Few Hoosiers read the financial pages because the information presented seems complex, pessimistic, or occasionally too optimistic. The economy has struggled since 2008 and investors have ridden a roller coaster of expectations. We’re accustomed to our retirement accounts being battered by forces as diverse as riots in Greece, tsunamis in Japan, and the action or inaction of our own Congress.
Entering our fifth year of this economic cycle, it’s tempting to imagine that it will all soon be behind us, but many signs demonstrate that normalcy is not on the immediate horizon. Consider the following facts from just one day’s (March 1, 2013) collection of news releases.
The Institute for Supply Management’s February survey shows that manufacturing in the U.S. was up more than expected, but prices manufacturers must pay for raw materials are rising sharply, a sure sign of inflationary pressure.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, after five straight years of American households reducing debt, borrowing is again on the increase. Some would argue that the borrowing reflects a renewed confidence resulting from the stock market’s near record high. The borrowing, however, is likely related to the fact that during January the U.S. household income dropped 4.0%, the greatest one month decline ever recorded. Ever!
A drop in household income when combined with increased borrowing dictates that Americans are saving less. In fact the individual saving rate fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession began. Construction spending was expected to increase but instead has nose-dived.
One in every nine student loans outstanding is now in default. These federally guaranteed loans total nearly $1 trillion.
What does all of this mean for Hoosiers? Simply this, be increasingly cautious.
At the very least, increase your rate of savings even if it means you must cut back on those items you’d really like to have. Saving is always better than borrowing. Saving for college, retirement, and future health care expenses are a must.
If you haven’t already done so, consider refinancing your home mortgage. If inflation occurs, as most predict it will in the near future, you’ll be able to pay off that debt with more available dollars.
We’re far from being out of the financial woods so remain cautious despite occasional brief stories of good economic news. For generations residents of Indiana have bragged of their “Hoosier common sense.” Hoping for the best but planning for the worst reflects that kind of thinking.
Indiana State Treasurer
Our View: Seizure of AP phone records insult to independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
Barada: 50 years ago and counting
My, does time fly! On June 22 next month, the Rushville High School Class of 1963 will celebrate its 50th anniversary. To be honest, 1963 doesn’t sound all that long ago, until one considers that, when we graduated in June 1963, the Class of 1913 was celebrating its 50th anniversary! Now, 1913 seemed like a long time ago when I was just 17 years old. The year 1913 was four years before the United States entered World War One.
Barada: Local library should be a county facility
A noble effort is underway to renovate and expand the Rushville Public Library. It will not be an easy task. What will help, in my opinion, will be finally making the public library a county library.
Ziemke: Back home again in Batesville
Following the hustle and bustle of Indianapolis, I must say that it has been nice to be home this past week. Session is an exciting process to be a part of, but for now, I am just going to enjoy the fact that I can be at my restaurant more often to talk to the folks I represent at the Statehouse.
Mauzy: Weddings paint a larger picture of life
The marriage of my oldest daughter was this past weekend. With great fortune, weather remained wonderful for the outside venue. More than a stroke of good luck concerning the weather, the calm and positive energies of everyone in attendance would have overcome any adversity.
Messer: Have we learned the lessons of 9/11?
September 11 was a devastating wake up call for every American. The events of that terrible day taught us that we are at war with violent Islamist extremists. If we let them, these jihadists are committed to exploiting our generosity and legal protections to further their murderous mania. The 9/11 Commission which investigated that tragedy concluded warning signs were everywhere, noting that “the system was blinking red.”
Barada: 150th anniversary of the American Civil War beckons travellers this summer
Since we’re in the middle of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War; and based on the presumption that you’re interested in it at all, it’s just about time to start planning a trip to one of the two sites that marked the turning point in that conflict – Gettysburg, Pa., and Vicksburg, Miss.
Zeta Tau Run for the Arts in Milroy
ZThe Zeta Taus would like to invite the community to join them in several activities in and around Milroy on Saturday, May 11. The annual Run for the Arts begins at 7:30 a.m. for runners and 8 a.m. for walkers. This event starts and ends at Milroy United Methodist Church parking lot. The cost to participate is $15 for adults and $10 for children. In
Ward: Furnishing Rushville
I have fond memories of Rushville when it had three lumber/coal yards and four railroads went through town. The city owned the electric utility and the phone company was user-owned and operated.
Wolfsie: Long day’s journey
I have never aerated my lawn. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written the word “aerated” before. If I did I am sure I misspelled it. I think I accidentally went from liquefy to aerate while making a strawberry shake in our blender. That’s the extent of my experience. I guess I aerate my tire when it is flat, but I don’t think that word works with a 7-year-old car. If you own a 2013 Lexus, you aerate. Otherwise, you just put air in your tire.
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