I'm more excited about this year than I've been in several years! As our economy makes strides to stablize, I see so many positive signs and changes in people, and how they have adjusted to economic hard times. Here are the top five changes I see in my practice, in my clients and in my community, as people have made changes in response to the challenges we've all faced:
1. Many people have changed their "evil" ways and have stopped frivolous, deficit spending and started saving money. This seems so simple, but when the collective mindset has been "I must have every gadget I possibly want right now" to "I must find a healthy balance between enjoying my life right now and also being responsible with my future" something good has happened!
2. The former common wisdom of "I don't need to save for retirement because all this equity in my house will BE my retirement" has exploded. People now finally understand that a house is something you buy to live in, that you can comfortably afford, and it is not an ancillary ATM card that I can finance a lifestyle above my means. This real estate change is permanent: houses are what we buy to live in, not speculate with.
3. People are figuring out that their "jobbie" job may not be there next week, or next month, and entrepreneurism is at an all time high. The age of "work for 30 years for a company and you will be rewarded with a gold watch and a pension" has been gone for decades. What a great thing that we can start a little business in America, and pursue it vigorously!! It requires great things of us: learning new skills, working hard. But many people are figuring out that if they work as hard for themselves as they have been willing to work for someone else...great things can happen!
4. We can save ourselves. We can get help to repair and rebuild our nest egg, we can start a business, and we can get involved in our community. I believe great change can happen right in our neighborhoods...and in our communities. If each one of us donated just a few hours a month giving back...many of our foundational issues could be solved. I teach two free classes each month: one for women facing divorce, and one in simple financial literacy. It's a way to give back in the hopes it can help lift someone else up. Another way I like to contribute is to donate packets of personal hygiene items: soap, toothpaste, skin cream to our local churches and homeless shelters. This is a way my "hobby" business can give back too. What are some things you can think of that you could do right in your community?
5. We can realize we have great resources that we've gathered along life's journey and we can learn. We can learn a new skill, a new business idea, and new behaviors. This is the best news of all in 2011...we humans are infinitely capable, resourceful and courageous...and we can look beyond ourselves into the world around us to see what we are really here for: find the purpose of our life and offer it selflessly and endlessly to those we come in contact with.
Please help us by posting your ideas here for giving back in your community...someone else might see your idea and say: I can do that! Ready...set....GO: