Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Now everyone's broke - yippee!

In the midst of all this financial crisis doom & gloom, I feel strangely cheerful and a bit like the title character Annie, who advises the residents of Hooverville to look on the bright side - “So you don’t have any money? You don’t have to pay any income tax!” It’s actually fun to realize how much better off I am than those suffering hedge fund managers and investment bankers who have lost millions and had to cancel orders for private planes.
I was broke BEFORE the economic crisis, so it didn’t really affect me, and I don’t have any investments to lose value; frankly, the only change I’ve noticed lately is that gas is under $4 a gallon again, which makes me less nauseous every time I have to fill up my minivan (which I couldn’t afford to replace with a Prius even before the market fell).
Then there are the suddenly budget-conscious parents dealing with teens whining, “What do you mean, we can’t afford to buy eight new outfits at Abercrombie?” We’ve never been able to shop anywhere but Target or Old Navy, so my sons aren’t experiencing any sense of loss and are considerably happier than their more well-off classmates. (Plus my boys think wearing designer label logos is ridiculous - why should they pay to be human billboards?)
Marriages are collapsing as couples deal with financial stress for the first time. Fortunately, my husband & I were broke when we got married, so we already knew how to cope with budget worries and spending limits. (I’m a songwriter, he’s a singer studying to be a rehab counselor, so as you can see we married each other for our money. . . . )
Homeowners are panicking as their mortgages balloon, and housing prices fall below the ridiculously inflated prices to only somewhat inflated prices. For those of us who are renters, it just means our landlords can’t afford to sell the house, so we have a little more peace of mind.
Of course, I’m sure the crisis will affect me someday, perhaps in higher food costs or reduced freelance opportunities. But the biggest negative result I’ve noticed is that suddenly there are all these hedge fund managers in designer clothes wandering around Target . . .

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