Looking at the economy through rose colored glasses

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 lifeskillbudgeting.  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!


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.