Rebooting America

There is something oddly poetic about launching this blog in the same week that General Motors filed for bankruptcy . Who would have thought that this 100 year-old iconic American company would not only be dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average but also face the ultimate restructuring – Chapter 11? Having grown up in Columbus, IN (former headquarters of two Fortune 500 suppliers to the automakers) this news hits close to home for me. But even if the auto industry seems as relevant to your life as getting your little toe shortened to fit into pointy stillettos… there are some powerful lessons to take away from this news.

How do General Motors’ woes relate to your life?

By all accounts, a bloated cost structure and a reluctance to change with the times led to General Motors’ downfall. Turns out corporations weren’t the only ones with bloated cost structures and static belief systems. From 1988 to 2008 the amount of “revolving debt” (fancy-schmancy speak for what essentially amounts to credit card and other consumer debt) in this country increased from roughly $200 billion to $1 trillion. That’s an increase of FIVE TIMES. Think what your body would look like if you weighed five times more today than you did at the end of 1988! To add insult to injury, our collective consumptive belief system seems stuck on the “more, bigger, faster” channel with everything from our homes to our list of “needs” (as opposed to ‘wants”) getting larger and larger.

We’re in the midst of one of those rare and powerful times – a chance to reboot, reset, and reinvigorate our country. From a human perspective it appears to be kicking in already. A recent study by American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group reports that more than three-quarters of Americans are “taking pride” in their new found more mindful shopping habits. Even more exciting, the study results showed that women in particular are experiencing an increase in self-esteem from making well-thought out and informed buying decisions.

The goal of this blog will be to help readers – and female readers in particular – take charge of their financial life. Just as getting on top of your physical health can be approached from a variety of directions (diet, exercise, mental stimulation, etc.) so too can the process of getting on top of your personal finances. In this blog I’ll attack the subject from a variety of angles – talking about how current events relate to your financial life (“News You Can Use”), highlighting recent facts and figures that make you say hmmm (“Shocking Statistics”), and answering your personal finance questions (“You Asked, I Answered”). While the subject of this blog will be money – the real goal will be to help you “Own Your Life.” For when your personal finances are under control, money becomes an enabler to help you create the life that makes your heart sing. Now that’s something worth rebooting for.

2 Replies to “Rebooting America”

  1. It’s a great time for some common sense advice – glad you’re dispensing it. All of us who used to stare, gaping, at parents or grandparents who reused aluminum foil, washed plastic bags and used them over and over are now remembering and nodding. “Ah, now I get it.”
    I wonder what the generation coming of age in this recession will take from it.

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