"This newfound commitment to frugality was illustrated this past week when the nation's biggest payment-card companies said they aren't seeing evidence consumers are putting their gasoline savings toward discretionary ilems like travel, home renovations and electronics." - Robin Sidel and Nick Timiraos, "Savings at the Pump Are Staying in Wallets," in The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2015. Here is the article.
We feared - and it was realistic - that we would become homeless. Former white-collar acquaintances, such as lawyers, were living out their cars.
On Abovethelaw.com, former practicing attorney now freelance document reviewer, Alex Rich, chronicled that tragic downward scenario of former colleagues. (The column appears every Wednesdays.)
Now we are a nation of savers. As the best-seller "The Power of Habit" documents, once a behavior is acquired, it is difficult to re-route the circuits in the brain to not do all that. That's exactly why 28-day inpatient rehabs are doing such brisk business. We with bad habits get it that we need help exiting such destructive patterns.
But a nation can't go into rehab. What commercial enterprises can do is tap into the best talent in marketing and public relations. Needed is to re-brand spending as investing. Investing is the platform on which capitalism is built.
Much of that will have to focus on spending money as an investment in ourselves.
Yes, the meme will position and package travel as making the self a more flexible professional. Experience other cultures and the self will start approaching business problems out-of-the-box. The self as lean startup.
Invest in a new career wardrobe. Style is back. And the world judges us by the brands we wear. A designer watch is a prime investment in personal branding.
One more investment is in the American Dream of owning land. Thomas Jefferson loved his property. Why continue to have to suck up the exhaust from those in the apartment next door and comply with landlord rules? Just purchase a few acres in the Southwest and put a trailer in the middle. You bet, as they say in New Hampshire: Live free or die. Eventually, invest in building a new house on that land.
The conventional wisdom is that it takes 21 days to break a habit. The money left in our checking accounts from lower gas prices ($1.75 a gallon, Tucson, Arizona) will be recycled into the U.S. economy. Two chickens in every pot. And, see you in Barcelona, Spain.