Few Hoosiers read the financial pages because the information presented seems complex, pessimistic, or occasionally too optimistic. The economy has struggled since 2008 and investors have ridden a roller coaster of expectations. We’re accustomed to our retirement accounts being battered by forces as diverse as riots in Greece, tsunamis in Japan, and the action or inaction of our own Congress.
Entering our fifth year of this economic cycle, it’s tempting to imagine that it will all soon be behind us, but many signs demonstrate that normalcy is not on the immediate horizon. Consider the following facts from just one day’s (March 1, 2013) collection of news releases.
The Institute for Supply Management’s February survey shows that manufacturing in the U.S. was up more than expected, but prices manufacturers must pay for raw materials are rising sharply, a sure sign of inflationary pressure.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, after five straight years of American households reducing debt, borrowing is again on the increase. Some would argue that the borrowing reflects a renewed confidence resulting from the stock market’s near record high. The borrowing, however, is likely related to the fact that during January the U.S. household income dropped 4.0%, the greatest one month decline ever recorded. Ever!
A drop in household income when combined with increased borrowing dictates that Americans are saving less. In fact the individual saving rate fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession began. Construction spending was expected to increase but instead has nose-dived.
One in every nine student loans outstanding is now in default. These federally guaranteed loans total nearly $1 trillion.
What does all of this mean for Hoosiers? Simply this, be increasingly cautious.
At the very least, increase your rate of savings even if it means you must cut back on those items you’d really like to have. Saving is always better than borrowing. Saving for college, retirement, and future health care expenses are a must.
If you haven’t already done so, consider refinancing your home mortgage. If inflation occurs, as most predict it will in the near future, you’ll be able to pay off that debt with more available dollars.
We’re far from being out of the financial woods so remain cautious despite occasional brief stories of good economic news. For generations residents of Indiana have bragged of their “Hoosier common sense.” Hoping for the best but planning for the worst reflects that kind of thinking.
Indiana State Treasurer
The best years of your life
As people age they often look back to fondly recall the best years of their lives. Natural timeframes are the college years or that certain age before the daily grind of work and family take over the bulk of the day. Associations are to being carefree with limited responsibilities, a light and airy existence.
Ziemke: My Summer Homework
Even though session has been out for a little more than a month, the General Assembly still has much work to do. I had a brief break where I got to go home and mow the lawn, spend time at my restaurant, the Brau Haus, and attend a few festivals in addition to continuing to work on constituent concerns. The time has come for work on summer study committees to commence and I’m ready to get back at it.
Mauzy: Rush County: The hope and the despair
Moments arise when hope and despair briefly intersect. During these emotional overlaps, it’s a toss-up as to which energy will win even though we desire the best. Two recent high-profile events present the overlapping calamity often noticed in this community.
Asbestos awareness is an important topic
My father, sister and husband all died because of asbestos. Now my brother has asbestosis. I set up my website because of the death of my husband to let people know of the dangers. It was the first website designed by a person on the internet at that time instead of by lawyers. The stories are to honour those effected by asbestos and to make sure they are never forgotten. I had just finished the last sentence when I heard of Janelle’s death.
Proposed parade route
I see room for compromise on the 4th of July parade route. Up Main Street to 5th Street then take 5th Street to Harrison Street to 11th Street.
Barada: Good advice for parents and college students
This week’s column is more for the parents of kids about to head to college than unsolicited advice for students about to go. Why? Because kids going away from home, some for the very first time ever, can be an even more traumatic event for the parents than for their children!
Stop the student loan interest rate hike
The key to a great life is a good education. But paying for a college education is tough. Many families are taking out second mortgages. Some are putting-off deserved vacations. Others are telling their kids they just can’t afford to attend the school of their choice.
Mauzy: Recent graduates are free to explore
Two weeks have now passed since Rush County Schools released new graduates from a state required academic curriculum.
Parade should be on Harrison Street
There was good reason for not moving the parade back onto Main Street after the third lane was rammed through: we learned Harrison Street is a better route for both the participants and the spectators.
Barada: The right people in key places
For the first time in years, this community has exceptionally good people in key places within organizations involved directly with helping make Rush County a better place in which to live!
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