Friday, April 3, 2009

Roundtable Volume 2, #2

Good evening to you all, or good day to our international followers of timezones myriad. It is time once again for an edition of These Gentleman's signature series, the Roundtable. At the beginning of the week, our illustrious gentlemen were posited a question, and their assembled responses can now be viewed and discussed here, in what we hope is our budding community.

The query posed the group this time was in regards to the recent economic unpleasantness. I use the term as one might use it to describe the actions of Jack the Ripper. In light of the brutal actions taken upon the prostitute the global economy has become, I asked each our gentlemen what changes they have had to make due to the crisis. Their responses were varied in both length and descriptiveness, as it has clearly hit some harder and in more tangible ways than others. In this way it would seem we are a mirror for the world at large, a microcosm, if you will, of the gentlemen of the world.

Long-winded intro now satisfied, let us dive right in to the responses, and hopefully, the discussion which results. Be sure to join us again next week when the Roundtable convenes once more.

Jason Schlafstein

I've had to start being a little less of an idiot. Jury's still out on how exactly that's going.

Max Nova

To be honest I haven't made any drastic changes, I still spend probably more than I should on cds and books, and my music purchasing has slowed down but not really because of the economy. At this point I have a whole lot of it and I'm not sure what strange noises to investigate next. Day to day I think I've more or less gone about things the same way, and I'm pretty happy about that.

Brittany Graham

I don't know because as long as I've been a college graduate, the economy has been crappy. I don't know where the poor economy meets being a recent college grad meets being a freelance artist, not that the difference really matters any to my wallet. The only thing different now is that my dad stopped advising me to get a retirement plan as soon as possible. But I'm about as poor as I expected to be after four years of "you're definitely going to be poor for awhile after you graduate."

David Pratt

The economic downturn came for me at a time when I was already strapped for cash in a big way. The only major change I can say I've made is a steadfast resolution to pay for food as infrequently as possible. My meal layout is currently on something like a $1 a day budget.

I did have to give up spending $20 a week on comic books. That hurt.

John Ozkirbas

Fortunately, the economy has effected me very minimally. I live at home for the time being, so I have a very short list of expenses (and my family has always been careful about what we spend our money on). I'm not working, nor can I more than 15 hours a week should I so choose. It's hard to find summer work, but, apparently, I'm actually a desired commodity in my field - small firms are more willing to take on 1st year law students than pay 2nd or 3rd years. I just won't be getting paid (which, well, smells afoul). In my personal life, I'm just careful not to spend frivolously, though I usually was careful before.

My right to complain is not dynamic. My family business isn't going under. I'm not waiting for another construction job for an indeterminable amount of time. My company isn't going to lay me off and replace me with an entry-level college grad. I'm not an artist who depends upon his art for income in this economy. I (hopefully) won't be looking for a career-job before the next two years. I'm just not within the demographic of people who will be affected the most. I'm lucky and I fully understand that - as there are many (including some friends) who have been directly affected and will continue to be for awhile, despite whatever stimulus plan is going to come through. In witnessing that, I suppose you can say that's the biggest way I've been "affected" - I prefer to see the people around me and in my life prosper as opposed to struggle.

Damien Nichols

Let's see here. I've gotten a bicycle, cut my driving by a lot. Moved closer to my job (within a mile). Negotiated for a raise at work (didn't get one, but was able to get put on flextime, so I get every friday off, YEAH!). Started seeking outside income for small odd jobs. Started pooling resources amongst friends for big family-style meals. This is not only economical, its just great to spend an evening cooking and breaking bread with friends. I've also started negotiating to eliminate or reconsolidate my debt, lectured my father on his wasteful spending and lack of planning for the future (tisk tisk). Looking around at the stock market to figure out who the winners of this depression will be. And finally, I've started wrapping my head around the concept of a total economic collapse.

What do you do when money isn't worth anything any more? Gotta be able to eat, have shelter, transportation, etc. without the exchange of dollars. Scary, but doable!

Daniel Strauss

I can no longer afford McDonald's value meals. It's ridiculous, but, $6.50 for a McNugget meal is friggin insane. I now order exclusively off the dollar menu. Got to.

Ali Daniels

Honestly, the economic troubles haven’t really hit me that hard. I am fortunate that my parents, never being very well off, taught me early the value of saving and never buying something unless I had enough money to pay for it in that moment. I’m already working 2.5 jobs, and a lot of that money goes into rainy day savings, so I don’t feel the pressure of the downed economy, because I can support myself until my investments pick back up.

Because of lower interest rates, I have rolled my long-term investments into accounts with shorter terms, so that when the market stabilizes and rates go back up, I’m not locked into a crappy deal, but that hasn't really personally affected me.

I was inspired, though, to give up my credit card for Lent because of the economy, and it’s been working out pretty well, but I definitely miss it. I’ve been spending less money, but not enough to give up Not by a long shot.


Stephen said...

Whoops, didn't submit mine on time.

I haven't been forced into any changes, so to speak. I'm good at what I do, and apparently so are the people who pay me.

I've been focusing more attention on purchasing publicly traded stock. The dismal interest paid by savings accounts gets gobbled up by inflation, so I see stocks as the only good investment option right now.

Oh and one plus I've recently noticed about the economy tanking is that stores generally don't run out of products.

Ozkirbas said...

Short brown hair? Check.
Short brown beard? Check.
Non-turkish failed presidential candidate? Fail!

.... but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

B.Graham said...

That was the best possible picture you could have chosen of me and I love that.

Also: I know a lot of people who weren't considering grad school before are now considering it as an option to push away debt while the economy sucks. Like, a lot.

Ozkirbas said...

Yeah, I've heard, through the grapevine, that there's been a flux of people entering trade jobs as opposed to university for undergrad