Series 23 | Part 7: What We Can (and Should) Do

You need to start saving money. Ironically, I don’t think you need to worry about getting loans you can afford because, even if we all doing this, we’re limiting our potential now and not doing anything to stop the coming financial crisis that will hurt us much more. If have some money, you might want to establish some short positions. That will prove very lucrative, and the downsize is a few pennies compared to the upside. The way to do that is buy out-of-the-money index puts for roughly $0.10 per underlying index, preferably an index that tracks the whole credit market, and when the credit market fails, the $0.10 value would probably spike to at least $2.00. If you invest $100, you’ll get 1,000 put shares, which will become $20,000. Don’t expect to get paid right away though because the markets will be disorganized and payment processing may be halted until market regulators know what’s going on and, unfortunately, until big players get paid first.

My prediction is not that there is an unstoppable or imminent threat to our financial system, just that certain signs that are popping up again are in their infancy and that politicians are doing nothing to stop their growth into a potentially full-grown disaster that, while far less dangerous than the housing crisis, will hurt just as bad, especially because most of us are already worse off and with less foreseeable upside in our lives than we were before the last crisis. So, whether it happens and it’s small or whether it happens but not for another 10 years, it seems likely that Republicans and Wall Street are encouraging the likelihood of it happening to approach certainty in our lifetimes. If Wall Street doesn’t change their ways, the interval between the Great Recession and the Great Depression will be far longer than the Great Recession and whatever they decide to call the next one.

On the political front, we need to get as many Democrats in office. We’re not going to have a housing crisis and any possible crisis going forward will be less than that, and an additional benefit is that it will likely not occur for a couple years, though perhaps within two. Therefore, it won’t happen during the current session of Congress. There’s plenty of time to Democrats in office, and as I’ve said before, we have the power to do that.

The last thing to remember, and this is crucial, is that in addition to safeguarding your financial future, take care of each other. One of the most common things I saw during the last crisis was non-profit organizations merging in order to cover costs like rent and office supplies. They also had employees who were willing to stay on and work longer hours. While they’re all trying to make a name for themselves and care about their causes, they found ways to work together, even though NGO is the last type of organization that you can think of that would be focused on cost.

Since I believe the issue will stem from car loan defaults, give your neighbors a ride to work if they can’t get a car loan if the credit markets dry up. If you know someone who’s never taken the bus to work, teach them the route, how often the bus is on time (or not), whether you need exact change and whether it’s just quarters or dimes are accepted, and so on. In short, take care of each other.

If you read my previous post about the Opioid Epidemic, then you know my advice on what can happen when people get hurt or upset. While I don’t believe economic hardship by itself leads to drug use, it is statistically more likely. Whether it’s drug use, crime against another person, harming yourself in any manner, or exhibiting any other negative behavior that isn’t good for you or someone else, I strongly encourage you to focus on what you do have so that you don’t succumb to temptations that could harm you, land you in jail, or hurt someone else.

The world is a scary place when the people in power don’t care about you, but your neighbors are right nextdoor, which means they have far more power to help or hurt you than someone on Wall Street or here in D.C. There are neighborhood watch organizations in some communities, and you should consider forming neighborhood assistance organizations, as well, so you’re not just looking out for bad behavior but also looking out for people in need.

Always remember that your happiness is not defined by how much you have but how you feel about what you do have and that what you have that makes the most difference in your lives is usually not a material item but the intangible, the love and the sense of self-worth, and if you’re strong enough, no one can EVER take that away from us.

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