Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recession Lessons?

There is an Allstate commercial I’ve seen frequently for a while now. In an ad called The Best Things in Life (view it here), Allstate spokesman (and former 24 President) Dennis Haysbert talks about the lessons that we’ve learned from the recession.

He says, “Who’s around the TV is more important than how big it is. Cars are not about showing how far we’ve come but for taking us where we need to go.” I understand what he’s saying but I’m not sure if we’ve really learned those lessons.

Kim, a good friend of mine, and her husband run a blog called Recession Lessons and she uses it to post great deals and incredible bargains. Kim is a huge advocate of coupons but when she broached the topic on her Facebook page, there was an immediate backlash to the idea of clipping coupons. Many people didn’t want to appear poor or look as if they were in need. Saving money was not as important as appearing as if they had money.

In spite of pay cuts and unemployment, a former co-worker and her husband are still willing to bend over backwards to make sure that their 15-year-old son has the latest and greatest i-Phone, X-Box or other electronic gadget as soon as it comes out. This is a source of pride for them.

I think the lessons he talks about in the commercial area admirable and if even a sizable minority of us learn them, we’ve made an impact. Here are some lessons, I’d like us (as a nation) to learn:
  1. Put People First: People matter much more than things. Cars depreciate, neighborhoods evolve, fashions change. Good friends and strong positive relationships never go out of style. Treasure them!
  2. It’s Who You Are NOT What You Have: A 60” TV is nice but it’s not necessary. As the Allstate commercials says it’s who is sitting with you watching TV and not the size of that TV that matters.
  3. Have an Attitude of Gratitude: Look around and be thankful for what you have because you have more than you think. I’m not saying not to want more or better, but be appreciative of what you have.
  4. Budgets Work: There is nothing wrong with having a budget, shopping sales or using coupons. Saving money should never fall out of fashion.
I guess I’m curious. What have you learned from this recession? What habits have you changed, altered or given up? Do you expect to go back to your old habits when things get better?

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