Winter comes as a shock to me every year. Often I have dreamed of living in Hawaii where the seasons change from good to better and the tropical bliss is taken for granted. Paradise is what they call it and it is a well deserved name. But, I am in the states where the seasons change and just when my body adjusts to the heat it becomes cold and rainy again. I don't know why this should continually surprise me except that I am just so anti-winter that each time one is over I attempt to put it out of my mind forever. I almost convince myself that I can throw away all my sweaters and the temperature drops 20 degrees and I have to dig in the back of my closet.
I KNOW! That just sounds so silly! But in honesty that is how my mind works though admitting it can easily cause others to think me nuts.
Yet this is how so many approach their finances. When they find themselves in the fall and winter of a financial season they moan and groan and are totally unprepared. They struggle through the downturn without preparation longing for better days to come. Often they seek assistance from others and most recently the government. People show up in the millions wanting some sort of subsidy, some sort of relief, and some sort of solution. All the money they have gained in the earning and income seasons has been spent and none remains.
Many get angry. Many get desperate. Many loose hope. The generosity of others is pressed to the limit as everyone struggles though the season.
Then a little sunshine is seen measured in economic indicators. Unemployment levels show improvement, foreclosure rates subside, and hope returns. People start spending again. Soon forgotten are the days of cold and misery as we bask in the warmth of better days. We celebrate with extravagance and spend as if we are making up for lost time. We lavish treats for the entire family and generosity to others. Waste is not so bad because we have more than we need. Risk is seen as a good thing as we pour money into the stock market hoping for a better return. We leverage our buying power through debt expecting the good days to roll on forever.
There is not a cloud in the sky to damper our mood... at least until the season changes.