Your financial future, and the coming job market. Are you prepared?

I’m sure we all read the latest and greatest news about the world.  We hear of impending doom in Europe.  Our own economy here in the USA is less than desirable. And we see more and more jobs being lost to overseas countries.  My question is …. when does it stop?  When do we see the light at the end of the tunnel?

In my industry, Oil & Gas (production and pipeline), we have been as busy as we want to be, and we’re Damn Busy!  Compared to the rest of the economy, we are like icing on a less-than-desirable cake.  The sweet spot.  In fact, up until the BP Macondo incident, the economy was flying.  It still is for us (in O&G), but the financial markets are still acting indecisive.  If legislation postures itself more favorable to offshore drilling in Gulf waters, I believe we (the USA) will start improving (economically speaking) due to such.  The oil industry will “lead the way” (despite what any financial idiot on MSNBC or elsewhere might say is the reasons).  Example:  Was it just coincidence that the markets fell @ the time of BP’s big “Oooops?”  For me, even before the “spill” the charts were telling me otherwise.  I enjoyed a fine run from Aug. 2009 to Mar/Apr 2010.  And Schlumberger buying Smith International (my favorite) was the icing on [my] cake.

Before I get into the reason for this Blog post, I wanted to interject something about “personal investing and the markets.”  If you are in (or follow) an industry that is moving up, or booming (ex:  Oil & Gas), do you think it is a good idea to invest in such growth?  Even if just for the short-term?  (To me: short-term may mean 10 days to 1 month to even a year or 2)  Our business was booming and the money was coming in because our services were needed.  NOW!!!  Wouldn’t the smart money be investing into the hot industry or sectors?  (think about that one, and do some research in to the reasoning behind such)  If a salesman was selling products, services, support, etc. to a company that was showing tremendous growth, would he be market-savvy if he also invested some of his/her own money into that same growth (re: into the companies stock)..??  That’s a bit more of a “fundamental thinking” for me (I’m more technical) but it makes a ton of sense. Anyway, something to think about (wink, wink).  Why play a guessing game.

Okay.  The other day, I was listening to some people talk about a company that was farming out their “design work” to India.  Design work involves drafting and the related engineering and technical support.  That gave me a cold chill because it is the same thing that has happened to a lot of jobs that were once in the USA.  American workers are losing plenty because it can be done cheaper elsewhere.  If you are a 20 or 30-something, I would speculate that you – too! – will be in a spot you do not like as you get older.  Sure, I know that seems like light years away, but it’s something that will inevitably become a part of your life … soon enough.  Why not start looking into your options now.  Whether you do something about that or not is up to the individual.

If you have gone to school, and become a doctor, a lawyer, an Engineer (Mech, Process or ChemE) or any of the “professional titles” that will be needed in the next 10 to 30+ years, then you will enjoy being able to keep your job.  You should be able to avoid layoffs because of overseas competition.  You will be able to even start your own practice, if you so desire.  (Desire: being the keyword)  Otherwise?  I’d be real mindful of what ones job title is and whether you (think you) are irreplaceable or not.  Now, why am I promoting all this doom and gloom laced with some negativity?  Because …. if you are truly wanting to be the “King of your own court,” you should also be thinking of “How can I recession proof my life.”  How can I insure that, despite my job being sent overseas or eliminated all together, I make enough income? (especially if I don’t have a PhD or some other letters behind my name, which isn’t really a guarantee either unless you went to Stanford, MIT or other such schools)

  • Go back to school.  Seriously, get the right specialization needed to service those who will gladly pay for it.  Very handsomely too!  The Baby-boomers come to mind and they will need (fill in the blanks)  I’m at the tail end of the BBm’ers myself.  We will retire with tons of money (as a class) and tons of needs (as we get even older). Who will they pay?
  • Start your own business.  Something that will service the ones with the money – the rich – and something that they will NEED to keep doing what they do.  What are those types of business’?  I have my own short list, and everyday I look into something more that I would/will need to do, if such were to happen.  Even that may involve going back to school for specialized training … like “How to start and run a pizza delivery business for Dummies.”  (LOL) Probably a bit more comprehensive than that.

I probably didn’t think this post through as well as I’d have liked, but the reality of such happening in yours-mine-our lifetime will be very real.  Way back when my father and grandfather were working and into jobs that actually gave a retirement?  They didn’t have the same type of problems that are cropping up today.  Economies were different, and not the one-world economy in this New World Order type of society.  And trust me, it wasn’t because of the Republicans or Congress or many other reasons people can blame it on.  It is a natural process that is evolving at a faster pace than human society is used to seeing. It’s happening, like it or not.

Despite my weirdness even talking about that … the truth is that having a backup plan will be essential to make it comfortably into the future.  If you don’t, then you will not be “lucky” as those who did plan ahead will be.  Having a financial plan for saving and more is a good thing, but, what if your livelihood were to disappear?  Your saving?  Your job?  Would you go out and find any job you could find (because it was eliminated or farmed offshore)?  Would you suddenly say, “Flipping burgers isn’t a bad job after all?”  Meaning:  “I’ll take whatever I can find until “the right one” comes along.”  If one gets to that point, how lucky were they so far?  I never trust luck, especially when talking about my financial future.  I’d rather walk instead of talk.

This is something I think about all the time.  The “What If” factor in life.  If (this or that) happens, what will I do then to counter that?  Am I already prepared?  Do I know enough about (this or that) to make the change?  Can I survive the next speed bump?

When preparing for a hurricane, you don’t wait until it’s inevitable that you are going to be hit.  Instead, you plan ahead, just in case.  If it never comes and you are not affected in any way, then consider yourself lucky … kind of like we do here on the Texas Gulf Coast.  We get near misses (hurricanes) all the time, but “what if” one day we were to get that category 4 or 5 to come right down our pipe?  Were we prepared?  Or did we just think, “Naw, it won’t happen to me.”

Signing off, and thanks for reading.

The Frugalcheapskate / The Little Things DO Add Up!

P.S. – By the way, I do believe in the future and the American way.  There’s going to be numerous opportunities that are going to be available.  The government is not going to disintegrate into oblivion. those are words of someone who’d rather complain, instead of keep trying to make it work (for you).  No one says it will be easy.  But, you reap what you sow.  better to walk your walk, instead of (anything else).  Are you preparing for those opportunities?

At a job I had, the boss always used to tell us (in production meetings) that we are all connected in one way or the other.  But, “are you a part of the problem?  Or part of the solution?  Which is it going to be?”  Interesting words, indeed.

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