Atta Ikede

December 11, 2008

Recession? Where are you?

Filed under: San Francisco, Uncategorized — attaikede @ 10:53 pm

I checked under the bed, under the couch and under my chair. Nope, nothing scary there! Feeling better, I worked up the courage and finally logged in to my CIBC Investor’s Edge account to see how my portfolio is doing. Amazingly, it was doing ok! While I definitely lost some money, my entire portfolio is invested in a handful of stocks and a few general mutual funds. Basically it turned out that while a few of those stocks tanked, others .. slid. Overall it wasn’t total devastation and I left the house this morning smiling.

So apparently we’re in a recession. My morning alarm is set to NPR and for the last couple weeks there’s been repeated discussion on the disaster that is our economy, the global downturn and the 1 year recession. For the last month, the cover of Economist has been one scary picture after the next – a wounded tiger illustrating how capitalism has failed, a man peering into a giant black hole wondering where his savings are, etc.

My brain gets it. We’re in a recession. My gut though, is still confused. Recession?

It must be the laissez faire vibe of San Francisco though, because somehow, despite steadily increasing numbers on the techcrunch layoffs tracker, and the bad news every morning, it just doesn’t feel like a recession. In fact, there’s a part of me at times that doesn’t quite believe that things are so bad. You know, when those people come on the news talking about how they can’t buy christmas presents this year, and how they won’t be going home for thanksgiving because they can’t afford airfare, a few times my mental reaction has been “geez. They pull out these sob stories every year!”. (I realize that sentiment is a little cold hearted, but it’s true!)

You know, I was talking to a few friends about this and they and a few of my coworkers felt the same way as I do — shit is hitting the fan right now in a major way! Some people out there are seriously screwed! But here? It’s same old same old. In the back of my mind I have this worry that some new economic disaster is going to happen that’ll rock me and others like me out of our happy little boats.

I think I’m sheltered from a lot of the bad stuff going on because the oldest of my coworkers is probably under 45. In fact, I think my team members and most of the engineers are mostly below 40. These people have been through the tech bust in 2000 so they’re strong, and plus they’re still young enough to rebuild a destroyed portfolio. The whole stock market tanking issue is way more disastrous to older folks than it is to younger people who will benefit from a recovery regardless of how sustained it is.

Secondly, the collapse in housing values and the craziness of foreclosures hasn’t hit San Francisco proper in a big way and though it has hit some of the suburbs in the valley and east bay, prices haven’t collapsed to the extent they have in other parts of the country. There are definitely some people out there who have been hit by a double whammy of home value tanking AND stock market being wiped out. It really sucks to be those people. I can’t even imagine it. Luckily I don’t think I know anybody in that situation.

Sigh. Yeah. Overall, I am very happy to report that the recession hasn’t affected me yet and I really hope it won’t.

One final note: if you see online advertisements around the web with little 1800 numbers, CALL THEM! lol. that pays my salary ;)

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