• The stock market at large has risen approximately 33% from it’s lows last year, fueling feelings of cautious optimism amongst market participants.  However, over the past few months bonds, commodi­ties and stock markets seem to be stuck in a trading range that none can budge.

    So why the sudden freeze?

    The short answer: no one really knows how much recovery has actually happened.  Sure, we’ve gone through the majority of one stimulus package, and that provided a nice boost.  But unemployment con­tinues to creep towards the psychologically significant 10% mark.  Existing home sales have boasted two consecutive months of gains, but the median home price in the country continues to slowly de­cline.  For every down number, there is an up number, and vice versa.  Tons of mixed messages.

    But, outside of all the hoopla of the markets and their endless barrage of facts and statistics, I would like to humbly propose two questions to you:

    1) Are YOU spending money like you used to?

    2) Do YOU feel comfortable enough with your income and your assets that you are willing to bring more risk into your financial life?

    I didn’t think so.

    And that implies to me that it’s back to basics for the vast majority.  Pragmatic savings plans.  Con­tinuing education to keep yourself job-worthy no matter how many jobs are left.  People buying homes to live in, not to flip for a quick profit.  Multiple jobs for some people.  Hard, simple work.  Not the glamorous, champagne-fueled, securitized and repackaged way to make millions overnight on the backs of the innocent.  Just hard, simple work.  It’s what built this fine country and it is what will bring us back from the brink of economic ruin.

    Now is the time for all of us to re-evaluate our goals and re-organize our finances.  The more personal responsibility, the better.  For many, the American Dream still remains owning your very own piece of America.  I would love to tell you that homeownership is the can’t-lose, make-money-hand-over-fist-just-for-sitting-there style of investment that it used to be.

    But it’s not.

    It is, however, a historically stable and universally recognized asset and is still one of the central keys to building long-term wealth.  And if you would like to see just how affordable and attainable home­ownership really is, I would love the chance to talk to you about it.

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