Tired of the doom and gloom, my coworker asked to me to help her think of possible upsides to the economic downturn. While we didn't quite uncover a silver lining, we did think of a few possible benefits.
It's a buyer's market. There are a lot of homes for sale at great prices, creating a good opportunity for responsible buyers. There is even an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers.
It's a good time for young investors. Some financial advisors argue that this is a great time to consider long-term investments, especially for the younger generation. Even President Obama recently suggested that it was a good time for investors with "a long-term perspective."
Volunteerism is up. In this tough job market, many unemployed workers and new graduates are looking for positive things to do with their time. The some charities are reporting higher volunteer numbers. Other displaced workers are going back to school or becoming entrepreneurs.
It's a learning experience. Many people are being forced to learna valuable lifeskill—budgeting. Uncertainty is also good motivation for people to finally start saving for emergencies. Now is the perfect time to teach kids about the differences between needs and wants.
There may be physical and mental health benefits. While financial stress is hard to manage, there may be some health benefits. For example, cutting back on the cost of dining out might promote healthier eating and weight loss. Staying home more often also creates opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends.
We realize that the benefits do not outweigh the cost; however, it was nice to be optimistic for a change. Feel free to try on our rose-colored glasses!