Monday, July 29, 2013

Daily Briefing For Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tale Of Two Stories

Back in May, Forbes magazine asked the question "Economically, could Obama be America's Best President?"  On its face, the case seems rather compelling: a 250% return on major equity indices in only four years, consumer confidence in the high 60s (up from its low in the low 30s back in 2008), and the official unemployment rate down below 8% (from a high of near 10% in 2009).

And yet the AP took a different tack on the economy this week, revealing that "four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives."  The article goes on to say

—For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.

—The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.

—The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.

Two articles.  Two starkly contrasting viewpoints.  How do we reconcile these?  Or can we?

I am not an expert in finance or economics by any stretch.  But when you see the official unemployment fall in large part because people have stopped looking for jobs, when more Americans are on food assistance programs than are employed in the private sector, and declining volumes in stock purchase (although this article may explain much of that - I highly recommend you read it), one has to wonder if there's not been some sort of disconnect between the numerical score cards we've traditionally used to measure the economy and how people are actually faring in it. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that those of us who are seeking the truth - and who are planning for the future - are getting many mixed messages these days.  I don't have any solutions for you, other than to remain vigilant with your investing and finances.  I think Jim Rogers would agree.

I Lost A Whopping 0.1 Pounds This Month.  And I Am Thrilled.

I mentioned I began a concerted effort to lose weight in late May.  After a decent weight loss in June, this month's numbers have remained relatively flat.  For many people, this would be a depressing result, but I'm actually pleased with what happened this month.

Despite nagging injuries to my shoulders and knees that flared up this month, and despite some road trips where I had less control over my diet than normal, I managed to maintain a stable weight.  My diet wasn't great, and I didn't work out as often as I wanted to.  But I didn't get heavier!

I took advantage of my already lousy diet to slowly reintroduce diet sodas, on a temporary basis, into my diet.  This resulted in the second huge revelation in my weight loss efforts.  I quickly learned that my hunger levels skyrocketed 50% of the time - for no reason - when I drank Diet Mountain Dew.  I also found drinking sodas curbed my thirst, and as a result I consumed far less liquid than I would have if I'd been drinking solely water.

This short experiment showed me very quickly why I was having so much trouble losing weight previously.  I'd tank up on empty carbs, due to the hunger pains brought on my Diet Mountain Dew, and I wouldn't drink enough water to help me sustain any weight loss plan I was on.

I start a 90 day weight loss challenge at my gym later this week.  I'm looking forward to the weekly offering of new classes, nutrition counseling, and goal setting. 

Much of your preparedness efforts have little to do with guns and solar powered radios; they have a lot to do with executing the basics (like fitness and health) really well. 


  1. Keep working on your challenge. You are doing more than the rest of us by at least trying while some of us just keep wishing we could get started.

  2. Thanks Dan! I'm convinced getting started is half the battle.