Trading Floor

The Trading Floor features comments, feedback and insight submitted by Marketplace sources. Help advise us about stories we’re working on, discuss the news of the day, and share your insight by joining the Public Insight Network.

FEATURED QUERY: Do you rely on tips for a living? Tell us more



On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your financial future?

  • Posted by Jo Easton
  • on August 18, 2009 11:46 AM

The U.S. financial system is built on our belief that it will work. A year ago next month, that system came crashing down around our ears. Many of us have found our lives changed in some way by the recession. And one of the biggest things that’s changed is our attitudes about money, the economy, and our own prospects for future success.

What about you? Have your attitudes and beliefs about the system changed? Click here to share your experience.

Next month on Marketplace, we’ll be examining what, if at all, has changed about the financial system… and the role that our collective belief plays in it. You can help us with this coverage by sharing your experience: If you could rank your current personal financial outlook, where would you fit in on a 1-to-10 scale? Click here to fill us in.

Discussion: 6 Comments

  • Posted by Jay on August 18, 2009 6:28 PM

    I rate it a 3. I’m seldom in debt (and I include a car), but as a laborer in the manufacturing industry, I always have to worry about losing my job. Out of the first 5 years at my latest company, I actually worked only 4. The missing year was due to various layoffs over those five years. This makes it very hard to build a nest egg, and even harder to get financing for a mortgage. I already knew a lot of those crazy mortgage terms were a rip off so I resisted temptation and tried to go the traditional rout. Well, that has never happened, and my nest egg took a big hit back in March and it has not recovered since. So right now, I cannot get a house without a big down payment and my big down payment disappeared during the March crash.

    What’s worse is that there’s no help for guys like me who did everything right and still cannot afford a home. All I’m going to end up doing is paying for all the people who participated in those toxic loans from the guys who bought houses they could not afford to the big companies who traded those toxic mortgages back and forth.

    Inconsistent work in a fading industry, trying to do everything by the rules, keeping out of trouble, and I’m getting nowhere with it. Who’s there to get me into a home I can afford? Nobody - it almost would have been better had I signed one of those crazy loans. At least then I would have people trying to keep me in it. As it stands, nobody wants to help me get into one. That tax incentive really needed to be in the form of cash in hand for a down payment.

    At the age of 42, I find its time to go back to school and change careers. Going back to entry level at the age of 45 does not appeal to me. Not at all.

  • Posted by Pat Saine on August 19, 2009 7:48 PM

    I’m looking at an 8. Here are the reasons:

    Big pluses: an incurable optimism and the fact that we’ve been living within our means for the past 15 years or so. We don’t spend what we don’t have and we know how to be happy with what we do have. Our mortgage is our only loan and our 2 kids have completed college.

    Could be a plus or minus: I started a new business - a used bookstore - as a second career just one year ago. So far so good: my head is above water, regular customers keep coming back, and new people are discovering the joys of browsing an old fashioned used bookstore.

    Potential minuses: Is the market going to recover - or just slip sideways (1970’s) - before we want to retire in 10 years or so? (age = 51) Will our nest egg recover? Will I be able to manage reasonable growth of my business and bring it successfully past a one man shop? Only time will tell!

  • Posted by Ron on September 16, 2009 6:43 AM

    I am staring down the barrel of 4. Over the last year, I have watched as the economy has tanked. I am an engineer working in the construction industry, for the past 14 years. There will be no improvements in the industry for another 1 to 1-1/2 years. My salary pays the bills with an net of almost zero for anything else. My wife is currently working in the service industry, which has also tanked. Her inability to cover daily living expenses, for over a year now, has depleted our savings and my ulcers continue to grow. She currently going to school for a nursing degree, but the picture of prosperity is at least 3 years away. I watched a good friend and a fellow employee of 28 years get laid off, last week. I await the same axe to fall the next time and pray that me and my family won’t be the next in the bread line. While congress debates health care reform that eliminates any help for the working middle class, there is nothing positive on the immediate horizon. Who ever said NAFTA and ACORN were a positive needs to be called to the carpet! God save America.

  • Posted by Desi Jnk on September 21, 2009 8:41 PM

    I would say 6 and that too because the past performance is not a good indication of future. Since graduating from college I have saved 35-to-50cents on a dollar, maxed out on the 401K, dont have any debt other than the limited mortgage. The reason I didnt rate the financial future around 8 or 9 because I am unsure about 1. The US currency and its value in the next 20-25 years 2. The deficit and will the United states return back to the “Surplus” state 3. The competitive edge of the developed world against the B-R-I-C Countries 4. Will all the money I am putting for retirement would be worth anything in 2035 ?


  • Posted by Kryshon Bratton on October 6, 2009 3:05 PM

    I would rate my family and business a 4. Since 2006 I have been paying off credit cards and saving. I have taken my family and businesss off credit by not using and paying off as much as possible over the last few years. I have also placed my family on a budget and streamlined my business. By the end of 2010, the only personal debt I will have is a mortage. As for the company, it will be completely debt free. I have increased the amount per month that I put away in savings. In this current economic environment, I have been able to ride out the storms. I am however, hope that I will have enough time to pay off the existing debt and start doing more with my money before the next recession comes.

  • Posted by Edward J. Dodson on October 7, 2009 9:05 PM

    My financial situation is good because my wife and I have always saved extensively and lived well below what our joint income would have permitted. The only debt we ever incurred was to purchase property, and we did so limiting our choices to homes we could afford based on just my income. Not having children also contributed to our ability to weather our boom-to-bust economy.

Inform the news

Overheard on the Trading Floor