October 18, 2008

Economies of Understanding

I know little to nothing about the stock market or global finances for the matter. I don't even balance my own checkbook. So to say I understand the current financial crisis would be a lie. I do not. However, I listen to NPR all day, every day at work, so in the last few weeks when the stock market has taken a nose dive I knew that people were afraid. I felt I too should probably be afraid, but I didn't know why. I had no idea how bad the market it was, how it had gotten so bad or how much worse it could get.

This crisis put me in a panic but I was especially panicked because I didn't know why I should be panicked. It was hard to tell how this financial crisis could impact me personally. I am making the highest salary I have ever made and have more in savings than I ever have. Sure I have some money in my 401K but I consider that a long term investment, so I'm not worried that it's currently in pretty poor shape. Then I saw this article on the Chicago Tribune's Web site. Thankfully, I do not work at either of those firms, but I see in a very real way how I could be effected by this economic fallout. Not to mention, I'll be paying back that $700 billion dollar loan in one way or another.By the way, you're welcome Uncle Sam.

I knew I was angry and frustrated by the financial crisis, but I still didn't know why or if I even had a right to feel the way I feel. I once again turned to NPR and in particular a program called This American Life, produced here in Chicago. It had run two very informative programs about the financial crisis. I listed to both, the first titled "The Giant Pool of Money" produced in May when the worst of this mess was the housing bubble and subprime mortgages. Knowing the public wanted more information, This American Life followed up with a show a few weeks ago with a program appropriately named "Another Frightening Show About the Economy." I now feel more informed then I ever have before. Each show is an hour long, but it's two hours worth your time if you're confused. I recommend listening to each at least one time. This is honestly some of the best reporting I have heard in a long time.

1 comment:

kelsalynn said...

It's definitely crazy, but the worst thing you or anyone else can do is act irrationally. Sit tight w/ your 401K, do not pull out your money. Too many people right now are letting their fear dictate their financial decisions and that's not wise.

Even my company is putting on a hiring freeze for the first time ever and eliminated overtime pay for all hourly employees. We're not talking layoffs, thank God, but you never know. It really is crazy how hurt all companies are right now. It's sad. I think you're an amazing woman for educating yourself and being mindful of what's happening around you. Good for you Ames! Now if I could only follow your lead...