Better Off Now Than Four Years Ago?

I think so, and here’s a big reason why:

Consumer credit card debt is down an astonishing 23.7%.

None of this is being widely reported, but I saw this in The Financial Times a couple days ago. And nobody’s making a big deal of it.

Now in case you don’t get the impact of this, run through your debts in your mind right now. Take a moment to think of your biggest, hairiest, ugliest credit liability.

Now take 1/4 of it away. Take your breath away? Imagine that for a country of 300 million people. Yes, we’re actually being fiscally responsible as a country.

Now for the second part of our thought:

Companies are really flush with cash right now. Really, really, really flush. Productivity is up a tick or so, which indicates that people have settled into jobs and haven’t moved around much, plus they’re just gritting their collective teeth and doing all the extra work that the extra person that HR hasn’t hired yet is supposed to be doing. Hiring hasn’t taken place for months, and there are jobs to do; lots of potential has built up.

My call on it is that companies are waiting until after the election to fill jobs and to spend money on upgrading infrastructure and personnel.

One other thing: Up until a couple years ago, I’d been afraid to open my 401K quarterly status envelope. A lot of that dread has disappeared due to the total finally climbing past where it used to be.

So, yeah, I think we ARE better off.


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