Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The bright side of recessions

Here's a guest post from my friend, freelance writer Trisha Wagner, on the hidden benefits of the "R" word. Enjoy!

Hidden benefits of a recession? What could possibly be good about a recession you might ask. I'm fairly certain I am not alone in being dreadfully tired of hearing all the dooms day speak about the economy, bailouts and all the other negative information floating around on the Internet and other news mediums. For a change of pace, let's take a look at how a recession can lead to positive benefits or at the very least, favorable outcomes.

People become less wasteful.

Thank goodness! We are a society of consummate consumers to the detriment of our planet and in some cases our moral integrity. Ok-that might be an over dramatization but I don't think it is too far of a stretch from the truth. When the economy is good and people are thriving financially there tends to be less interest in living a sustainable life and people become very careless with how they use and dispose of objects as well as money. When the economy takes a turn for the worse, people tend to step back and rein in their spending and try to make their money and “objects” last longer.

People get back to the basics.

Along the same road as being less wasteful a recession sparks long buried instincts in families. People tend to refocus on the importance of loved ones and appreciate what they have due to the fear of an uncertain future. Families may be forced to cut some social activities which can result in a renewal of familial relationships. Dinner might again be served at the family table instead of everyone grabbing something after work or school as they rush around filling social obligations. In addition to reconnecting with loved ones most people take the time to sit back and re-examine their lifestyle. A recession is an excellent time to remember the difference between the “needs” and “wants” in our lives.

People get creative.

Have you heard the saying “necessity is the mother of invention”? Truer words could not be spoken during an slowing economy. What used to be a “given” in our lives is no longer so. Unemployment is rising at a rapid pace, homes are in foreclosure and retirement accounts are taking some hard hits. For some people recovery will seem impossible, others will dig deep and discover ways to not only survive the recession but come out ahead.

People NEED a wake-up call.

It would be ideal if people could learn about good financial planning another way, but the fact remains for far too long our society has become used to overspending. For some people the last few decades have been spend living beyond their means. Consumer debt, huge houses, new cars and keeping up with the Jones' have left many families holding the short straw in the current economic climate. A recession will remind people about the importance of living within or below their means as well as having an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.

Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community and debt forum. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.

3 comments:

livingmyrichlife said...

Your post is spot on. I was trying to articulate these points to people bemoaning the current economy, but you have said it so much better. I guess it's easy to see the bad news, and sometimes hard to see the bigger picture and how timely this situation is for our planet.

Money Funk said...

My thoughts exactly. Great post. And to me, there is nothing better than getting back to the basics!

Naturally Frugal said...

Great (guest) post, I just stumbled across this blog and so far I love it!

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