This is my first post. I have been a reader of TOS for over 10 years and discovered this thread not long after it started. i am finding it fascinating. Thank you to everyone who contributes.
I am female, early 50's, married, with no children. We have downsized to a small flat, with a small mortgage and both work part-time. My husband is a care-worker and I work part-time in fashion retail and have also started as a self employed cleaner for apartment blocks. We have both always worked, and are cautious/balanced with money and have small private pensions. We live modest lifestyles and are not likely to be wealthy.
This morning, having read the last few pages of this thread, I have been thinking about our own personal finances and jobs, with regards to what may be coming down the pipeline and discussed the situation with my husband and how we can best prepare for it.
interestingly, my husband says he has never experienced a boom or a bust in his personal finances. He says he only knows if there is a boom or a bust in the economy from reading the newspaper headlines. I on the other hand have always been very aware of booms and busts and can "sense" when things are changing or aren't right.
We compared our jobs / career choices, which is interesting. He has always worked for non-business organisations, such as a gardener for a council, a sports groundsman for two public schools, a private gardener (full time!) for a very wealthy family. He is currently a currently a care worker for people with learning disabilities and loves it.
I on the other hand have mainly worked for businesses, which have all struggled or gone bust and therefore have been very aware of economic cycles.
- I have seen the 80's boom, living in London at the time and witnessed the rise of the "Yuppie" and the "Loadsamonies"
- Then I graduated straight into the 1990's recession, witnessed a slow jobs market, high interest rates (10% +) and low property prices. iWe bought a 50% share in a 1 bed flat with a 9% mortgage interest rate. Many of our neighbours in the flats had negative equity and when they had children, couldn't afford to move up the chain to a house so lived in flats for several years until the housing market picked up again and they had positive equity in their flats.
- Saw the next boom before the 2009 Credit Crunch,
- Saw the slower economy afterwards and then the last few years with the Brexit uncertainity.
I have worked in retail on and off and as a Sales Assistant I have noticed that towards the end of a boom, some, (not all), "wealthy" "middle class" people become quite obnoxious, treat sales assistants appallingly and have an entitled mentality, demanding discounts even when you aren't in a position to give one. When a crash happens, these people disappear, what happened to their "money"? I am guessing it was all bought with credit cards??
In the last few months I have noticed a rise in "entitled" attitudes. They are always expecting shops to be on sale. If they don't get a discount on the item they want, they won't buy the item and walk off in a huff.
On an off over the last 30 years I have worked for Fashion Retailers as a Sales Assistant. I have seen retail change so much. In the 1980's and 90's Sales Assistants jobs were usually full time. Now they are mostly part-time with small contracts, 4,12,16 hours. It is rare to get a 20 hour contract. Retailers want total flexability from their staff, to be at their beck and call when they need them. I remember saying to one Manager a few years ago how it was unrealistic to expect to hire someone on the basis of giving them a 4 hour contract and not allow then to work for someone else. 4 hours would pay you about £30 a week and no-one could survive on that.
Until last year, I worked for a privately owned so called "middle class "lifestyle" fashion retailer. (100+ stores) I am still in touch with old colleagues who say redundacies amongst junior Managers are currently being made and all Sales Assistants are having to reapply for their jobs, with a reduction in contract hours.
I currently work part-time for another retailer, a lower end private fashion retail chain (100+ stores). Obviously, like elsewhere, sales have dropped and the Owners/Managers are worried. For a 6 week period my Store Manager who is 27, is now having to join in on weekly 1.5 hour conference call with the owner who is looking for ways to improve the business. Many of the customers are baby-boomers, 60+ who are used to spending money on clothes every week and own huge amounts of clothing. It is going to be interesting when that age group passes away. The company is targeting the younger woman in their 30's and 40's, but they don't shop in the week as they are busy working full-time to pay off huge mortgages. They may shop online at work, but even online sales seem to be dropping off. The Baby-boomer grandparents also provide free childcare which will also come to an end in the next 10 years as they pass away.
There is a definate change in the air.
in the last year, in preparation for what is coming we have taken on an allotment, to grow our own food, which I think we will be glad of in the coming years. We have nearly paid of any non-mortgage debt and I am avidly following this thread. Yes, cashflow will be king in the years ahead as will be being part of a strong community network who can help each other out.
Sorry so long, I have so much more to say, as the voice of an ordinary working class person, but my husband wants his laptop back.