You can’t buy life insurance after you’re dead!
No one can afford to ignore it any longer... the U.S. National Debt Bomb.
No one can afford to ignore it any longer... the U.S. National Debt Bomb.
By 2012, the National Center for Policy Analysis estimates, the federal government will be forced to stop doing 1 in 10 of the things it does for you today. By 2020, it stops doing 1 in 4. By 2050, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will eat up the entire federal budget.
Do you want to wait to find out where we're headed next?
Former U.S. Comptroller General, David Walker has said this danger we’re about to face isn't just big... it's at least "25 times bigger" than the bust that's now drained some trillions of dollars from the U.S. stock market.
Some industries today will also see expanding markets for their goods. It seems obvious, but the point was often overlooked at the time – and so, too, it is overlooked today: There is some base-line level of consumption for things like energy, food and water – even in depressions. This base-line consumption is bound to rise, if for no other reason than population rises over time. You can’t say the same thing for decorative balls sold at Target for $4.99 a pop, or for fancy $30 candleholders at Pier 1. If you want to be sure your money sees the other side of this thing, stick with the necessities.
“The principal preoccupation of almost everybody in the 1930s was getting by,” the great A.J. Liebling wrote in May 1963.
The Asian nations may swap things around a while longer but China is basically up the creek without a paddle. They have less oil left than we have (which is saying, not much at all) and they won’t corner the rest of the global oil market without starting World War Three. Meanwhile, they’re running out of water and food. Good luck becoming the next global hegemon. Oh, and Japan imports 90 percent of its energy; India over 80 percent.
Credit will not vanish everywhere overnight – even in the U.S.A. – because it is not distributed equally everywhere. But it will vanish in layers, and here in the U.S.A. a very broad layer of the lower and middle classes are now losing their access to it in one way or another – personally, in small business – and they will never get it back. Anyone who intends to thrive in the years just ahead had better plan on doing it on the basis of accounts receivable – and what they receive might not even necessarily come in the form of U.S. dollars. It may come in the form of gold or silver or in the promise of reciprocal services rendered
The suburban living arrangement is over, along with all its accessories and furnishings. Taken as “all of a piece,” the suburban expansion was one sixty-year-long culmination of hypertrophy. We did it because we could. We won a world war and threw a party. We had lots of cheap land and cheap oil. It made lots of people lots of money and all its experiences have become embedded in our national identity to the dangerous degree that the loss of them will provoke a kind of national breakdown. The completely unrealistic expectation that we can resume this way of life is proof of it.
The immediate problem is that we can’t build anymore of it. The next problem will be the failure of the stuff that already exists. The first stage of that is now palpable in the mortgage foreclosure fiasco and, just beginning now, the tanking of malls, strip centers, office parks and other commercial property investments. The latter will accelerate and become visible very quickly as retail tenants bug out and weeds start growing where the Chryslers and Pontiacs once parked.
Our food production system is approaching crisis. There’s no way we can continue the petro-agriculture system of farming and the Cheez Doodle and Coke diet that it services. President Obama and Ag Secretary Vilsack have not given a hint that they understand the gravity of the situation. It is probably one of those unfortunate events of history that can only impress a society in the form of a crisis. It also happens to be one of the few problems we face that public policy could affect sharply and broadly – if we underwrote the reactivation of smaller, local farm operations instead of shoveling money to giant “agribusiness” (or Citibank, or Goldman Sachs, or AIG…).
Have you been heeding the warning signs?
T his new economy requires some new approaches for managing your money and your life. Here are money-saving strategies.
1. Get a plan. Sit down with your family and formulate a strategy to deal with the expected and unexpected.
2. Conduct a financial fire drill. Don’t wait to be blindsided by unpleasant financial news. Spend a Sunday afternoon conducting a financial fire drill. Brainstorm various worst-case scenarios -- job loss, continued declines in the stock market, loss of health-care insurance -- and how you would handle each of them. For scenarios that seem the most thorny, you can decide to research solutions either online, at the library or by talking with a financial professional.
3. Barter. Bartering is the ancient practice of swapping goods and services rather than paying for them. Check out the swapping going on at Web sites, such as Craigslist.org, or join one of the growing number of online bartering clubs, such as BarterBart.com or uSwapit.com. Recent online swaps include a used laptop computer traded for a cache of home-brewing supplies... a Web site designer trading her services for a week’s stay at a vacation cottage on the Gulf Coast... and two radial tires for a pair of concert tickets.
Many online bartering clubs allow you to trade goods and services for club "credits." Then you can trade the credits -- instead of specific goods or services -- with club members who are offering something you want.
4. Always put off until tomorrow what you could buy today. Here’s where procrastination pays off. Studies have shown that most of us eventually regret more than half of all the discretionary purchases we make. Wait at least one week between the time you are first tempted to buy an item and when you go back to buy it. Odds are good that you’ll never go back to buy it.
5. Grow your own. It’s time to bring back victory gardens, those small vegetable gardens that helped families through the two World Wars. Even a 4'x4' raised-bed garden in the backyard can produce lots of fresh produce in a season. A few dollars’ worth of seeds easily can quadruple your investment. If you don’t have space for a garden, consider growing a pot or two of herbs on the kitchen windowsill and patio-variety tomatoes and cucumbers in containers out on the deck.
More and more cities and towns have community gardens, where you get your own little plot for the season for a nominal fee. To find a garden near you -- or to learn how to start one -- go to http://www.communitygarden.org/.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs allow you to buy shares of the harvest from local farms. CSA shares sometimes can be pricey -- and veggie quantities overwhelming -- so research the options and consider splitting a share with your neighbors. Many CSA farms also offer volunteer opportunities to help with the gardening. For farms near you, go to http://www.localharvest.org/.
6. Ask and you might receive. In tough times such as these, customers gain bargaining muscle when it comes to negotiating better prices on goods and services. A study by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that more than 90% of those who got up the nerve to ask for a discount on purchases (such as electronics, appliances, furniture and even medical expenses) reported receiving a price concession at least once -- and the average saving was $50 or more.
The key is always to be friendly and polite when asking for a better price or other concession. Even if you’re unhappy with the service that you have received or the condition of the merchandise, ask nicely.
Also, go into the store knowing the price that you are willing to pay. Don’t be afraid to say "No, thanks" and look elsewhere if need be.
Jeff Yeager, dubbed "The Ultimate Cheapskate" by The Today Show. Yeager honed his cheapskating skills during 25 years working with underfunded nonprofit agencies. He lives in Accokeek, Maryland, and is author of The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches (Broadway). http://www.theultimatecheapskate.com/.
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NOTE: this is a compilation of information from the various news releases and bulletins