I’m about to graduate from college, and I’m following your plan and trying to focus on my future financial situation. Is the current down economy a cyclical thing and just part of life?
It is. There are always cycles in the economy. I know you hear all this talk about this is the worst recession since the Great Depression, but that’s a bunch of bull. It was worse in 1982, when the Jimmy Carter era came to a close. We had double-digit inflation, double-digit unemployment and home interest rates were at 17 percent.
The current situation has been kind of long and boring. Things haven’t really rebounded quickly. Instead, they’ve just kind of wallowed around and crawled along. There are a lot of theories as to why it’s happened this way, but the truth is it’s a part of life. Just like you have good and bad times in your personal life, there will always be good and bad times in your financial life. That’s why you need a solid, common-sense financial philosophy that works when things are up and when things are down. The principles I teach about not having debt and investing conservatively over the long haul work every time.
Right now, I’m tempted to invest like a wild man and put every dollar I can find into investments, because everything is on sale. It’s a great time to buy real estate and put money into mutual funds. The best time was about a year and a half ago, but the deals are still there.
Just keep investing and working your plan. The idea that you’re graduating at bad time and never going to have a good life is just plain wrong. There’s always some good and some bad out there, and the cycles will always come and go.
My husband and I are debt-free, and we have $100,000 saved. We like to give, rather than loan, money to family members if they’re having financial problems. Can you give us some advice on how to establish giving guidelines?