Living in historic times...

By
Real Estate Agent with Real Estate One

"History never looks like history when you're living through it." (John Gardner), from the Jack's Winning Words Blog. We are certainly living in historic times right now. We have just lived through "the great recession" - the worst recession in America since the Great Depression. In fact, we're still living through the tail end of this recession.

I suspect that years from now we'll be telling stories to our grandchildren that will have become slightly exaggerated about this time in our history - stories about how bad the stock market was or how much value our homes lost and how much unemployment there was. Hopefully we will be telling those tales while enjoying better times. One thing that I've opined here about a couple of times is my opinion that we will be telling those stories in an American context that was fundamentally changed by going through this great recession.

I have called what I see coming the "reset economy" - a downsized economy where people have less expectation of accumulating great wealth or lots of possessions. The current younger generations were already somewhat in that mode, especially the Gen-Yers who exited college into a very tough job market and have already downsized their expectations. The Boomers and Gen-X crowd finally had it shoved in their faces by this recession. Many in the Boomer generation got the rude awakening that their sacrosanct pension plans were, in fact, up for review and revision and could not be counted upon. Gen-Xers finally were stopped by the recession in their pursuit of "I want everything and I want it now".

The American dream of home ownership took a bit of a beating, too; although it was perhaps more of a reset back to reality. Would be homeowners must now be much more realistic about what they can afford and plan better for what happens if one or both get laid off or a reduction in work hours. The golden cows - GM, Ford and Chrysler - upon which so many suckled for so long have stopped giving so generously and will certainly emerge from this mess as regular companies and not the worker's nirvana's that they were thought to be in the past. For many that means that the era of the McMansion is over and qualities other than size will start to matter more in a choice of a new home(maybe even affordability).

There is probably great value in the hard lessons of this recession, if only people take them to heart and actually change their future behavior. If we can look back and say, "Yeah, those were the years when I learned to live within my means", or "It was back then that I decided I needed to save for my retirement" or any number of other lessons that should come out of this mess; then it will have had some positive impact upon the country and the American people. If we just go, "Whew, I'm glad that's over, now let's get back to shopping until we drop", then we will have lost an opportunity to learn and are destined to repeat history.

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 Norm Werner

Real Estate One

 

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Rainmaker
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Ellen Crawford
Prudential PenFed Realty - Fairfax, VA
Virginia & Maryland Real Estate

Great post. Historically we also have to wait and see. The question remains how long will this last?  Are we really in the tail end of the recession or are we in the eye of the storm? 

Sep 27, 2009 08:29 AM #1
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Rainmaker
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Norm Werner

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