It’s hard to know who to believe these days. The government says one thing, but the grocery store says another. Rising balances on the credit cards and smaller balances in the bank account speak volumes. I’d like to believe the old guys are being wiser and more conservative than the youngers when it comes to spending, but that ain’t necessarily so. We’ve lived at a pretty good clip in recent years. Pulling back is tough.
We know the basics cost more. We know we need to watch more closely as to what we want and what we need, but for many youngers, I’m still seeing lines at the five dollar coffee shops. I saw where a cinnamon roll at a little Texas coffee shop was also five dollars. I had just left the house holding my fifty cent honey bun and diet DP anticipating later in the day a two dollar junior burger with all the veggies from Burger King with the likelihood of a free drink from the fridge provided me by a customer from their garage.
I’ve always understood it ain’t how much you make; it’s how much you get to keep. More Americans are finding themselves relying more on the plastic and less on the cash. It may get a little dicey as the rising interest rate on credit cards make it difficult to pay even the minimum payment. I regularly remind you that there ain’t no free money. Constant living on credit is gonna finally hit a wall, especially as interest rates climb and minimum payments rise.
The younger folks are feeling it as they try to pay for that nice house and newer SUV. Yet, us older folks are pretty much stuck with stagnant income shrinking in buying power. Most of us have been able to pay off the home and acquire a decent vehicle or two. We kinda dread the thought of having to buy a newer car or replace the AC. If we can avoid any major financial disasters for a while and maybe have a small miracle thrown in, we might make it to the cemetery without having to stop off at the poorhouse.
We know we’re a spoiled people and should be spanked for griping or complaining. We’ve gotten used to such a generally good quality of life, far better than just about any other people or country in the world. I’ve frequently said that going up is easy; coming down not so much.
I think times are about to get interesting. Most of us are losing ground as expenses climb and income shrinks in value. The Psalmist said in 37:25, “Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Us believers know this is true because He said so, but us clay-footed mortals find it a whole lot easier enjoying the good life than cutting back. You might need to nudge me every once in a while reminding me what still matters in life.
By Dr. Juan Harrison