Only ten techGood morning.  It’s important to be mindful of the fact that the stock market and the economy are two different things.  As often as they’re in agreement, they’re just as often not.
Case in point: The Baltic Dry Index.  A rough measure of global trade — at least in physical goods — the index continues to hit new lows on global economic uncertainty.  Set against a back-drop of near-record-high stock prices, it’s a stark contrast.  It’s also a good reminder that the current market could see further, seemingly unsuspected, drops ahead.

Annie Lowrey: February 7, 2020 [Staff writer at The Atlantic]

In the 2010s, the national unemployment rate dropped from a high of 9.9% to its current rate of just 3.5 percent. The economy expanded each and every year.  Wages picked up for high-income workers as soon as the Great Recession ended, and picked up for lower-income workers in the second half of the decade.  Americans’ confidence in the economy hit its highest point since 2000, right before the dot-com bubble burst.  The headline economic numbers looked good, if not great.
Treading WaterBut beyond the headline economic numbers, a multifarious and strangely invisible economic crisis metastasized: Let’s call it the Great Afford-ability Crisis.  This crisis involved not just what families earned but the other half of the ledger, too — how they spent their earnings.  In one of the best decades the American economy has ever recorded, families were bled dry by landlords, hospital administrators, university bursars, and child-care centers.  For millions, a roaring economy felt precarious or downright terrible.
Barrack Obama quoteViewing the economy through a cost-of-living paradigm helps explain why roughly two in five American adults would struggle to come up with $400 in an emergency so many years after the Great Recession ended.  It helps explain why one in five adults is unable to pay the current month’s bills in full.  It demonstrates why a surprise furnace-repair bill, parking ticket, court fee, or medical expense remains ruinous for so many American families, despite all the wealth this country has generated.  Fully one in three households is classified as “financially fragile.”
Valerie Harper quoteAlong with the rise of inequality, the slowdown in productivity growth, and the shrinking of the middle class, the spiraling cost of living has become a central facet of American economic life.  It is a crisis amenable to policy solutions at the state, local, and federal levels — with all of the 2020 candidates, President Donald Trump included, teasing or pushing sweeping solutions for the problem.  But absent those solutions, it looks certain to get worse for the foreseeable future — leaving households fragile, exacerbating the country’s inequality, slowing down growth, smothering productivity, and putting families’ dreams of security out of reach.

“Is there anything that can be done?”  … 😉

February 12, 2019

My day in the shade!  😎

By investing the time and energy to get clear on our values and life purpose, by defining and articulating what we really want from all areas of our life, and then consistently acting on our objectives, we will live a successful life.   This kind of work isn’t easy.  It requires deep thinking and honest soul-searching. It’s not something you do in an afternoon.  It demands constant focus and attention.  Unless you are the architect of your life, you are at the effect of everything and everyone you encounter.  It’s something with which we all need help.

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