Friday Forum: How Are You Surviving The Global Financial Apocalypse?

hoboIt’s that time of the week, when Queerty takes a break from the opinion-making and puts you, the readers, in charge. Each Friday, we invite you to be the pundit on a hot-button question facing the LGBT community and its allies. As always, we expect people to be respectful and considerate of others by refraining from personal attacks. We present the information, you make the decision.

With Iceland’s economy and government in ruins, the nation has turned to a lesbian, Johanna Sigurdardottir, to get the nation out of its mess. Closer to home, The Labor Department reported on Thursday that jobless claims rose by 159,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the most since the government began keeping track in 1967. And while Obama’s economic stimulus plan hopes to pump more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars into the market through tax rebates, school redevelopment and state financing, we are in the midst of a deep, cold recession, with some economists claiming that we are teetering on a depression.

We want to know how the Global Financial Crisis has affected you? Gays and lesbians famously have more discretionary spending than their straight counterparts, but have you tightened the belt in recent months or have you taken advantage of the clearance sales and discounts? What strategies are you employing to take care of your own wallet? Do you have confidence that Obama’s plan will fix the problem or have you started hoarding cash under your platform bed?

We put it to you: How are you surviving the Global Financial Apocalypse?

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24 Comments

  • willyum

    I recently graduated college and started my first real job, so I’m buying all the stuff for my first job. Which means I haven’t really “tightened” my belt. I live in Texas, where the economy is still relatively strong and work in a hugely fiscally conservative company that is actually doing better in the recession. All of that said, however, I am saving 10% of my paycheck in an “emergency account” and maxing out my company matched 401K at 8%. Things that people should do no matter what the economy is like. The real “clearance sales and discounts” are in the stock market right now. If you aren’t investing, you’re missing the opportunity of a lifetime….

  • Ed

    My company went bankrupt, abruptly, in December. The job search goes poorly, and I’m living on my savings, which means that while I can afford my rent and my food, the one bit of discretionary spending I’ve kept is my cable/internet bill. I watch a great deal of TV, read too many websites, and hunt for jobs all day online, which is an exercise in frustration. Oddly, the global economy wiped out jobs for the majority of my ‘network’ at the same time, so it’s not possible to really use that to find work.

    All that sounds bitter, which it’s not. It’s just reality. And a simpler life isn’t so bad – I live in Miami, so I get to spend time at the pool at my condo in January. I’ve become a mental teenager again wandering around the mall window shopping, taking a jog through the park.

    I’ve cut out a lot of social bits of my life, dining out, driving unnecessarily, shopping, etc, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’ve always had a thing for consumption of goods, and this reset has been kind of freeing.

  • Brett

    When I saw the photo associated with this post, all I could think was “Four dollar karate lessons? Hell, sign me up, too.”

    I really must stop going out on Thursday nights.

  • Tim

    I just wander around Barneys, unable to spend. My job is fine, my husband’s job is fine (for the time being at least) But the constant onslaught of fear has turned me into a tightwad.

    I don’t think its a bad thing necessarily, but I hate that the decision not to spend is driven more by fear than by any sense of responsibility or maturity.

  • Joe

    willyum need to get laid off…jacka**!

  • Bill Perdue

    Some people are doing quite well, including Hillary Clintons alma mater Wal-Mart where you pay for the health care cost of many of their employees with Medicaid. Amazon and McDonalds are doing well too posing record profits. But the big winner so far is Exxon Mobil who this morning reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008. (That’s greater than the GNP of about half the countries in the UN.) Other large oil companies did well but none came close to Exxon-Mobil. Not even Haliburton, the merchant of death who made a measly $4 billion murdering muslims and GI’s for Exxon-Mobil

    For most working people the situation couldn’t be worse. Last year the US economy contracted by 3.8% in the 4th quarter and over 2 million workers were fired. Additional millions are being forced to accept pay cuts like the ones demanded by Obama, the Democrats and their Republican allies as a condition for loans to GM and Chrysler. Ford is doing quite well but for some odd reason demands the same wage cuts. The number of Americans without any access to medical care passed 50 million last year and is expected to climb fast as companies require workers to accept wage and benefit cuts or join the unemployed. Minority workers and immigrants as a whole and many LGBT workers who can’t ‘pass’ are in for a rude awakening as the phrase ‘last hired and first fired’ grows teeth. (Please, Democrats, explain to us again how we ‘won’ when Barney Frank gutted ENDA to please the low wage chimps at the Chamber of Commerce.)

    For three years in a row saving has been in net negative territory as fewer and few workers and companies have money to set aside. The national debt doubled in 2008 to over $15 trillion dollars, most of it handouts to the rich who looted the economy and then left if for dead. No such amounts are going to be spent on socialized medicine, to save existing jobs and create union-green jobs or to provide guaranteed housing and education. (In Las Vegas tens of thousands of people got restructured loans last year to prevent for closure but now, without work and because the banks only make loans to those who don’t need them, these working people are going back into foreclosure. The unemployment offices here are swamped and people trying to get free food are SOL. There isn’t enough to go around.)

    The slide from recession to depression the last time around took from the crash in 1929 until 1931. The smart money is that we’ll beat their record.

  • Anon

    I have my assets (no pun intended) in another country than I live, which is annoying because my “home” currency is the loosing one so far, and the purchasing power of the two currencies aren’t at all equal either. I also suffer a bit because I have real estate and stocks, but to be honest, I should be grateful for what I have, it is more than most people and if I go back 40%-60% I should still be grateful. There are many far worse off in the world.

  • RichardR

    @Bill Perdue: thanks for the sad summary, Bill, but Japhy’s forum question is “How are you surviving the Global Financial Apocalypse?”

    I’m retired and already keeping a tight hold on the purse-strings — for example, haven’t taken a pricey vacation for years. I’d planned to put my home on the market and relocate, but that’s now on hold. I do a little writing/consulting for non-profits, and anticipate that bit of income to shrink as they feel the contraction. I have some rental properties and declare income but until now have taken none, choosing to put the profits into property improvement and debt reduction. I’ll be tapping those profits for personal expenses, and hoping tenants can hold on. That’s my real worry — that this “apocalypse” is really just beginning. At the moment, I’m okay and feeling relatively fortunate but also concerned about the interconnectedness and uncertainty of the downturn. It’s pretty scary.

  • charles

    I’m living off of my dad’s generosity and unemployment. My field (architecture/design)is *DEAD* right now,and I really don’t think it’s coming back anytime soon. Which in a way is a more of a correction than anything-the level of excess and shallowness was just sickening and it will be beneficial to take a break and just think for a while. But I am moving back to Texas (luckily to Austin) because of job and family connections, a better economy, and cheaper rent. Work there, take a breather, make and save money, move somewhere else within a year or two. That’s the plan. NYC is so anxious and tense these days.

  • Bill in PDX

    My rental units are worth less as liquid assets but are great because no one is buying houses so demand for well maintained rental space is up. I am cutting back like a lot of people and my pension- 401k is worthless. Glad I am in a good field-nursing–and that my mortgages are affordable. I knew a crash was coming so have been prepared. Many I know in fields that are less needed or optional are really hurting now. I feel fortunate that the house is heated, there is food in the fridge and I can afford a little night life. We need major change now,,,,,

  • sal

    i am soooo thankful u put this topic up today,cause i just got some really scary news today.next week i think i will know if i will weather the job loss/financial storm but im sooooo scared i might not make it……i dont know what to do if i dont make it

  • Distingué Traces

    I’m working temp jobs for less than half my normal hourly rate.

    Cheers!

  • Roy Pyatt

    I hope the guy in the photo franchises I would love to own my own business. But I recently left a job then quickly picked up another with a small pay increase. The medical industry is doing alright thanks to all the sick people, due to increased stress.

  • epluribusunum

    I’m working a full-time job right now…but my job is far from safe. The company at which I work is kind of small, and so many people have been cut recently. The only reason my job is still around, is because upper management thinks that I have an awesome personality and am always positive.

    I’m a recent grad, who’s working and going to law school on a scholarship, so I guess things aren’t that bad since I have school to occupy my mind.

    I’m also living at home, and my parents are pretty cool with my boyfriend coming over for sleep-overs. My rent is low, so that’s good, and I still get to sleep with him whenever I want.

  • Dawster

    @charles: careful. i’m currently in Austin and it is just as bad as everywhere else. we (structural engineering firm) have received emails almost daily from architects and designers that are laying off their employees – or closing shop. it’s rather depressing.

    we are doing okay, mainly because we have two big projects that are being built (construction management) and our work with the hurricane damage from Hurricane Ike. but after that we have nothing.

    right now, the only architects/designers that are doing well are those that specialize in built-out architecture (renovating space in pre-existing buildings). this may actually be more profitable in NY than in Austin (i only know of two architects who specialize in this).

    i would hate for you to make a move to the promise land, only to find out that it is JUST the same as everywhere else.

  • Notagay faggit

    You people are sick. Openly discussing this sick behavior.

  • Jock

    Fuck off, notagay!

  • gunshy61

    My boyfriend and I are only spending money on bills, groceries, and Netflix. No eating out, no movies, we pack bagged lunches, and are not shopping for clothes, music etc. (The public library is also an amazing way to rent DVD, who knew?) Having people over is easier on our wallets, and makes this crazy, uncertain time a little better.

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