The Economy Will Be Just Fine: 40,000 People Can’t Be Wrong!

As the markets were melting down this past week I decided to go watch the World Champion San Francisco Giants beat up the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle of the day.  It’s quite a treat to watch every game this season because of our current world champ status.  Next season, we’ll be just another team, trying to figure out our way back to glory.

At $80 a ticket, access doesn’t come cheap, but with the ticket comes all you can drink cervezas.  Besides, 1pm games are the best on sunny days.  Might as well go!  When my friends and I got there, we were shocked.  The stadium was absolutely PACKED!  We are talking 40,000 people enjoying a baseball game in the middle of a work day.  See picture above.

I thought about it for a second and came to the realization that the reason why 40,000 people can spend on average $50 per ticket during the middle of the day is because despite the market meltdown, we all have job security or don’t need to work because we have the disposable income to spend.   With a sample set of 40,000, it’s obvious that the economy will be just fine and that unemployment is actually better than what the media drones on and on about.

Think about it.  If you were broke, you’d just stay at home or go to a bar and watch the game on TV for free.  If you were worried about your job, you wouldn’t ditch the afternoon to go watch a game.  You’d be working your tail off and trying to add value.  If you were unemployed, you aren’t sweating it because you’re getting $1,450/month in unemployment income for 99 weeks.  Spending $50 might be more wisely spent elsewhere, but it’s sunny, and it’s the SF Giants we’re talking about!

People have more money than you know.  Why else do you think companies like Apple, Prada, and Tiffany’s are doing so well?  I went to visit my friend’s new place this past weekend and it was awesome!  They had been living in a quaint 1,300 square foot apartment for the past several years and now own a 5 bedroom, 4,600 house on a half acre in one of the most prime areas for $3.3 million!  He said he wasn’t looking to buy, but couldn’t pass up such a good deal when he was able to sell some of his start-up company shares.  Not bad for a guy in his mid-30s just 5 years out of business school wouldn’t you say?

Don’t listen to media schadenfreude about how bad unemployment and the economy are.  They are just bitter they are tied to their desks and can’t come out and play.  I’ve got my finger on the buy trigger come flash crash, Moody’s/Fitch credit downgrade, banishment of US treasuries by foreigners and political gridlock.  And, I’ll bet you a hundred bucks that the rest of you are thinking the same thing as well.  Why?  Because you’ve got the cash baby!

Readers, do you believe the economy is better than perceived?  Do you have some some positive anecdotes you can share with the rest of us?  What could be some pessimistic viewpoints with my story for all you Debby Downers out there?

Best,

Sam

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. LifeAndMyFinances says

    Thanks for including my article in this post, Sam! I just thought it would be a life-changing experience if everyone had their net worth displayed for all to see! It’d be crazy, but I think people would start spending much differently! :)

  2. Mike Hunt says

    Good point, Sam- but I think you are living in an area of the country where things are really booming- surely that skews your viewpoint.

    -Mike

    • Financial Samurai says

      Don’t think so Mike. You’re doing great right?

      Thailand is still up for the year, and things seem good there with the nice prime minister.

      I don’t think the Bay Area is anything special. The millions of us here are a reflection of America.

    • Everyday Tips says

      I will say that Comerica Park in Detroit was packed when I was there last Friday too. Even though it wasn’t a day game, I still think a full stadium says something, and God knows that Detroit has been hit plenty hard by the economy.

      Either people can afford it, or they are spending foolishly. Not sure which answer is more accurate though.

      • Financial Samurai says

        I DEFINITELY think people can afford it! Think about it…. according to the media, Detroit has gotten BLITZED! But thanks to government bailouts and a good recovery in the economy, people are spending again.

        Always see what people do with their money, not what they say.

  3. krantcents says

    I think the economy is better than perceived, however I am somewhat insulated! My wife and I are in professions (RN & Teacher) that are more secure than others. My small world of friends are secure also, but they do not represent the typical person. It will take considerably more people to think it is getting better to actually make it better. Consumer confidence and more jobs will improve the economy.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Ah, but my point exactly! Not many folks would think being a teacher in this day of budget cuts is an insulated profession. But you do, and that’s all that matters! Teachers, nurses, etc are doing absolutely fine, because you say so, and you are a good sample set.

      • krantcents says

        Teaching is relatively safe compared to other professions. I went through the “layoff” process. I was RIFed (layoff notice), (layoff) rescinded, displaced and now I have a new assignment. Although individuality or merit does not matter in this system. I relied on my former skills to get a new assignment. There are still many who were not so “lucky”. I am not just sitting back because I do not think the crisis is over. I am taking CSET in math to get an additional credential in math.

  4. cashflowmantra says

    It seems like a decent indication and I understand what you are saying. Restaurants around here seem to be more busy on the weekends. I think frugal fatigue has set in, but I still don’t get the sense that there is a lot of optimism. I don’t feel all that optimistic myself but maybe that is just because the market has been languishing, and the debt ceiling debate took so long. Maybe we are losing people on the fringes. I am sure that many are doing fine and many are hurting. Is it because 70-80% of the population will always be OK that our views of the economy are skewed?

  5. Srinivas Rao says

    Sam.

    I couldn’t read this and not have something to say. It made me think back to something they talk about in the Landmark Forum. Our language that we use creates the world we live in. In fact you can’t have a human experience without words. I remember sitting at dinner the other night watching the news about the worst stock day in history since 2008 and I had a momentary thought of “damn this is going to suck.” But then I also thought, “sweet, even less incentive to look for a job and focus on making it on my own.” So I’d say that the more of the world that gets your message the better. Collectively the media has agreed that “the economy is a disaster.” Yet this is the same media that has influencing people to buy useless crap for years. So, maybe it’s time we stopped trusting them, and trusted our own instincts.

  6. Untemplater says

    I’ve always wondered who goes to ball games during the day on weekdays. I’m shocked the stadium was that packed! I certainly hope the economy doesn’t crumble to dust but the way the market has been acting lately, ugly times feel rather imminent. Chances are high it’ll be another year of crappy bonuses but that’s no surprise.

  7. Doug says

    I am coming from the other end who feels that the economy is worse then perceived.

    I know many people who are without jobs after working steadily for 30 years or more. I am working harder now, for the same amount that I was making over 20 years ago. I am making 25% of what I was making just five years ago. My wife, son and I now look forward to the $1.29 Wendy’s value meals. I am paying more for gasoline, electricity, health insurance and food then ever before. I have totally cut out all “nice to haves” from my life and there is no such thing as disposable income anywhere in my pockets.

    I am glad that others (40,000 plus) are able to enjoy nice things such as baseball games and other fun stuff and I hope that all of them can continue to do so but I am certainly not one of them and know that many others are in the same or a worse situation than me.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Hi Doug, thanks for your perspective. May I ask though… if the people you know, who have worked for 30 years, wouldn’t they be pretty well off after 30 years of saving and investing? The compounding effect would be incredible.

      I had $2 In N Out burger this weekend, and it was so yummy.

      • Doug says

        Hi Sam,

        Some of them were certainly smarther than others when it came to saving their money. Many of them have money for retirement but are still too young to retire. Some of theose people have been out of work since 2007 and have only had odd jobs or unemployment income since then and used up some or all of their retirement money. The other problem is many of these people had families to support with kids in college and were already stretching themselves thin to make ends meet. Many of the people out of work were using their unemployment money to pay for health insure for their kids.

        I have to admit, sometimes those really cheap fast meals do taste good.

  8. World of Finance says

    Interesting perspective, but I’m sure some of the people that were there were spending their money foolishly. Although, I do think that the news blows a lot of economic problems out of proportion. It’s too much opinion these days and not enough fact checking…..

  9. Marie at FamilyMoneyValues says

    Thanks for including my guest article over at Invest It Wisely!

    I like your optimism but I’m not sure that a stadium full of people willing to part with at least $50 each is a good indication of how the economy is going. We had a lot of people willing to take on huge house loans back in 2005 – 2007 and look where that took us!

    I’m just hoping the market recovers and moves ahead in the next 8 years before I have to start taking RMD’s!

  10. My University Money says

    I agree with you on the broader level that the economy will definitely be fine Sam, but do you think there is any truth to the idea that there were 40,000 people at the game because several of them paid with credit that they will now suffer under? Credit card debt, HELOCs, etc, explained how the US consumer was able to hit above their already considerable weight class, is this just one more example of that type of spending?

  11. youngandthrifty says

    LOL I actually “LOL’d” when I read “does a bear poop in the woods”. I think in summary, I learned (from that post and the comments) that financially independent women are a turn on, but we must not rub it into our guys. Just like Jessica Alba doesn’t seem to rub it into Cash Warren that she’s actually really hot and can leave him in a heart beat if she wanted to… :)

  12. Brave New Life says

    I think the economy is in very bad shape as a whole, but in pockets it’s fine. For example, my industry is fine and I have absolutely no concerns about my job security. It seems you’re in a similar position.

    The market, however, is overpriced and what we’re seeing occur the past 6 days could be predicted. S&P P/E is still over 20, which it has never historically maintained. That doesn’t mean all stocks are over-priced, but certainly many are.

  13. Little House says

    I’m an optimist mixed with a touch of realist; I’d say you’re half right. 20,000 of those people might be fighting frugal fatigue and decided the heck with 50-bucks! The other half might truly be just fine and dandy. In the long run, our economy will be just fine, but I think that’s still a long way off.

  14. Darwin's Money says

    This will sounds terrible, but sometimes I’m annoyed at how crowded something is when the economy’s supposed to be so terrible. Like, we went to Disney this year and it was crowded as hell – on an off week (no holiday, kids in session). I was like, “I thought the economy sucks!” Same with a mall or restaurant or the fact that contractors don’t even return calls to do work in our area. And our pool company doesn’t return calls because they’re too busy – how many people are putting in pools this summer if the economy sucks so bad? We don’t even live in a hot economic zone. It’s always interesting to see which parts of the economy truly suffer in a downturn and which ones don’t. Evidently, sports franchises hold up OK!

    • Financial Samurai says

      What you say is kinda my point. If things are really that bad, why are things so packed and busy? Something is not right here.

      Watch what people DO with their money, not what they say.

  15. libby says

    i agree that there are pockets of people suffering this downturn. i know with my bf his mom/dad/sister are layed off. the first two years ago and the last 2 months ago. i dont know how they will pay their mortgage this year.

  16. Maggie@SquarePennies says

    Is it a situation of the haves and the have-nots? If we had 20% unemployment (just for the sake of argument) those 20% probably would not be at the game. Would the 80%? No. What’s the population of the Bay metropolitan area? 40,000 people are what %-age of that? I think lots of people have discretionary money, but that doesn’t mean a significant %-age of the population doesn’t have it tough.

  17. Natalie @ Mango says

    You know, I almost hate to admit it, but I see stuff like this all the time. And yes, yes, I keep hearing that stocks are falling, markets are simply imploding, the unemployment rate is outrageous, and that any day now the nation will just collapse on itself. But as I look around– at things like baseball games, the amount people spend on movies, shopping, entertainment, all of the new shops and apartment buildings opening up around me– I can’t help but think, what’s the problem here?

    I’m in Austin and I know that we haven’t been hit nearly as hard as some places, but honestly, I do think the media is focusing more on the negative than the positive. There’s more spending going on out there than they’re giving credit to!

    Anyway, if you want to be cheered up, check this out.I work for Mango Money’s blog and we recently did a PUPPET SHOW post on that pesky national debt I keep hearing about. :o) http://www.mangomoney.com/blog/trends/mango-puppet-theater-presents-the-u-s-national-debt

  18. Invest It Wisely says

    Hey Sam,

    Thanks for linking out to Marie’s guest post; it was a great guest post! About the economy, all I have to say is yes and no. In a sense what you’re saying is like “don’t listen to the scientists who tell you that gravity pulls down — you can step out and fly if you want to!”, but at the same time, I get what you’re saying. Sometimes we get too caught up in the doom, gloom, and other crap on the news and forget to appreciate the small things in life that make things great.

    Thanks again for the mention!

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