Let's not mince words.
The world economy is not in good shape, and the economy that affects you directly, dear readers (mostly US, North America, and UK judging by my records) has problems. The economic situation for many is at best a recession, and at most a growing catastrophe that still has yet to play out in our lives, bank accounts, and futures.
Yet I meet a lot of people who don't care, or don't pay attention. Some are in this state due to apathy or indifference. Others don't care out of ignorance. The worst are people who are very convinced they know what's going on, and of course are dreadfully wrong.
If you are not at least a bit worried about the economy you are either very well off or wrong. There's no middle ground here.
I don't encourage people to panic. Panic is unproductive, distracting, and usually pretty bloody annoying. I encourage concern and some healthy, empowering worry – the kind that gets you off your butt.
If you're ignoring the economy through laziness, ignorance, or arrogance you are setting yourself up for failure.
Want reasons to be concerned?
* A 10%+ unemployment rate in the US that looks to go on for awhile. That could be you – or is you – and that burns your cash, the goodwill of friends and family, or the patience of your spouse, or whatever you're using to support yourself. Even if you're doing well, other people are not, and as their lives slowly fall apart forever that's going to affect your country and you.
* Financial regulation. We could use a hell of a lot more in the United States (and I have hopes of a new Glass–Steagall), but right now we do not have it. Geitner looks to have had massive conflicts of interest. No improved regulation and we'll be doing this again in a few years.
* The housing market isn't done falling yet. How many people treated their homes – stupidly – as an investment and are now cleaned out? How many jobs are gone because of the shifts in housing – that won't come back? Another housing drop – which I see possible – can trigger another recession or dip.
* The job market has gotten bizarre because no one is really sure what's going on. We see companies roll out products that make no sense, see mergers and layoffs that seem ill-advised, and watch the Everything Wars among tech companies go ridiculous. No one really knows whats going on right now.
* Getting a job or running your own business has changed. It was changing before the economy acted like melted butter exposed to a blowtorch. Now it's changing in the midst of an economic mess, a double-trouble situation for job searchers. Its hard enough to know if your Twitter account, LinkedIn, or web page is the best way to find the work you want – its harder when everyone's financial stability is in free fall.
You have to be concerned and keep on top of these issues – because no one else is going to do it for you. You have to take responsibility to stay informed and find what you need to do to meet your goals and survive. You, after all, know (hopefully) better than anyone your situation and your needs.
Ignoring all the craziness in the economy isn't going to help you.
Leaving others to worry about it, from co-workers to family, will at best mean others will make wrong decisions, at worse annoy them. Don't outsource responsibility to make informed decisions.
Your life. Your job.
Be a bit concerned.
– Steven Savage