Financial Crisis Then & Now

by Dual Income No Kids on December 15, 2008 · 0 comments

After talking with my ninety-three year old grandmother last night, I thought I’d share on a softer topic of the contrast between the current financial crisis to that of the Great Depression.

My grandmother mentioned that this was the worst situation, in terms of both financial crisis and scandals, that she had seen in her lifetime. She said that during the great depression things were different without the media outlets we have today.

As she told it, at the time of the Great Depression you were feeling a pinch within your own family, hearing stories through your neighbors and friends, and getting snippets of several day old news from the cities. You weren’t inundated by news constantly in the way that we are today.

Another difference was that the Great Depression hit everyday Americans in their homes, but those citizens weren’t part of the stock market. Thus, today’s financial crisis is on a different scale. This is particularly the case with so many retiree hopefuls having just lost their shirts to plummeting 401(k)s.

Lastly, we started out this mess with a handicap of the majority of Americans already strapped with credit card debt. Back in the time of the Great Depression folks were largely living within their means. Some might have had a monthly tab at the local grocer, but no where near the debt that Americans hold today.

Thus, while the Great Depression simply has the feel of being more depressing, the situation on the ground today isn’t a great deal better in many ways. I think the key to holding things in together today is that people were largely living in abundance before the bottom dropped out. This means that we have more of a cushion to fall on then those in the era of the Great Depression might have had.

Anyway, I find it interesting to learn from those who have been around for nearly a century. If you have other tidbits to add from your family we’d love to hear comments.



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