Marketplace Financial Advisor
Personal Growth from Recession
T Tracy Atwood
By Tracy Atwood, CFP®, RFC®
hrough great challenges come opportunities for personal growth. Yes, you can grow personally, even now, during recession. Then when the recovery and ultimately the expansion come, you will be ready for even greater personal growth. This article will share some ways to help you move forward when others are sitting around licking their wounds. Looking at this period of time, I tend to see many underlying positives that will ultimately have a great impact on our future. First of all what is a recession? There are various definitions, even among economists. Technically a recession is a contracting economy where two or more successive quarters that see a decline of gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is basically a measure of our country’s overall performance. When we look at this performance, are we doing better or worse than the preceding quarter? Recession “indicators” are less consumer spending, expanding inventories and less demand for labor. The impact of this is loss of jobs and hardship on families. It is a natural part of the economic cycle that eventually leads to recovery and then expansion. As we emerge from recession, there are several actions we can take that lead us both personally and collectively into a “healthier” economic expansion. So what can be positive about a struggling economy, loss of jobs and family hardship? Personal growth and creativity! As a society, we’ve become much more creative with our budgets and spending, how we support ourselves, as well as how we entertain with family and friends. Maybe you’ve had to form a budget for the first time, but just the rise in consciousness alone with regard to spending is huge. We’re less wasteful. This, in turn, affects the next generation, with it carrying forward new spending habits. With higher unemployment, people are considering different ways of supporting themselves, looking within for untapped talent and abilities. Many people are starting their own businesses. Since a “real job” is harder to find, entrepreneurialism is on the rise with many new small businesses popping up. When it comes to entertaining our family, we are using more creative outlets. The “Big Trip” may not be in the budget. So, staying close and doing simple things like a family picnic are emerging again. Families have been gathering around the dinner table versus going out to eat, as well as watching a video together versus heading out to the movie theater. We’ve pulled out the old board games instead of shuttling kids to the video store. The benefit is more quality time with family and friends. Of course that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped playing Rock Band either, since a Wii party at home with friends and family is just as fun, maybe more, as a night on the town. Slowing the pace down a little and truly engaging with family and friends is a positive effect that has emerged from recession, one that will hopefully continue as our economy begins to expand once more. These are just a few of the benefits I see coming from this recession that make me so enthused about our future. The more we’ve had a chance to step back and observe the important things in our lives, the more perspective we have. With that perspective we grow personally and create. With that growth and creation, we expand as individuals... and hence, a new paradigm is created as we experience economic recovery and then expansion.
Tracy Atwood is a financial advisor with Retirement Investment Advisors, which has been recognized over 30 times in national publications as one of the top, fee-only investment advisory firms in the nation. This article was published in Southwestern Publishing’s October 2009 issues and is reproduced with permission from the publisher. © 2009 Southwestern Publishing