By now the whole world knows just how bad the state of our economy is. It’s no secret to anyone. You hear every day how Wall St. did this or is going to do that. There’s plenty of blame being thrown around and no one willing to admit fault to anything. I’m not going to argue that some corporate hotshot on Wall St. helped to land us in this mess and I’m also not going to argue that he/she didn’t. The fact is that we’re all partially to blame for the sorry state of our economy.
Let’s rewind just a couple of years to the start of this financial crisis. I’m sure you remember it well – I sure do. There was a sub-prime mortgage crisis which was “contained” and not going to affect the greater financial markets. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 because the sub-prime crisis clearly did affect the majority of our economy. Now I love to cast stones just as much as the next person but this is something I just can’t ignore any longer. Rest assured blame does rest on Wall St. but even more than them I say the blame falls on us – on Main St.
People clearly did not make wise financial decisions, people just like you and me. We bought more house than we could afford and treated our homes like money pits – taking out massive home equity loans to go on vacations and buy expensive things.
Why did we do this? How could we be so foolish? To be fair we were told home values would continue to increase–indefinitely. We were talked into buying more home than we could afford, by Realtor and loan officer alike. In the end though it was us who made that decision – we signed our names on the dotted line, and in so doing contributed to the unraveling that our economy has seen over the past couple years.
Where Do We Go From Here?
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but until we’re able to get past the blame game and actually work towards fixing this mess–together–not much will ever get done. It’s true that at this point we seem to be past the worst of the unraveling of the financial markets. In fact, with the Dow at nearly year highs it’s easy to assume that we’re pulling out of this recession quickly. Unfortunately that’s probably not the case.
In fact, what’s more likely is that we haven’t seen the last of the financial crisis. There’s still plenty of fighting in Washington about how to treat this financial crisis and beyond that, how to regulate the financial industry so this sort of meltdown doesn’t happen again.
The best thing we can do at this point is to be smart with our money. Establish an emergency fund if you haven’t already done so. Be careful not to fall for the latest get-rich quick scheme. Establish an automatic savings plan. Live a little. Enjoy life. On a political note, don’t forget you have the voting power if your congressman doesn’t seem to be making very wise decisions when it comes to the regulation of the financial industries or the disbursal of taxpayer money.