Current State of Affairs

Anyone watching the news and/or the stock market now will naturally be nervous (if not, I would be somewhat suspicious). I think the real ‘watermarks’, however, are the levels of our individual businesses: for some, not too bad; for others, not so much. Our work load has been up a little, due I believe, as I’ve stated elsewhere, to our wide diversity of products as well as our good reputation with both new and repeat clients. But there is a cup of ‘improved economy’ mixed in the batter as well. Recent dramatic drops in the price of crude oil has driven fuel prices down by as much as $1.00 per gallon, and if a bad winter does not wipe out those gains by the end of December, consumer discretionary spending should be up. This is where we get the most nervous. Is it too good to be true? Some economic pundits are forecasting another market correction and suggesting it could be even worse than the last one, but economic forecasting of late has proven to be even more art than science than the medical profession, so who knows? The housing market seems to have improved despite evidence that there are still tens of thousands of foreclosed homes waiting to be loosed on the public by financial institutions that continue to be glutted with them. Where does that leave us?

Honestly? Right where most of us live anyway. My life hasn’t been so much worse because of the ‘Great Recession’ or so much better as a result of the market improvement. Quite frankly, my business has done a little better than just survive these past four years but not so much as to make my life substantially different. And I have no illusions that the next four years will be much different. So we do what we always do: we watch our nickels and dimes, eat out occasionally, and try to make wise decisions about where we invest what discretionary funds we have. I would think that sound advice for all of us. After all, in most cases my state of affairs is of my own making. How about you?

Andy Shirley

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