My grandmother came of age in Elmira, New York during the Great Depression. Frugality was a cornerstone of her life; a habit that remained after the scarcity of those tough years was long behind them.
As a child in the 1970s, I thought my grandmother's economies were hilarious. Why would she wash a piece of aluminum foil to save it for another use? There was more foil just in the cupboard!
Now an adult with two kids to feed, clothe and educate, I'm facing the specter of an economic depression that could be as severe as the depression of my grandmother's girlhood. From where I sit now, Mamie seems incredibly savvy.
As a real estate agent working in Rockland County, NY, I've watched the number of sales of single-family homes decrease by 28.5% since last year, and the average sale price decline by 7.7%. While I've had a successful year in which my listings have sold quickly and for over 97% of list price, future income feels tenuous indeed. To find comfort and direction, I have been looking to the past to divine the future.
I see a Great Depression, World War II, an oil crisis, a Savings and Loan meltdown and interest rates at 18%. I also see that these events all have spurred creative thinking and decisive action that have overcome the obstacle, and made the economy stronger. Look at all the products and services that have emerged since the 1970s. In college we didn't have personal computers, cell phones or ATM cards! I can barely remember what life was like without them. (And that is not just a function of age related memory loss...)
Certainly, solutions to our current economic problems will be painful and bring hard times for many people. But life doesn't stop when the economy slows down. People still have babies, get new jobs, and retire. They still need to move up and move on. People still need to buy and sell homes.
I am intently watching the news out of Washington about the Wall Street bailout, although it will be months or years before it's clear how well this plan will work. I am going back to basics, carefully studying the trends in the local real estate market in Rockland County, talking to lots of people, trying to creatively get deals done for my clients while pushing my business forward.
I'm following my grandmother's example of living frugally, making a game of how I can economize to still get what I want. (Greatest budget buddies: www.freecycle.org, thrift stores, swapping kids clothes and toys with friends, Internet rather than print advertising, vendor discounts negotiated by the company.)
I choose to believe the case history has made for optimism. The slowed economy has not stopped my life from moving forward. Head up, shoulders back, I am pushing forward toward a brighter future.
jennifer mallory | associate broker | "real integrity in real estate"
keller williams hudson valley realty | 18 laurel rd, new city ny 10956
845.639.0300 x.119 | 845.323.6247 mobile | www.jennifermallory.com