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Are You Feeling Any Economic Pain?

Written by Nickel - 29 Comments

Time for a quick poll. Given all of the press coverage of the slow economy, I’m curious as to how it’s affecting you guys. As for us, we’re pretty fortunate.

We’re not looking to move, I have a very stable job, we also have a good bit of side income to smooth out any rough patches that might come our way. Moreover, we’re not looking to retire anytime soon, so the stock market turmoil is still a bit abstract. But I know that’s not the case for everyone. So…

That brings us to the question. As always, I encourage you to leave comments in addition to responding to the poll.

Are you feeling the pain of the recent economic downturn?
View Results

Note: If the poll doesn’t work properly in the RSS feed, you’ll have to click through. Sorry.

Published on July 11th, 2008 - 29 Comments
Filed under: Economy, Polls

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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29 Responses to “Are You Feeling Any Economic Pain?”

  1. 1
    KC Says:

    Plenty of savings and living well beneath your means for years makes you pretty recession proof – as long as your job(s) are stable. But I can certainly see the effects around me. I’m amazed at how few cars are on the road on weekends. And I’m seeing a lot fewer empty buses on the streets, too.

  2. 2
    jeff Says:

    besides having lost mid 5 figures in the stock market we’re good. the stuff that matters, economically at least, we’re doing fine on. food to eat. roof over my head.

  3. 3
    Randy Peterman Says:

    The thing that kills me is the increase in prices for all of our regular needs – if gas keeps going up I’m going to have to walk to the grocery store uphill both ways in the snow or something :)

  4. 4
    Brandon Says:

    We are moving to a new apartment that is further from work and that required a second car. The new apartment does have an improved quality of life, should be more energy efficient, and will allow us to get rid of a storage unit. Anyway, up to now we haven’t felt much of the higher gas prices, but the more driving that will be required will probably lead to a more serious affect on our finances.

  5. 5
    Jon @capitalistmaven.com Says:

    Sure I’m paying a bit more for gas and plane tickets but my stimulii check covered that difference and then some. I’ve also been biking to work and which has helped me lose some weight. Sure my net worth number in Quicken is down over 15% but all that says to me is buying opportunity and dollar cost averaging. On my blog I’ve pointed out many times that there is not yet a recession and it remains questionable whether we ever will be. Q2 numbers are due out soon, but based on the retail numbers yesterday, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Q2 GDP will still be in positive growth territory.

  6. 6
    Danielle Says:

    I was in the majority of the “Yes but its not too bad” and would like to qualify that.

    My husband and I have had only minor impacts but many of my family members and friends, especially those who live in smaller job markets are finding it hitting them hard.

    I suspect if one of our jobs was lost, or if a major health care expense came up we would be in the “yes and it really hurts” section before too long. Our current emergency savings will only go so far!

  7. 7
    Mark Nelson Says:

    The economy is tough right now and certainly many people are hurting from these times.

    We are investors and we do have investments in real estate. We have rentals along with a couple of homes we are rehabbing. When the mortgage industry straightens out things will go much more smoothly.

    We just have to wait them out.

  8. 8
    Tim Says:

    the only thing suffering is my investments, but i keep buying and buying more. we are also suffering, because we hear about all the economic pain going on and there still haven’t been very many discounts on anything. we bought a new tempurpedic bed, couch, chair, tables, two lcd tv’s all in the past two weeks, and there are no deals that I would have expected from all this wrangling on and on about the bad economy. that is what sucks.

  9. 9
    Ben Says:

    What hurts the most is having to lower savings rate to 20% of income from 24% of income. Inflation sucks.

    Ask again how I feel when I can no longer save anything and am getting deeper and deeper in debt, then I’ll really be panicing.

  10. 10
    jay Says:

    Food prices! That, and my kids’ college tuitions (state schools) are going UP. Good news is lower interest rate on our HELOC, though still makes me nervous to even have an outstanding balance.
    Our investments are generally down, too, but still putting money in the market. Worst investment of the year: Prosper! My loans are looking like a microcosm of what’s been going wrong!

  11. 11
    Heather Says:

    Yes, we’re feeling economic pain, but not directly because of the economy! Because of bad timing – my husband was in an accident, injured his knee, had surgery and has been out of work for 4 months. His old job of car salesman puts too much stress on his knee, so he is looking for something else – though I bet no one is selling many cars these days. The only part the economy is playing in our situation is how difficult it suddenly is to find a job.

  12. 12
    Aryn Says:

    It’s not so much “pain” as “annoyance.” Due to the rising gas prices, our attempts to snowball our debt aren’t working. Everytime we pay off a debt, the higher food, gas, and energy costs eat up the gains. We’re still paying down about $2K a month, but I’d hoped it would be $2200 by now.

  13. 13
    Jennson Says:

    I just bought a house, so I am feeling really house poor right now. the fact that the financial sector is dropping like a stone is not helping at all. I’m wondering how the NY Metro area will fare in the next six months as far as the job market is concerned.

  14. 14
    Lane Says:

    Media Hype in my opinion. Yes gas prices are up and as a result everything else but I don’t believe the recession talk. I really feel the gas costs as I drive a 14 year old pickup and can not afford to upgrade to something more fuel efficient. But recession? Nope.

    http://www.townhall.com/column.....ments=true

  15. 15
    EA Says:

    I just switched jobs so I have extra cash coming in. In my case the extra cash covers the increase in gas and grocery items with some left over, so I’m feeling good. I suspect when you ask an individual it will come down to their job, both stability wise and how much they earn vs spend.

  16. 16
    RGS Says:

    We’re not feeling things to any great extent, but we live very conservatively. We have cut way back on travel which isn’t affecting us much really – we just do more locally. To combat rising food prices, we’re buying as much as possible from local farms and raising our own food. So far, most of the small local farmers are being conservative in their price increases. Home heating costs will be an issue come winter since our heater uses oil; in anticipation of that, we’re looking at alternatives like a multi-fuel stove. My employment is pretty recession proof, so no worries there. I do worry about the overall effects of another big spike in energy costs on society and have zero confidence in current or near future governments to handle the situation.

  17. 17
    Richard Says:

    I just started my first full time job in August, and am switching to a higher paid job next week.

    While we are paying more for things, the additional costs are more than offset by the huge increase of income that we have!

    My new job has a $59k/year salary. During college if I made $10k in a year I was doing pretty well.

  18. 18
    kitty Says:

    Does loosing 5 digits on the stock market counts like feeling pain or not? This is in spite of having 1/3 of my assets in stable value (401K) and CDs (non-retirement).

    Other than that I am OK i.e. I don’t need to make any changes in my lifestyle – as long as I have my low 6-digit salary, but my net worth is less than it was a few months ago. I do drive less – I guess because I got quite a bit cheaper recently – I car pool and work from home some days, so I spend considerably less on gas now in spite of higher price. Still plan to go on a trans-atlantic cruise in December.

  19. 19
    deepali Says:

    My only pain is watching the slide in my retirement accounts…

  20. 20
    JD Says:

    Not feeling any pain in that sense yet, I have a good high-paying job and a lot of savings and live way under my means. But I’ve lost a ton in the stock market over the past several months. Around $300k so far and know I am not bullsh!tting. Obviously my portfolio is much bigger than the average but still can’t believe how much I’ve lost. And who knows if it is over. I was actually doing well for a while and was avoiding most of the market drop over the past year but I started investing in what I thought were many overly beaten down stocks about two months ago and many of them are half the value now. But at the end of the day I am only 30 so have many years of work and market cycles still ahead of me. I would really love to see oil come down soon and for the financial markets to stabilize though.

  21. 21
    Jack Says:

    I’m definitely feeling the pain. I recently graduated college, have a poor-paying temp job with a long commute. I’m looking for a permanent job, but there really doesn’t seem to be a lot out there right now. The job market is certainly a lot worse than last year (especially for low experience employees). I will say I’m glad to at least have my temp job, for now.

  22. 22
    mz Says:

    It’s not the end of the world (yet), but I am feeling some pain – especially real estate costs, gas prices, and car insurance costs.

    I don’t understand how real estate PRICES are going down, but the COSTS are going up (rent keeps going higher + interest rates are going higher for mortgages), even though the federal reserve is cutting.

  23. 23
    Brian Says:

    I voted “No, we’re pretty buffered” because my fiance and I have been relatively unaffected thus far (key phrase being “thus far”). Our fledgling retirement portfolios have held their values (not really going up, but definitely not dropping like some of the previous commenters) and our gas and food budgets have not changed. We have become more efficient trip/meal planners and don’t go out of town quite as often, but that’s not really painful for us. We’re still saving at a strong clip and our jobs (she’s a nurse, I’m kind of in pharma) are not directly economy-dependent, if that makes sense. Overall, we are a very blessed couple.

    Also, housing prices here in Kansas City have been pretty unaffected by the “real estate crunch”. We are saving for our first house and I was hoping to see a drop, but it just hasn’t happened.

  24. 24
    SingleGuyMoney Says:

    Besides losses in the stock market, I’m doing ok. My cash position is increasing and my debt is decreasing so overall things are going ok.

  25. 25
    Stephen Says:

    I graduated from college a year ago. Aside from jobs being sparse for those of us with low experience, I’m doing ok.
    Been saving a lot, and am almost debt free. I don’t have any real investments yet, and with the way the market has been fairing, I’m ok with waiting for awhile.

  26. 26
    FlatGreg Says:

    The pain I’ve felt is only when I look at my investments, 401k, roth IRA, etc and see how much they’ve been dropping. Day to day things are fine.

  27. 27
    Jesse Says:

    This is a great poll. We feel very unaffected at the moment. The state we’re in (Utah) is really on a tear, with an employment rate that’s 1/3 of the US, and an economic growth rate putting us at the top. It seems people are doing better than ever — despite gas prices and the stock market.

  28. 28
    My Journey From Debt Says:

    I am feeling economic pain, but other than gas prices, I don’t think it really has much to do with the economy but more just my own bad choices.

  29. 29
    Rachel Rose Says:

    Assuming that you are a young newlywed with a “beginner’s home” mortgage, how might I begin trying to plan for babies? I thought I did the responsible thing—I got married first (at age 26) and got a home first (a reasonable one!). I would really like to be home at least part-time when I do have a child. Any advice for the likes of me out there? Please feel free to help calm me down :)

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