The Katana: Don’t Count Out The US Consumer! 11/30


Thanks for reading Financial Samurai! Here's a look back at what was happening the week of 11/30/2009. The US consumer was strong despite a bumpy stock market. Funny enough, much the same can be said today in 2021.

The US consumer is alive and kicking! With the world stock markets crashing last week, nobody really cares about the financial losses in their portfolios, except for whether they can save $100 on a netbook by standing in line for 5 hours! The US consumer is going shopping baby. I expect the markets to rebound this week as the UAE publicly declares it will back all of Dubai World's debts.

The US Consumer Wants More

We will never learn from our mistakes because the desire for things is just too great. You can bet your last dollar that if there's any hint of a bubble in a new asset class, it'll grow bigger because everybody will want in to try and capitalize. I know I will at least try!

The fact of the matter is, if you don't care, I don't care because a rebound in heavy consumer spending leads to robust profits, which ultimately leads to higher stock prices and a “better” economy. We need others to spend, so the rest of us can get rich. With rabid spending on the rise, I'm hopeful 1Q10 is going to be a job market frenzy. The in-store retail sales figures were only up around 0.5%-1% YoY last week, but we should expect a surge in online sales.

With only one month left in the year, do you feel you are on track to achieve your financial goals? My goals were simply to stay alive during Armageddon, squirrel as much money away into savings, and be the most invaluable colleague as possible. Of course, what I should have done was bet the ranch on the stock market in February and win the World Series of Poker, but I'm not smart enough.

Thanks For Your Support

It warms my heart to see such robust community participation. I've been to numerous sites where I ask a question to the webmaster and it's just crickets (silence). I rarely go back as a result. Hence, I promise to continue being accessible! 

To facilitate, I've installed the “Comment Luv” plug-in. This plug-in showcases your latest blog post title with link whenever you leave a message and click the box. The highlight spurs me and others to check your posts as a result.

Finally, can someone educate me about Technocrati? I signed up a long time ago, and have done nothing except put the badge up. Is Technocrati useful to you? If so, in what way? I'm also wondering what's the point of the, if you don't donate money to them? I signed up, but because I don't give them money, I'm on the back page and my posts never get highlighted. Time to remove? Moving them to the footer sounds like a solution.


* “Sunday Interview Series: Financial Samurai” by Elle from Couples Money.  Elle has been such a helpful Twitter supporter of this site, thank you! It was fun to share some of my thoughts with you.

The Dow Jones Challenge Winners:
Michael At DINKS Finance and Wojo from Fiscal Fizzle who guessed 10,300 and 10,322 respectively! The Dow closed this Black Friday -154 (-1.5%) to 10,309.92! Here's your BIG pat on the back!

“The New Rules of Mortgages” Book Winners: Kelsey & Geek! Runners up: Chubbuni13, & Tina Fortune. Congrats! Also thanks to @Victoriahouse, @JoeTaxPayerBlog, @EvolutionWealth, @SweepStakesgirl for tweeting!  Thanks to Dale for being a participant and offering an extra book for our readers if we reached 30 comments excluding hers. We didn't, but with the Tweets, I think we did! As such, I will send you my own copy if Dale doesn't send one, no problemo! Please e-mail your address for where I should send the books to.

Thanks everybody for writing some interesting pieces. And again, if you ever highlight anything of mine, please e-mail me at fs @ financialsamurai dot com so I can share my gratitude! Not showing my appreciation is dishonorable.

Further Reading

Keigu (“Regards” in Japanese),

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money's Mysteries”

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45 thoughts on “The Katana: Don’t Count Out The US Consumer! 11/30”

  1. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  2. I like the detailed content that you have. Have you ever considered submitting your blog to digg ? Keep up the superb work.

  3. Ah, alas, it feels kind of odd to be commenting right after a post about commenting when you link to someone, especially when it took me so long to make it here. Anyway, I appreciate your link, and I’m glad I keep writing articles (on my own blog and in the occasional guest post) that catch your eye. Apologies for the late comment, but alas, I tend to be slow when it comes to catching up on my blog reading. (I do try to make up for it by commenting on plenty of posts that don’t mention me, but I suppose I should be much quicker about those that do…)

    As for whether I’m on track to meet my financial goals, I have to say no. Being laid off definitely is not going to help my financial situation, and a snafu with unemployment means that things are going to get worse before they get better. The best I can do is just try to keep the pain to minimum and attempt to make the holidays as painless as possible.
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..How to get Ahead of the Game: Three Tips for Students =-.

  4. The Genius :

    Sam – I have a question. Do you get a little irked when the writers of the post you highlight don’t drop by and acknowledge your shout-out?

    I don’t have a blog, but I feel that if I went through the trouble of using my valuable real estate to highlight their work, at the very least they could Twitter your post, comment, or drop you an e-mail no? And if they didn’t after a couple days, to not bother.

    I hear you on visiting other sites, commenting, and the blogger never bothers to respond. What’s the point of visiting with them in the first place? It’s like them hosting a party, and never acknowledging your presence!
    The Genius´s last blog ..Fritzius lends talents, passion to fight against breast cancer

    Genius – Highlighting other posts are for me and the readers first to enjoy. I make it a point go visit and thank every single website who links to me. I really appreciate and feel humbled.

    I always tell myself that nobody cares what I write, but me. So, with that mind set, I don’t think about others who don’t stop by and recognize. If others want to stop by, they are free to comment and participate in the community.

    But, I guess I will notice over time those who don’t stop by, and therefore will stop linking to them naturally. With Comment Luv, I’ve focused more of my reading on fellow commenter’s posts, which is great!
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Domain Name Investing 101: Online Real Estate as an Asset Class =-.

  5. The next bubble to burst is going to be tuition and student loans. Tuition has been rising significantly higher than inflation for a very long time now…but because the economy’s been so terrible the past couple of years and states have slashed the amount they contribute to their public institutions, state universities are having to drastically increase tuition just to remain afloat…so the student loan industry is going to go bananas. California’s state system (the largest state system in the country, with 23 Cal State universities serving almost half a million students, 10 UC universities serving another 200K, and 110 community colleges serving almost 3 million students) is increasing tuition by about 30% in AY10-11, and lots of other states are probably going to do something similar.
    .-= Honey´s last blog ..I’ve Had Weird Dating Experiences Lately. But I Think I Have a Girlfriend. =-.

  6. Financial goals for the year are on target – not in every area, but on target. My goal was to reduce personal liabilities and increase cash flow and net worth. Both have been accomplished albeit the numbers are not exactly … errr… on the money!

    Technorati? I signed up a long time ago (just because my husband said I ought to)… and quite honestly, I have to go revisit it to get a grasp on it … but hey! that Chalijandra guy is a site for sore eyes!

    Gokurosama ………….valentina
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Blog Income Life: November Results =-.

  7. I think the U.S. consumer is still frightened. The savings rate in America has gone from -2% (meaning the nation spends more than it makes) to +6% (Meaning the nation is saving). This dramatic shift will have long term implications. I believe peoples mentalities when it comes to money have been altered. This Christmas people will spend less than they have in the past and this theme will continue.
    .-= Stuart´s last blog ..Montreal Canadians Sold! =-.

  8. Don@MoneyReasons

    @admin Hmmm… Dow 20,000… No complaints here!!! :) Maybe my portfolio will be close to breaking even at that level ;)
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..Lemons to Lemonade Series #1 – Long Commute Drives =-.

  9. Don@MoneyReasons

    Great day on the market. How would have guessed! I’m in Mr Hyde mode :evil: today, that’s from sure!

    I wonder how high this market will go, Dow=11,000?… GO! Santa Claus Rally GO!
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..Lemons to Lemonade Series #1 – Long Commute Drives =-.

  10. @Sean Your welcome Sean. I’m excited to follow you on your new adventure to Thailand! The food and culture is great and I’m sure you will have a life changing experience!

    @Fitz No prob Fitz. Thanks for stopping by and supporting me in your latest post as well.

    @James Your comment was longer than your latest post! :) It’s true to stay focused on our own finances, yet we cannot ignore the 70% portion of the equation in Y = C + I + G + NI!
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Tuition Hike For The Poor Is Like A Tax Hike For The Rich =-.

  11. Guys,

    It really kinda doesn’t matter what the consumer is going to do, for most individual it seems like it makes the most sense to say focused on things one can do to improve the bottom line.

    For example, right now, people should be buying stocks, high quality real estate, bonds etc etc, or investing in their own social capital.

    Otherwise, great posting.


    .-= James ´s last blog ..Go Buy Some Stock =-.

  12. Sam – I have a question. Do you get a little irked when the writers of the post you highlight don’t drop by and acknowledge your shout-out?

    I don’t have a blog, but I feel that if I went through the trouble of using my valuable real estate to highlight their work, at the very least they could Twitter your post, comment, or drop you an e-mail no? And if they didn’t after a couple days, to not bother.

    I hear you on visiting other sites, commenting, and the blogger never bothers to respond. What’s the point of visiting with them in the first place? It’s like them hosting a party, and never acknowledging your presence!
    .-= The Genius´s last blog ..Fritzius lends talents, passion to fight against breast cancer =-.

  13. @Daniel Great stuff on surpassing your goals. You can always create new goals, and at least you’re setting them!

    @LeanLifeCoach It’s too bad the government is so inefficient with our tax dollars. Nobody cares about our money more than ourselves. That’s why we need to be able to keep more of it!

    @Mike @ Gather Little by Little Congrats on achieving all your financial goals! If you can achieve your goals in the worst downturn of our careers, then imagin what you can do in an upswing?

  14. This year end definitely feels way better than last year. I think I’ve done a decent job saving money and am keeping my fingers crossed for a raise next year. I haven’t done any holiday shopping yet but I agree – I hope retail sales are strong even if I’m not buying anything! Nice interview on couples money btw.

  15. Credit Card Chaser


    Neal, I couldn’t agree more with your comment. Although I do think it is important to distinguish between the two major types of spending: spending on a consumable that decreases in value and spending on an appreciating asset/asset that produces cash flow. Obviously the latter is the preferred type of spending to encourage as that actually creates wealth.
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Win $500 in the 2009 Credit Card Chaser Love/Hate Credit Cards Contest =-.

  16. Thanks for the shout out my man – glad you enjoyed the lottery post :) And while I don’t get much traffic love from, I still pay the $5 a month or whatever to help them out – I like what it all stands for. Plus, I believe Flexo from Consumerism Commentary runs it. Although I do think I get more hits since paying than when not, but nothing too eye-popping really. I think if you post at certain times you get more (like around 9:30 – 10 at least when I used to do it this way) but since posting a little after 7 every morning it hasn’t been all too sexy. Hope this helps.

  17. Neal@wealthpilgrim

    Hey FS,

    In the short run, yep, spending is dandy. In the long-run, earnings is a little better….don’t you agree?

    Nobody spent their way into becoming wealthy and if everyone – including our silly elected officials continue to spend other people’s money like they have been, we’ll end up like Dubai!

    (Oh wait…..we ARE just like Dubai…only 10,000 worse)
    .-= Neal@wealthpilgrim´s last blog ..“Stop Arguing About Money” – Does the World Need Another Info Product? =-.

  18. @Don@MoneyReasons Your Jekyl & Hyde analogy is spot on. I’m so mad when I can’t get a seat on the bus, or walk into my favorite steakhouse, yet I’m so happy people are spending again b/c I know it will eventually end up making us better off.

    @David F You must have a very wealthy friend! Can you give him a ring and ask him what he’s investing in next? Good call on investing in the companies that will benefit from consumer spending…. that sector is therefore the Consumer space, like autos (industrials too), retail apparrel, etc.

  19. @trader I am TRULY impressed with the balls of steel you have (if you are a guy!) for taking a paycut to be a full time Asian equities trader! I have failed at trading miserably many times in the past, b/c my greed and temptation to leverage up is too great.

    I’m very excited to have you as a regular reader/commenter. I’ve always wanted to be a trader myself. Your Asian markets perspectives fascinate me, especially since I enjoy checking out the Asian markets at night to get a sense of what the US will do the next day.
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Tuition Hike For The Poor Is Like A Tax Hike For The Rich =-.

  20. @Matt SF Oh, but you are wrong my Hokies friend, I am the most optimistic of them all! I am optimistic that because people will never learn and improve on their spending habits, the economy will continue to revive, and we’re all going to benefit!

    When your Crystal ball starts working, shoot me a private Twitter please, cuz I want in before everybody else! :) Sam
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Everything Is Relative Superstar – Being Happy With What You Have =-.

  21. @Evan Yo Evan, what are the positives of Disqus? I’ve seen it around, but have no idea what it’s value proposition is. Comment Luv seems to be the way to go. I get motivated to comment more too elsewhere when I see Comment Luv.

    I didn’t realize one could change the last blog post. Even better! I just did it myself! yiihhaw. Too bad it doesn’t list even more.

    .-= admin´s last blog ..I Saved $2.1 Million On Lunch – A Sit Down With Warren Buffett =-.

  22. Credit Card Chaser

    @John DeFlumeri Jr

    I certainly agree with you that consumer spending pumps the economy although there are many different ways to cause consumers to spend more (i.e. create job because if someone has as job they will spend more, lower interest rates, etc etc) and not all of the different ways have the same long term effects.
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Cyber Monday Shoppers Can Earn Extra Credit Card Rewards =-.

  23. My financial goals are more long-term. For this year I sadly had a reduction in income but still met my previous year’s savings target so I’ll consider it a win. To me it’s all about what you keep anyway!

    As soon as you figure out Technorati, let us know!

    I am sorry to depress you but I do appreciate the link. Like you say, knowledge will set you free… but I’m afraid there will never be enough knowledge to set us free from overtaxation. I really don’t mind paying, just wish so much wasn’t wasted!

    Thanks also for the comment luv… let us know how it works out. It may be something to put on my blogs Christmas wish list.
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Compound Interest – Friend or Foe – Part II =-.

  24. The Catch 22 is we consumers have to spend and buy stuff to prop up the economy but in doing so we go further into debt… I think the best solution is to buy the companies themselves instead of their products while a lot of them are way undervalued. That way we’re helping the economy get back on track without buying a lot of junk we don’t need anyway, and making a little money at the same time.

    There’s nothing wrong with profiting from a bubble as long as you recognize it’s a bubble and cash out at the first sign of “irrational exuberance”. I have a friend who made a killing on Internet stocks before the bubble burst and he immediately rolled his money over into a second home for him and his wife. I’ve lost touch with him but I’m sure he cashed out his money in real estate and moved it back into the stock market when everything was cheap.

    I signed up for Technorati almost a month ago and haven’t heard anything yet. They crawled my site last week, still waiting to hear back. As far as pfblogs goes it seems like a way to pay to advertise your feeds. Not a bad idea for me, but probably not necessary for you.

    – David
    .-= David F´s last blog ..Who wants to be a (virtual) millionaire? =-.

  25. Don@MoneyReasons

    Yes, the stock market is a neurotic but fun place (except the past 2 years)!

    I’m torn on the consumer consumption part! As a blogger that writes and practices frugality, I think it’s great that the population is cutting back on spending. But, I’m also invested in the stock market, and the more everybody consumes, the more my stocks go up. So I have “Jekyll and Hyde” feelings about it sometimes…

    I just recently started using technorati, it’s okay if you bookmark the finance directory page… I check it out once a week to see if I missed anything interesting.

    The “Comment Luv” looks great! Very nice!
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..Lunch Budget Experiment #2 – Buying the Stock =-.

  26. Mike @ Gather Little by Little

    I hope the US consumer will bounce back start buying stuff again. However, they must not do it with their credit cards or by remortgaging their house.

    Spending money is good for the economy but if it’s done without “real” money, it only postpone the problem later one (as what happened in 2008).

    I’ve had a few financial goals this year and I achieved all of them, this was a great year for me!

  27. Thanks for the Link! Comment Luv is AWESOME I keep trying to decide between using it and Disqus.

    Comment Luv even allowed me to change the “last blog post” to the post where I updated my goals and what I have met since my last bday
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Happy 28th Birthday Evan =-.

  28. Surprisingly, I am not only on track to acheive my financial goals, but I am ahead of plan. I made goals to fund an emergency fund, put a few thousand in retirement, and start investing, and I have the equivalent of a month’s income left over. Considering that I started working in July, I think that’s pretty good. Maybe I set my goals too low, but I also think a big part of it was committing to living frugally and prioritizing my spending the past couple of months.
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..Why I Love Flexible Savings Accounts =-.

  29. I definitely concur; bubbles are created by emotions such as greed, overconfidence, etc. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle that starts with a (perceived) recovering stock market. When consumers see that their portfolios are back in the black, they will become confident and start borrowing and spending again. Then companies will hire rapidly once they see an uptick in spending. The new jobs will then create excess cash for consumers to speculate/invest, causing the stock market to skyrocket. The cycle goes on, until the bubble bursts. Yep, we never learn. :o

    I’m way off my financial targets this year. I took a huge paycut just to get my trading job. :(
    .-= trader´s last blog ..Blood in the Street =-.

  30. “We will never learn from our mistakes because the desire for things is just too great.”

    And I thought I was the cynic always seeing the glass half empty! ; )

    Oh well, at least I can dream and a select few will have seen the error of their ways by consuming too much and over-leveraging themselves with debt.

    Thanks for the link, and wish I knew which assets were going to bubble up. My crystal ball is on the fritz lately.
    .-= Matt SF´s last blog ..Traders Know it’s a Gold Bubble, Why Don’t You? =-.

  31. John DeFlumeri Jr

    I have to agree that consumer spending pumps the whole economy. Nothing else except that works. If people have jobs they will spend!

    John DeFlumeri Jr
    .-= John DeFlumeri Jr´s last blog ..Listen to "Recipe Deficient and Half-Baked Results!" =-.

  32. FB @

    You are going to ADORE Comment Luv.

    And thanks for linking to my money hats ;)
    .-= FB @´s last blog ..The Idiot is now becoming a “Doctor” =-.

  33. My main goals in 2009 were to diversify my income and become more self-reliant financially speaking. So, I’ve made some steps in that direction with new writing projects and business opportunities.

    As far as Technorati goes, I’m just as clueless. Everyone says you have to do it, but I haven’t seen a bounce from being listed. If we’re listed at all. It’s hard to tell.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Weekly Wisdom: The Future Of Financial Freedom =-.

  34. As far as financial goals for 2009 they weren’t too clear. We moved into our newly constructed home and we’ve been able to make the budget…well almost. Something tells me 2010 needs to be more clear.

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