Thursday, May 13, 2010

State of the Economy according the BMWJAMAGEH

I haven't done one of my 'State of the Economy' blogs for awhile. The stores have been coasting along, which is just what I want. I can't tell you have long I've waited for the stores to "coast." To me it's a sign of strength we continue to pay our bills without struggling.

Probably too much to hope for vast improvement. Staying even is probably pretty good.

We've beaten the previous year for 7 out of the last 8 months -- but, frankly, that ain't saying much. Those 8 months last year were about as slow as they could get, barring a complete meltdown. And if there is a complete meltdown, we're all in the sh%ts.

I went a little crazy with orders in early April. There was a whole lot of stuff offered on 'sale' from my suppliers. But it looks as though I'll have the credit cards paid off in full again by July 1.

July 1 is going to be fresh start. I've been aiming for it for quite a while. I've been trying to fashion a budget that I can live with, that will keep the store humming, AND turn a nice profit. That potential has been there a long time now, but I simply haven't been disciplined enough to take advantage of it.

I was very disciplined when the Bear Stearns went down, but I kept some of my expenses for a year (mainly, a full time manager). Then, with the 2008 collapse, I got even more disciplined for another year.

Since Sept. of last year, I started to relax a little bit. Take time off. Restock the store.

So July 1 is another watershed moment. A generous budget that doesn't strain my discipline too much but will still produce results.

I still think, in my more objective moments, that we have another 2 or 3 years before we start seeing significant growth. Nationally, I think there were be a 'crisis' on a regular basis; a unexplained Wall Street crash; a Greece; an oil slick. The CRE situation is still out there; one headline read; "STRUGGLING COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE HELPLESSLY WAITS AROUND FOR THE SLAUGHTER OF 2010." Yikes.

The urge to hope -- to think -- to wish for things to get better fast is irresistible, but probably not going to happen. CACB keeps on trying to boost their stock, only to have it fall back. Downtown Bend keeps filling it's space, but I think I see signs that at least some of the existing stores aren't exactly booming. The local media continues to try to trumpet any small uptick. (64 building permits versus 43? Try 64 permits versus 287 just 3 years ago....)

It's not time to get ahead ourselves. It's still a little dicey.

10 comments:

Duncan McGeary said...

I will say this, though. My 'fresh start' moments are always dangerous.

I'll plan and prepare to 'start' making money, and just as I hit the moment, it recedes.

Maybe I'm just superstitious, but that's the way it seems.

Duncan McGeary said...

Really, you wouldn't believe how often these 'pivot' moments have happened.

All I can think, is I subconsciously tap into some trend. I'll plan and prepare to start making money, and at that exact moment there is a paradigm change, and instead of making money, what I've really done is prepared the store for bad times.

I mean, the exact same things I do to make money are the things I would need to do in an abrupt downturn.

I suppose I should be glad I made the right decisions for the wrong reasons.

RDC said...

Keep in mind that so far this "recovery" is about as jobless as one can get the unemployment claims numbers seem to be sticking around 440,000. Down quite a bit from the peak, but still almost as high as the peaks seen in 1991 and 2001 recessions.

Also debt levels have not dropped. When you look at total public and private debt it has climbed significantly. Government have taken actions that have basically just kicked the can down the road and not solved the basic structural issues.

So while we have passed the banking collapse of last year, the core issues still remain and we will continue to have bubbles and crises until the more fundamental structural problems are addressed.

If they are not addressed then Greece may be the new normal with governments having increasing problems financing their debt loads and the corresponding periods of financial instability.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, that's what I meant to say.....

Duncan McGeary said...

The article on CRE "slaughter" was interesting; it made the case that people coming in and buying low, will subvert those who are locked into much higher rates. So the owner of one building is forced to charged a high rent, while the new guy can charge much lower rents,

Thus producing even more pressure, on down.

I'm sure the same thing is happening in the residential; though I'm not sure building a new house at lower costs would outweigh the downward pressure from foreclosures and short sales....

BENDBUST said...

yes, the only difference between Greece and the USA, is that the greek people are essentially good people.

both governments have debt close to their gdp, a recipe for civil war,

the greeks know how to live off the land,

the usa parasites have no fucking idea, ... guess which place has a safer future ...

regarding rdc's response, ... what pray tell can be done at this late point in the game? slow motion train wreck, ... smart-folks sold out a long time ago, ... that's why today #1 place to live is swizterland, ... too cold for me, ...

RDC said...

Bendbust,

As normal you are equating economic structural issues to armageddon. The dollar will survive, atleast during our lifetime. While there is certainly some expectation for higher unemployment and growth issues, the problems are certainly fixable.

The biggest issue facing Europe and the US is that there are tremdous differences in income between those areas and the rest of the world and that the advantages that keep those differences in place are fading. As such one cannot expect to have an increasing standard of living, without continuing to increase productivity and leveraging every competitive advantage that they have.

For example if you make $20,000 per year you are in the top 11% of all wage earners. If you make $40,000 you are in the top 3%. If you make $50,000 your are really rich by world standards and are in the top 1% of earners around the world.

BENDBUST said...

For example if you make $20,000 per year you are in the top 11% of all wage earners. If you make $40,000 you are in the top 3%. If you make $50,000 your are really rich by world standards and are in the top 1% of earners around the world.

*

Certainly, but you can't live in EURO-LAND on any of these amounts, that said, $20k in Asia would be a damn good lifestyle.

I'm not sure of your point. There will always be poor, and I'm certain, we'll except for DUNC, that everyone one of us here makes over $100k a year, ... dwelling on the have-nots, .. ahh well I forgot HBM, ...

I think my point is-was that the EURO is largely a ponzi pyramid scam, ...where in the zest to get new countrys on-board to float the paper and keep building the pyramid so those at the base could get a pay-back, ... that they took on basket cases like Italy and Greece, ... sheet they talked about Turkey of all places.

My point is so fucking what, Germany will fall back to the deutsch mark, ... so fucking what, ...

Regards the US DOLLAR I just said there would be new paper, on par, I doubt, ... but there will be new paper with 10 years. Will it hurt any of us? HELL no. These events always only hurt the little people, who are always in a state of pain anyway.

Yes, I'm a machivillian, so fucking what.

One last fucking thing, I think this WHOLE EURO debate is a straw-dog, after all at the end of the day, CALIFORNIA has bigger problems than what's going on in EURO-LAND. Oh, but we don't want to look in our own yard, .. do we.

Oryguns will survive, we always do, ... just keep shit simple, and diversify you cash, ... don't keep all your money in CACB :)

Lastly, I haven't heard a fucking person here defend my position that Bend is going to keep getting worse, ... come on how about some opposition.

Sorry RDC, but I used to live in Italy, and Greece, and I now live in Asia. I just don't see anything new anywhere.

Yes, slow-train wreck of course the dollar will not implode quick, its going to just be a slow painful death, that has continued since the 1970's, ... the dollar is going down, .. look at GOLD today at $1250, that 25% UP, which really has to be looked at the dollar down. Dollars are getting more worthless as we speak. Just a few months ago GOLD was $1,000.

I do think that GERMANY has a better track record with banking, hell the Canadians look like fucking geniasses these days, ... The USA looks like fucking clowns.

BENDBUST said...

The dollar will survive, atleast during our lifetime.

*

statistically rdc your talking about 10 years, ... ergo your saying the same thing as me :)

RDC said...

I expect to be alive a LOT longer then 10 years. There will be many cycles of strengthening and weakening as far as the dollar is concerned and it will still be the major currency for a long time.

The point is that the traditional hurdles for third world countries to compete for manufacturing and even R&D are now gone (infrastructure is being built, the level of education is competitive in many areas). Their incomes remain very very low by US standards. The end result is that jobs are going to those areas, and their incomes are increasing, but are still considerably lower then in the US.

As a result one cannot assume that just by living in the US, Europe or Japan that the high paying jobs will be there. The competition for jobs will increase and your competition is people for which $5or $10,000 is a fortune.