Tuesday, March 18, 2008

US dollar anyone?

Bear Stearns was one of the top investment banks since the property market boom and to see it collapsed and selling off its worth for pennies on the dollar really makes one think about the financial state of banks, investment companies, securities and stocks of every company that our 401K might have a hold on and finally the federal treasury of this country. Can there always be a bail out for each and everyone or do we the public have finally realize that the American Dream is not all that attainable anymore?

When I first set foot here 7 years ago, I have the perception that everyone is living their American Dream. With their flashy SUVs and colonial style houses with green lawn more vast than the houses itself and equipped with its own sprinklers, makes me wonder if the US dollar really can buy all these luxuries. To someone like us who just arrived from Japan where rents for apartments is set with reference to how many Tatami spread are in the rooms and usually not exceeding an area of 800 sq. ft , paying 2/3 of the price in Japan for a 1,200 sq. ft with 2 bathrooms in America seems to be reasonable then. And thanks to Wal-mart, I learned the term of globalisation and how we came to depend on "Made in China" goods to accomodate our everyday needs from clothings to closets, DVD players to household electronics and simply everything that we use in our American home. The convenience of the plastic card just amazes me and soon enough I was caught up with its convenience of 'Spend and Enjoy First, Pay Later' philosophy.

7 years later, there seems to be a reversal of fortune. The globalisation effect seems to favor the other side of the trade alliance when China's economy is booming and developing in full swing from property to industries. And India is no longer famous only for its Bollywood films and answering Customer Call Centers for American companies when it is producing more millionaires and ventures in high tech technology development. While here in America, all we hear is economy is slump, companies are retrenching, costs of goods are up due to rising gas prices and foreclosures and bankruptcies are affecting millions of homeowners. Even Curry's company has changed hands twice and sometimes I can't even recall the name of his new company! In terms of the currency market, the US dollar is weak in comparison to the Euros and British Sterlings and recently, Japanese Yen even seemed more stable. The ever so obliging Canadians must be smiling their way down the border to shop as their dollar is at par with their American counterpart these days.

Well, maybe the term American Dream was aptly meant to be a 'dream' only. I was naive to believe that those people with big houses and cars were rich when infact they stretch their monthly payments of mortgages and loans over a longer period of repayment with more hefty interest rates than mine. I don't mean to be a sour grape but infact I find that some people do bite more than they can chew. Although I live in a small house with no private lawn of my own but only a small front yard and sharing the backview with my neighbors, I still live realistically, being comfortable and complacent with what I have and able to stash away some of my dollars for rainy days. Although I would love to drive a red Mercedes, my soccer mom Mini van still serves my need and I can wait till the day Prince D buys me one when he gets through college with all the money we save up for him!!! I might be tempted to be chic, shopping at Banana Republic and Nordstrom only but I really don't have the need for high heels nor flattering clothings anymore. I am just proud when Missy E said she couldn't use her piggy bank money because she has put them away!

Overall, America is still a good place to live as long as we don't overspend and over indulge. Economy will go up and down as it is a cycle of how resources are used to make supply and wealth is distributed to meet demand. Aiming for an equilibrium can only be a theory when there is always one party who has to give for another to receive. Perhaps the US dollar is not at the helm now but the green money is still the most recognized and widely accepted currency around the globe. In my view, as long as one knows how to stretch his dollar and keep the change, he will get through the economic roller coaster whenever it decides to roll.


crazymommy said...

Ya, thank goodness we didn't get a big house, if not... i thk really have to eat grass every day!!

BTW, the green $ is not as popular now with the Chinese. My parents just came back from China and told me that it is hard to get the Chinese to accept US$. They prefer Euro now.

Lily Anette said...

traitors!!! Must have forgotten US$ gave them their factories!!!