During “the Crash” way back when, in the days before the FDIC, Young Tom lost $2,000 - $3,000 that he had in the bank. That was money he had scrimped and saved for years while trying to help support seven younger siblings.
He never got over it. Can you blame him? That’s still a chunk of change today, at least to lose anyway. Back then though, it was enough to buy a house. Oh, he eventually did have a checking account. But there was never more than a $1 or $2 above what was needed to pay bills. Never.
I’m explaining all this to preface “the sky is falling” scenario that the mother currently is enveloped by. Her Young Tom genes are all aflame. She’s freaking out about my job, my credit, the money we have in the bank, the level of gas in the car, and the amount of food in the house. She’s convinced that we’ll never be able to finish the house now. That new car we’ve been talking about for so long? Forget it.
I can allay a few of those fears. I can go fill up the car. I can go buy groceries. I have no control over whether the bank (which is on a target list) will get swallowed up, but I guess I can always follow Young Tom’s example and leave only enough in the account for checks to clear. But if enough people do that, won’t that close the bank for sure?
As for my credit, if my limits suddenly disappear it will bitch-slap my FICO. Unless I pay off my balances now (which I’m not in a position to do) that’s probably what will happen. So, my credit rating will likely plunge like the Dow. I’m powerless to do anything about it.
As for my job, if I’m suddenly shown the door (not that I anticipate that I will be, but anything is possible anymore) what can I do? Refuse to leave? No. I’ll just have to find another one. Or two. Or maybe three to keep things going at their present level.
But no matter what, it’s going to do absolutely no good to freak out. I’ve spent the second half of my life trying to dispel the “expect the worst” mentality that was ingrained during the first half. Dwell enough on the negative and it will run to you – at top speed.
Not that I’m not stressed. It’s almost impossible not to be. It would seem that our country is going to hell – without the benefit of a handbasket. Even so, I’m trying to manage it. Not lose my cool. Not log onto my tiny 401K which, by now, is likely non-existent.
No. I’m finding comfort in small things. Like the newsletter I got from Tim Carter at Ask the Builder. Tim cites a USA Today article from yesterday that says “the economic woes are nothing close to the Great Depression, even if it feels that way to some. We're nowhere near the days of wandering homelessness evoked in John Steinbeck's 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath.”
Well, that’s some good news. So, is the sky falling at your house?