So this whole "economic meltdown" that we seem to be in the middle of is interesting. You know, in the way that car wrecks tend to be.
Here's what makes it interesting. The last significant economic downturn, most economists agree, was in the early 90s. And before that it was in the early 80s. The one in the early 80s I barely remember because I was 11 years old and you don't trend to remember these things unless you were hammered by it directly. Both of my parents were working with decent jobs, so iI didn't really notice it, although I'm sure there were tough times for them.
As for the one in the 90s, well, I was in university. So I was expecting to be poor most of the time. I was living at home and able to save money from my table waiting job. I wasn't rich, but I was certainly doing better than many of my friends who were practically prostituting themselves to student aid to get enough money to survive.
And now we have another one on the way. And so far, knock on wood, we're doing fine. We both have good jobs and Iqaluit tends to be a bit of a bubble. The way things are right now, the U.S. is getting hammered, but Canada is managing to duck it, so far. But it'll likely move north and hit Canada. And then at some point it'll move up here and hit us. But right now, things are fine.
I think the difference this time is we have to consider the very grown-up reality of our investments. I never had to worry about how a downturn in the stock market and economy would effect my investments. I had no money for investments when I was in my early 20s (other than my comic books). I still get a kick out of all those commercials that come out at RRSP time that say if you invest a couple of thousand dollars when you're 25, it'll pay off much better than if you start contributing when you're 35.
I don't know many 25 year olds with a couple of extra thousand dollars kicking around to invest, honestly. Most are trying to feed themselves or pay off student loans. RRSP investments are a fantasy.
Anyway, we find ourselves with investments. We have RRSPs. We have a rainy day fund (or a snowy day fund, I guess). I think we're content to let both ride out as is. We don't really know enough about the stock market to start messing around with things. Which is probably shocking, but I suspect we're not alone in that. It's diverse enough that I don't think we're going to lose our shirt.
The question becomes....what next? We'll be getting our tax returns back soon-ish. We normally just plunk it into RRSPs. This year, not so certain that's a good idea. For that matter, before Christmas we were thinking about increasing the rainy day fund. Again, not sure that's such a good idea. I'm tempted to stick it in a bank account until things calm down a bit. We won't be making anything off of it, but then again, we won't lose it all either.
I know this means I'm going to have to bite the bullet and actually doing some research into investing. Which I know I should do anyway, but I find it about as exciting as reading computer manuals. But since I have a readership here, presumably with a wide knowledge base, anyone have any free advice to offer up?
1. C'mere - Interpol
2. Vince the loveable stoner - The Fratellis
3. Sea shanty - The Pogues*
4. Hammering in my head - Garbage
5. Bullet the blue sky (live) - U2