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My son, who is currently studying for his broker’s license, was recently taken aside by his grand-father-in-law. Grandpa, who owns his own successful business, said to him, “I have a little money set aside, and I trust you more than anyone else. I was wondering what you would suggest I do with it?” My son’s response was, “Don’t put it in the markets right now. They are volatile!”

Of course he is only a broker-in-training, but there are other, credible sources that are worrisome. Here are just a few of yesterday’s headlines:

  • NEW YORK (AP) –Oil prices pushed above $105 per barrel Tuesday.
  • WASHINGTON (AP) –A wave of foreclosures has driven down the cost of previously occupied homes. . . . By contrast, new homes have become more expensive. The median price of a new home in the United States is now 48 percent higher than that of a home being resold, more than three times the gap in a healthy housing market.
  • WASHINGTON (AP) –The Federal Reserve is paying a record $79.3 billion to the U.S. government after the central bank earned a record amount of money last year from programs aimed at boosting the economy.
    [One of the comments to this article said: “That’s like me buying your house from you for lets say a million dollars with a check that you don’t cash. And then I sell it back to you for 1.1 million you pay me with that check that is really worthless and 100K more that you kick in. I then take that 100K peel off a smooth 50K for me and I give you the remaining 50K and demand you say thank you.” In the meantime the American dollar plummets in value.]
  • CNNMoney.com—Market roller-coaster ride not over. Investors dumped stocks in the early part of March due to the turmoil in Egypt and Libya, and the devastating earthquake in Japan.
  • Reuters with CNBC.com—US Approaching Insolvency, Fix To Be ‘Painful’ “If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when,” Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said.

It is easy to find headlines like these on any given day. I could have listed several more. Being aware of what is going on around us helps us make fiscally wise choices. Choices that may be uncomfortable, inconvenient, or plain painful.

I listed several ideas (now deleted) for navigating this inflationary, budget-squeezing climate, from paying off debt to saving for our children’s education. We’ve all heard them before.

The difficulty is not making the hard financial choices. We’ve already begun to do that. The challenge is remaining hopeful. These tough times require great faith. With faith, we navigate difficult times without fear. We can be calm, encouraging, and cheerful.

When Adam and Eve were cast from the beautiful Garden of Eden, they left behind many wonderful conveniences. Their new life was hard. But because of the new choices, difficulties and hard work, they were blessed with experiences and knowledge they had not had in Eden. They grew intellectually, spiritually, and became physically stronger.

Don’t be afraid of what lies beyond Eden.