds and REITs

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greg24
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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by greg24 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:12 pm

You are likely to live to 80 or 90 while living a life of abundant leisure. Everything else is window dressing. Enjoy.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by bhsince87 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:18 pm

"Have there always been potentially economic-crushing concerns like those we have today?"

Yes.

"Where's the silver lining?"

All around you. But you’ve got to find it.

"Do these things just work themselves out in non-catastrophic ways? "

Sometimes, but not always.

"What is your take on all of it, besides "stay the course" of course "

Stay the course!
Retirement: When you reach a point where you have enough. Or when you've had enough.

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Re: Doom and Gloom

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:33 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (not personal nor actionable). See: A reminder that non-investing general comment threads are OT
- It must be personal. In other words, you must be asking about your own situation. You can also ask on behalf of someone specific, such as a family member.

- It must be actionable. You must be able to do something specific with the replies that will make a difference in your situation.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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