I was in Darien last night to hear Fairfield University economics professor Ed Deak speak to the Home Builders and Remodelers Association. Everyone had a lot of questions about the economy, and what the new normal was going to be. I found this quote very interesting:
I’m outside the depression era, but as I listen to my mother and my father and my grandparents as well talking about the depression, it left a scar, a permanent scar, on that generation. And they behave differently because of it. And there is real, ample evidence now that this event has left a scar on this generation. And this generation is going to behave somewhat differently. Behaving differently means more saving, less direct spending. So part of the new normal is the level of growth is going to be slower. Instead of three to four percent, it’s going to be one to two percent. It’s going to take a long time for people to overcome that scar.
For those of us who recently started or are about to start their first job out of college in this economy, our mindset is influenced significantly by the economy. Our socialization in the workforce is defined by layoffs, budget crunches and expectations to do double the wok with no raise. We can expect to wait months before even getting an offer. We can’t get a credit card as easily, or a loan. And that is the new normal for us. But I think this is a good thing because our generation will be defined on the principles of doing more with less, and as Mr. Deak said, saving instead of spending. Sometimes I think it is a blessing I graduated from college as this recession was blooming because if my skill set is being framed in the worst of times, you better believe I’m going to do nothing but flourish in the best of times.