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Getting on with Our Lives

Who would grow up in any other part of the country thinking that what they really want in life is to move to Bismarck, North Dakota? Thanks to a booming oil business fueling the local economy, more than 16,000 jobs were available in North Dakota this fall, paying substantial salaries to attract workers. And that’s just in the oil business. Everyone from truck drivers to fast food servers could get jobs paying $15-plus an hour throughout the western part of the state.

As a result, unemployed Americans flocked to North Dakota in droves – so much so that a new airplane hangar had to be built in Bismarck to accommodate the flight demand. Housing became scarce, leading to a 6% increase in residential home prices while the rest of the country continued its free fall. That’s for those lucky enough to find housing – many people who found jobs camped out in the local Wal-Mart parking lots. Now there’s a lifestyle change you don’t see very often: Cash-rich and homeless.

[CLICK HERE to read the “Unemployed Flock to North Dakota; What’s Their Secret?” at ABNnews.com; October 19, 2011.]

[CLICK HERE to read the “Double your salary in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota;” at CNNmoney.com; October 20, 2011.]

Second Careers
By the time the millenium rolled around, many baby boomers thought they were all set. Then we experienced two recessions in a 10-year period, and that set many people backward on their road to prosperity or, at very least, a comfortable retirement. Due to the recent economic “correction”, nearly one in three 55+ year-old participants in an AARP study said they were currently unemployed or had been laid off in the three years of the study. Thirty-three percent planned to delay retirement.1

It’s not easy to find a job once you’re over age 50. However, sometimes adversity can bring out the best in people. Whether out of financial need or a determination not to finish one’s career with a layoff, many seniors in the US started up their own business in the midst of the recession in order to reboot their retirement resources (and dreams).

[CLICK HERE to read stories about late career entrepreneurs: “Seniors mind their business” at CNNmoney.com; December 16, 2011.]

Marriage and Children
Pew Research recently published findings that the number of new marriages in the US declined by 5% between 2009 and 2010 – a sharp one-year drop. Disinterest in marriage may not simply be an outcome of the poor economy, since marriage has been on the decline since the 1960s, but as fewer young adults are employed it’s a safe bet that there is some impact. By the same token, the Russell Sage Foundation published a study showing a clear correlation between increases in unemployment and lower birth rates.

[CLICK HERE for a summary of the new analysis from Pew Research Center; December 14, 2011.]

[CLICK HERE to read excerpts from the Russell Sage Foundation study, “The Social Effects of the Great Recession”; December 16, 2011.]

We appear to be in one of those situations in which we might ponder whether the chicken comes before the egg. Do we wait for a stronger economy or should we start up a new business, get married, have babies, and just plain get on with our lives? This, of course, would ultimately help stimulate economic growth.

If you’ve been pondering these questions yourself, give us a call to assess your financial situation and see if we can’t get you moving forward with some of your life choices.

 1 AARP Public Policy Institute; “Insight on the Issues” May 2011.

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