Finance Lesson: Many of you are going to see this for the first time

What is “this”? It’s called inflation. Many of you have never seen it and don’t really know what it is. You will begin to, if you haven’t already, hear more about inflation. As your Gen X friends will tell you, in the 70’s and early 80’s inflation was high. Mortgage interest rates at 15%+, yes that’s right you know those rates that are 3% or less now? Goods and services, in proportion to income was very expensive. Gallon of gas in 1980? $1.19 a gallon. I know doesn’t seem like much does it?

Not a lot of corollas back then, hybrids? Didn’t exist yet. You had gas guzzlers that were getting horrible gas mileage. Median income for a family in 1980? 21,000.00 Annual. However, the consumer price index from 1977-1980 increased 13.5%. That means, basically (not precisely) that the item you bought in 1977 was 13.5% more expensive just 3 years later. Now this wasn’t everything of course but it was inflation that was out of control.

Enter 2021. Notice the housing market is hot? Have you been to Home Depot to buy some plants or fencing for your yard? Prices are on average 6.5% higher than 2 years ago (for many goods and services not all). Now this is a result of covid, plus people going back to work plus government stimulus. So we have the trifecta of an inflationary period, increased government subsidy (more money in the market) more people working (more money in the market) and industries shut down for extended periods.

Am I contagious?
High amount of money and less goods and services = costs rise.

That in essence is inflation. Inflation is a good monetary solution to one or both problems. Meaning if prices are going up, demand is high (or goods are in shortage) that induces economic activity in those areas. A deep freeze in Florida kills the orange crop, oranges go up in price. Everyone gets 1000 in cash from the government, you are willing to spend more for the oranges now because someone gave you more money to spend. That gives the person producing the oranges more money to reinvest in orange production, increasing the supply and driving the cost down, overtime.

The issue here is time. The simple examples I have given are all in the abstract of time meaning the end game, increased production of oranges as I exampled, could take years. Now if the money supply decreases (the gov stops sending stimulus) you still have to pay the higher price for the oranges. This ushers in the inflationary period. The other lever that mitigates this scenario is increased wages, this is likely to happen as more and more of the world opens up.

In the short term you should expect to pay more for goods and services. It is a sellers’ market so to speak and if you have a skill or service that is in demand (construction, physical labor, lawn care etc.) this is an opportunity for you to make a lot of money. On the flip side, things you want are going to start costing more. That coffee you love every morning? The trucking company delivering to your shoppe is paying more in gas now, it’s likely that cost will transfer to how much your coffee costs.

Inflation is the reality of a good economy going through a natural ebb and flow. It’s not fun when things go up in price, unless you’re the one selling the item and making more money. I believe we are entering into an inflationary period, many of you have never seen it and will wonder what the hell is going on. $3.00 a gallon for gas? Very likely. Remember to keep an eye on your spending and keep an eye on wages for your chosen profession. It’s likely that as costs go up, so will wages but you must be willing to leverage your skill set (and possibly move jobs) to make more to mitigate the costs.

I think we are heading for a good period for workers, things are opening up and there will be good jobs to be had. The down side is inflation is starting to creep in and it’s been so low for so long I don’t think we can escape it this time.

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien… Again…

Yes, it’s time for another piece of wisdom from J.R.R. Tolkien the creator of the wonderful world of Middle Earth, or as most identify it as “The Lords of the rings”. Tolkien’s frame of reference for his writings are anchored in perhaps the most horrific time in human history. He fought in WWI, then there was the Spanish flu, then the great depression, then WWII. To have all that calamity and still be able to muster grand stories of triumph and hope are a testament to his sprit

To the wisdom…

“The treacherous are ever distrustful.” The Two Towers Gandalf

How does this apply to us now and what can we glean from this quote? First we have to acknowledge “The treacherous”. Treachery is a unique word as it is of course a negative connotation but its meaning, and why it’s so negative is the active pursuit of deception and betrayal. This of course can only be achieved once trust is given. Simply put you can’t be deceived by someone you don’t trust and that’s why it’s so sinister.

So what is he telling us here, its literal of course but it is so hard to enact because we want to believe the people we have given trust to deserved it and are worthy of it. If someone has committed treachery against you, you can’t trust them again.

Extreme? Perhaps but trust is a remarkable gift to give. It leaves you wide open to all sorts of potentially negative (and positive outcomes). For those in our lives who accept this trust and don’t betray it we usually have fantastic and robust relationships with them.

Sadly, we all have stories of someone we trusted that betrayed that trust, however minor. That is treachery and this is the lesson Tolkien is trying to instill. Giving your trust to someone else is a tremendous gift, perhaps the greatest one you can give. If someone betrays it, that gift should not be given to them again.

Trust is your most valuable personal asset.

Never trust again? No that’s not what he is saying here. If you are betrayed, you can never fully trust that person again. It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet why do we do it? How much forgiveness have you extended in your life? How many times has your trust been betrayed?

Be mindful of whom you give this gift to, many who are treacherous do so for selfish reasons and not intending to harm you at all. That’s what makes the treachery that much more painful, they never thought of you as highly as you thought of them, you never had their trust, but they had and used yours.

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5 Tips to being a great husband

I read all over the web about MGTOW, and how marriage rates are down. This post isn’t advocating for marriage, relationships etc., you do you. This post is for the men out there who have already decided to make the commitment to marriage. Yes, it is a legally binding contract, yes a valid argument can be made that marriage has minimal benefits (legally) for men. I’m not going to dispute that or debate it here. I am going to impart to you 5 things you can do to be a great husband.

  1. Fix things: I know this sounds ridiculous and or perhaps antiquated. That said if there is something around the house (A loose door knob, a squeaky door) fix it. Not handy? No problem, You Tube is full of how to videos. I just replaced the toilet in my house, I followed a you tube vid worked out well. Your spouse will love this and the most important factor to this tip being successful is you taking the initiative to do it, not being asked.
  2. Conduct yourself honorably: I know another antiquated notion. Here’s the thing, you got the girl but why? Let me guess you think it’s your magic penis right? It isn’t (most likely) it’s more likely you got the girl because of your ethics and moral compass. Women are like men in this sense, they love physical attraction. Unlike men, women use other metrics to gauge if you are a compatible long term partner. Your ethics and morals are paramount because what she will see is how you model each to others and specifically children. There is no greater “hook” for a long term relationship with a woman then to confirm to her you will be an excellent role model for your children.
  3. Respect: This should go without saying but what does it mean really? This goes for anyone really but respect, once earned, should be freely given. Simply put, your contributions to a household are no more important (or less) then your spouses. You may value things differently, but you have to respect each other’s values and contributions equally. As an example, if the house is dusty and you don’t really care but your wife does dismissal is a nonstarter. I’m not saying jump up and dust but devaluing what is important to others or trying to one up it, begins the long road of resentment and that leads to all sorts of bad outcomes.
  4. You have to clean: I know this is a horrible revelation. I hate cleaning, I truly do but you want to be a great husband? You’ll clean. I don’t mean you exclusively, I’m not talking about a maid service but you do have to wipe counters, you do have to sweep the floor, you do have to clean the toilet. Every time? No of course not. Regularly? Yes. A house is like a small business and everyone has a role to play. Maybe your role is yard work, okay fine but cleanliness is critical and you have to do it. Don’t be taken advantage of here, but engage more and just do it.
  5. Maintain great hygiene: This is probably the one on the list that seems the most ridiculous. Do you remember before you got married the hygiene regimen you went through? I bet you’re not doing that now are you? That doesn’t mean bathe in cologne every morning but it does mean hands clean, teeth cleaned regularly, keeping the bush trimmed, nose hairs clean, hair cut fresh, clothes changed daily and laundered. I know all this sounds ridiculous but let me tell you something…. You maintain a robust hygiene regimen and women will notice you. Your wife will not only notice so wont her friends and your female relatives. I can’t tell you how impactful, putting forth effort to looking good will have in your life and relationships, yes even 20+ years in.

None of these are full proof. None of these may work at all or one of them might make all the difference in the world. Your spouse should be putting forth effort as well and as you start to work on yourself and these items you will see clearly if that effort is there. You should talk about it, work on it but never accuse or assail… You take care of your poop first and things often have a way of going in a positive direction.

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Blog Update: Cool Milestone, April review and a few other bits

So I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who has come by and spent some of their time on this blog. We recently passed 10K hits! I know that’s actually not a lot, some of you have blogs that get that many hits in a month. It’s a big deal for me. I am a one man show, I produce all the content on this blog and it’s just a great milestone, thank you.

April was a tough month for me personal and for the blog in terms of visits and views. It’s funny how when things in life permeate into all aspects of what you are doing. April was really the first month in a long time where I was just stuck in a serious anxiety rut. I was hiding in my “office” at home, exhausted from the winter (we had bad weather here all of April basically). Stressed about work, had medical issues it was just bad.

The content here reflected that and so did the visits and views. As this is my little corner of the blogosphere it’s all on me. I am hopeful that May will bring the renewal spirit that deep spring should. I still enjoy blogging and I am committed to “A Gen X Point of View”. Thank you for sticking by me and the blog. Your continued support and willingness to share my blog with others has really helped the site grow, I sincerely appreciate it.

A few other bits….

So it’s no secret that the content here varies, I am breaking a cardinal rule of online content creation. I am not honing in and focusing on a niche. I understand that, it’s part of the evolution of me as a content creator. There are a lot of things I would like to write about and while I am committed to continuing my work as a good resource for anxiety issues, I have and will continue to expand on the subjects I cover. I realize many people are here because they consume posts on anxiety, stress and depression. I am committed to writing about those subjects, I hope the other topics I cover will interest you as well.

This blog was never meant to be a commercial endeavor, meaning I am not, and don’t intend to sell you anything at any point. Sure I want lots of followers, yes I want more likes, you bet I want more interaction but those are hoped for outcomes here. In the end this blog is my outlet into the larger world, from my small rural New England town. I always hoped that people who read these pieces did so because they appreciated my perspective and “take” on the subject matter. I still hope that is the case going forward.

I am so thankful you are here, and thankful that you are on this journey with me. For now, the “A Gen X Point of View” blog will continue on much as it has for the first few months of 2021. It’s funny to say this now but 2020 was an easy year to blog, there was A LOT of material to talk about. There still is, but it’s less targeted in my view. Simply put, as a content creator I find it challenging to adhere to the “script” of successful blogging. Find a niche, become an expert. I am interested in so much more and while doing that would have propelled this blog to higher statistical counts in many areas it would have become another job.

I don’t know where the blog is going to land and thats a good thing for me as the creator. I know I want to talk more about men’s issues, finance, anxiety, weight loss. Where ever this journey takes me, thank you for sticking with me and this blog, I truly appreciate it.

Reintegration fears

The vaccine has been out now for a while, millions of people have been vaccinated (myself included) it’s now time to discuss materially reopening a reintegration back to the way things used to be. Yes, that means removing mask mandates, restrictions on gathering, penalties and the vast government dip into its citizen’s civil liberties.

As more and more vaccines happen it becomes harder and harder to make the argument for quarantine protocols. At some point we are all going to have to agree, regardless of where you fall on Covid, that it’s time to move back to a pre covid world. For those of us with anxiety? That’s another potentially crippling outcome. It’s not the fear of reintegration exclusively, its everything else that goes with it. I found a good article here that talks about some of these issues.

From the article: “Fear is normal. You and I are supposed to fear the virus because it’s dangerous. The difference, however, in terms of developing a psychopathological response is whether you end up behaving in … overly safe ways that lock you into the fear,” said Spada. “My expectation is we’re going to have … chunks of the population that are avoiding re-engagement and constantly worrying about the virus for months to come, whether they are vaccinated or not.”

This has the potential to be a serious issue not just for those who are in fear of reintegration but for everyone else who is striving to return to normalcy. There is no “new normal” only normal and the problem has always been what is normal for you might not be normal for me. I’m not proposing that anyone’s fears, or desire to get things back to normal are wrong. What I am saying is we potentially have a large chunk of the world population who will be living in fear for years to come.

Fear is devastating, regardless of the source.

Is it irrational? Not to them and that’s why we all have to do the best we can to make sure we create the safest environment possible. The quickest way to achieve this is getting the vaccination. I am no vaccine advocate I don’t believe personally that anyone should be forced to do anything. That said Covid has taken on a social and political life of its own and when you argue (whatever side you are on) over the solution it makes it extremely difficult to move forward.

There will always be people who chose to live in fear. There will always be people who have no choice but to live in fear because of their anxiety. There will always be people who will never accept government mandates. It’s never going to be perfect and there is always going to be risk. Covid has made many entities (media, pharmaceutical companies) way too much money to ever go away completely.

That said we can do our part one person at a time. If you can get vaccinated it, do it. If you can help someone get vaccinated do it. At some point in the future so many people will be vaccinated the fear should subside. Something else will present itself, it always does but for now, if you are still in fear you have my empathy. Many of us are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, things are getting better you have to prepare for the next phase, reintegration.

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Paganism? What is the Maypole

Paganism? What is the Maypole

Yesterday was “May Day” a throwback to our ancestor’s celebration of spring and the Maypole. Most of us have heard of this, and it’s likely if you haven’t heard of the Maypole specifically somewhere in your culture you have a spring festival that celebrates the season and hopes for (and prays for) a fruitful spring and growing season.

Is it Pagan though? Well yes and know. Like many holidays now, they are derived from rituals in the past which, were for all intent in purposes continuations of customs from our pagan ancestors. Prior to monotheistic religious beliefs there were several gods and goddesses the world over. I know it sounds silly now doesn’t it? Thousands of years from now maybe our religions will be silly to, as a wise man once said, todays religion is tomorrows myth….

Link to Specifics “The origin of May Pole dancing dates back to the Pagan times, and the Maypole was basically a phallic symbol. Trees have always been the symbol of the great vitality and fertility of nature.  May Pole dancing was therefore strongly associated with fertility. Traditionally May Pole Dancing was performed by the young girls from the Medieval villages as part of the May time celebrations. The History of the Maypole and May Pole dancing was connected with both the Druids, Wiccans and the Romans. May 1 was an important date for the Druids as this was when the festival of Beltane held. Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season and was celebrated by lighting fires. Wiccans celebrated by dancing round a Maypole and choosing a May Queen. Then the Romans came to occupy the British Isles. The beginning of May was also an important feast time for the Romans which was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers when the Festival of Floralia was held. Over time the traditions and rituals of the Floralia were added to those of the Beltane culminating in May Pole dancing, which is still carried out to this day.”

They were more then “cool” symbols to your ancestors, most likely.

Maypole dancing of course requires a maypole so they are directly correlated in that regard. So we have druids, wiccans and romans tied to it, all of which are pagans. Of course “may day” historically is a celebration of a season, and as we do today people decorated, danced, sang, drank, met with friends and celebrated life. Many of the celebrations and rituals we have today harken back to our pagan ancestors. Did you have a Maypole in your area? Did you visit it? Did you dance around it and say a prayer?

Maybe next year it would be a cool unique think to do. IT doesn’t mean you are anti religion or a bad person, you are just celebrating a symbol that has been celebrated for thousands of years. Fertility, spring, rebirth, new life, trees waking up, flowers blooming, the sun is higher, the temperature is warmer, why not celebrate that?

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Quick Financial tip: “are there any discounts available?”

As you know we do finance pieces on this blog from time to time. Please remember that any financial advice you receive here is strictly my opinion based on years of experience, before making any financial decision you should do your own research and become as educated as possible to ensure you make the right decision for you.

“Are there any discounts available?”

Money is extremely important, save it where you can!

You’d be surprised how many are, and equally surprised at how many people never ask. Many people feel uncomfortable asking for a discount when they are making a purchase. I understand believe me I do, but there are a lot of discounts you can get just by asking at the register. Here is another thing to keep in mind, the person behind the register isn’t the “company” they are normal people like you and me. They like discounts too and most people, if they can will give you one.

There may be a sale going on you weren’t aware of, there may be a specific product rebate you weren’t aware of. That’s actually part of a cashier’s job in a retail setting. It’s not just to take your money or up sell you, it’s to ensure you cash out is a positive experience so you will want to come back soon and buy more. Part of how they do that is getting you available discounts. Now will some people give you attitude when you ask? Yes. Aren’t they already giving you attitude though? I mean unfriendly cashiers are unfriendly regardless, so might as well ask.

Will this work every time? No. Will this work more often than you think? Yes. Even online shopping, look at the checkout menu, there is often a “coupon” or “discounts” button click it! Having anxiety sucks, and asking people for things is often uncomfortable, but saving money to help with your financial freedom later down the line is one of the most empowering things you can do now to help your anxiety later.

Do it, ask if there are any discounts available.

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The Vaccine knocked me out

So I got my second vaccine shot Monday and it wrecked me by Monday night. My wife is an RN and fortunately when patients cancel she is able to distribute that unused vaccine to family and friends, once its opened it has to be used. We are lucky in that regard, the vaccine itself? First shot my shoulder was very sore. Second really knocked me out, shivering, flu like symptoms. I was warned this would happen but it literally took me out of action on Tuesday which is the day I usually write Wednesdays and Fridays posts for this blog.

Its late Tuesday night as I write this (about 1:30 AM so technically Wed morning) I still feel like shit. Im glad I got the vaccine and glad my family has the ability to have access. Believe me I am not discounting this given how many people want it and cant get it. I will survive of course I just need to sleep but cant I am so cold.

To be blunt this blog has been in a rut for a month or two which is mainly because I have been in rut. I am, for lack of a more eloquent phrase, having a shitty April. Lots of small things have happened that have contributed to me being unhappy and depressed. Now this vaccine effect has kicked in and I’m blah. I will have an opportunity to write on Thursday which is good news and hope to pull myself out of these doldrums.

Go figure, the guy who writes a blog that has hundreds of posts on anxiety, stress and depression is depressed…..

Just a couple of good nights sleep, that’s all I need.

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A quick note about this blog

This isn’t a formal post today more of an informational piece about this blog. Recently I have received a few offers to have sponsored content. I vetted the sources and they seem legitimate and not phishing scams, as best I can tell anyway. I appreciated it, but made clear to those who inquired this isn’t a commercial blog. I am not doing this for financial gain, you don’t (and wont) see ads on this blog. There is no sponsored content etc. Product endorsements? If I like something I will talk about it but wont do paid endorsements.

Many people blog to make money or as a side hustle, that’s cool you do you. For me? This is just my corner of the blogosphere. I post what I want, how I want, when I want. Sponsored content won’t happen here, ads won’t happen (I won’t put them on anyway). This blog will always be free for anyone who wants to read it and interact with it, that includes all past content. The only way I would ever monetize this blog is having something like a patreon where if people wanted to support they could, all voluntary. That isn’t happening anytime soon either.

If you subscribe, like and comment on this blog I truly appreciate it. I hope this blog is a small piece of the web you can enjoy a few minutes out of your day free of commercials or etsy’s, or ads or “buy my hat” pitches… It’s “A Gen X Point of View” and you are welcome here, regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion. No purchase required, no catches, no strings attached.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac.

How I helped create a survival fund for “her”

This is a story from my personal history, I will not name names or give too much specific detail. Before I go too far into the post, I want to say clearly if you know someone who is being abused help them. Don’t shrug it off, or bury it, even if it’s an acquaintance.

At one point in my life, a family member of mine was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. Many of us knew, but not the depth of how far it went but that’s another story. I was approached at a family gathering by “her” and another relative. They knew I was in finance and they needed help. I assumed they were going to ask me for money, but what they asked was entirely different.

“Can you help –her- get to a point where she can leave”

It may not be a perfect quote and honestly thinking back what I recall most was “her” eyes and face. She was so sad, hurt, broken and I felt helpless. I really didn’t know what to say or do, I knew what the issue was but here it was in my lap, I was asked to help and get involved. I remember my Father telling me once “don’t get involved in other people’s marriages” and you know he was right. However, there are exceptions to every rule, I thought to myself I just found one.

What happened next took 2 years. Yes, it was a long journey for all of us. I’m not going to lie and tell you I was on the edge of my seat with worry or panic. I know that’s not heroic but its honest. I was asked to help, not to press or make things worse, there were children involved. I wanted to call the police, I was told emphatically no. I was, in a tough spot emotionally. I wanted to do more but if I did, things would have been 10 times worse, at least that’s what I tell myself to feel better now, I don’t know.

“she” is one tough lady, and I admire her so much. Before we go on to much further let me say “she” and her kids are great now, things worked out well. So what did I do exactly? Well mostly what I was asked:

  1. I took her to a bank and set up an account for her. We did it without the husband, normally thats impossible because these POS are control freaks but I was family, it wasn’t unusual for me to see “her” from time to time.
  2. I made ATM deposits for “her” as often as I could.
  3. I kept all of it a secret from our family. A notable caveat, I told my wife because I respect her and that’s a secret you shouldn’t keep in a marriage. There was no way an affair could be suspected due to my family ties with “her”
Enough
I dont know how “she” managed for years like this, but “she” did it.

No I didn’t fund it. At the time I was raising my own kids and making ends meet I don’t have a lot of spare cash. Did I round up an 80.00 deposit to 100.00? ya. We finally got to a point where “she” had accumulated 10,00.00 in cash. He didn’t know because I was making the deposits. Statements? Went to a PO Box I set up for her couple hundred bucks not hard. He had no idea, and yes for those 2 years’ things carried on for them much the same.

Let me say this here, this was not a blood bath. No I am not trying to justifying anything but not every day was abuse, the majority were quiet. However, “she” lived in fear and I had to live with knowing that I couldn’t do as much as I wanted, it was her request and I was going to be dammed if I put her and her kids in harm’s way. So 2 years in with 10K in the bank, we go out to lunch, husband doesnt suspect anything. A typical pompas ass clueless moron who was so sure of himself, I wanted to hurt him badly it really was one of the hardest things Ive done, not do more. That must sound ridiculous, I cant explain it really.

Instead we put a first, last, and security deposit down on a 2 bedroom apt hours away. The landlord was someone we were referred to as understanding the plight of those who are abused. He did everything he could to keep her location a secret. 2 weeks later we went to a lawyer’s office who is sympathetic to abuse victims.

We used the rest of the money for a retainer, and within 2 weeks “he” was in handcuffs and charged with domestic battery. Things were hairy after that for a little while, until his new reality sunk in and “he” realized things were going to get real for him. He became an angel, got help, cleaned up, straightened up and by all accounts has done the best he can to make things better for “her”. No she didn’t take him back, yes he did –some- time.

The worst part was the 2 years. It’s one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I wasn’t perfect, I did the best I could with the hand I was dealt. We all came out a little stronger for it I suppose. If you know someone who is being abused do the most you can for them, and do the best you can for them, but never do nothing.

Ugh….