When times are as bad as they are now, it helps to share your troubles with others, to know that you are not alone, we are all in this together. I invite WNI readers to share their stories. Send your experience to vidya at waternoice.com and I will publish it without naming names. Here is mine.
Silicon Valley has been insulated from the bursting of the financial and home bubble for the longest time, but the depression is inevitably creeping in here too. Our little family went from one paycheck to no paycheck and the price of our home has dropped by 30%.( It maybe more but there is only one way to find out.)
Yet we are one of the few lucky ones. We have a comfortable nest egg. Our kids are in public school and the mortgage is paid off. And like most Indian Americans, we have a fallback option..going back to India, where there is no stigma in returning to your parents’ house and using ailing and aging parents as an excuse for the move. ( Before you panic Mom, we’re not going to be needing that guest room ..just yet!!)
I shudder to think of the millions of Americans who are one illness away from bankruptcy and one monthly payment away from foreclosure. The gloomy jobs numbers and the falling Dow have completed a process started by eight years of administrative bungling by the Bush administration – the erosion of our national confidence. The one silver lining is the seriousness of the current administration in tackling the economic crisis and its holistic approach to the depression. On one hand, homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage are getting a little bit of relief in the form of renegotiated rates. On the other, schools preparing for serious cuts in staffing due to shrinking budgets can see a ray of hope on the horizon in the form of increased allocations for education.
As for us, we hope to ride out the recession in relative comfort. Fancy vacations may be off the list, but the Bay Area has plenty of local destinations reachable by car. Major home renovations are on hold, but little repairs will continue – the handyman, like the beautician, provides services that can be classified as non-essential by customers feeling the pinch; their incomes tend to crash in bad times and I want to do my bit in supporting these endangered service providers as long as I can.
The kids are in for valuable character lessons – don’t take affluence for granted and yes, we absolutely cannot afford that new toy. If you think your life sucks because you can’t download that latest hit on iTunes, there are kids down the street who have recently become homeless. The recession is full of teaching moments for those of us who are not so badly off and if there’s one thing I want the kids to learn, it is that this is the moment to reach out and help. I plan to look around for volunteer opportunies for myself and the older kid.
Sitting in my comfortable home on a warm California day, it would not be fair to say that we are experiencing the worst of this economic meltdown but the reality that millions of my fellow citizens are experiencing is coming a bit closer.
What’s your recession story?