by Business and Life Coach Carmen Carrozza
It’s been a few years of absolute ups and downs in our economy – with the downs far outweighing the ups for some. Mortgage crisis, foreclosures, the breakdown of our largest investment firms, and a banking industry that is in disarray. There is a slowdown in consumer spending due to the loss of savings funds and the lack of job security of many bread winners in the work force. The loss of over 40% of our investments, including retirement, children’s college funds and and overall savings plans will take many years, if ever, to recoup. What is the next shoe to drop?
Does everyone remember how we have paid for luxury items, vacations, holidays, gifts, and oh yeah, grocery over the past 25 years. If you guest CREDIT you get a gold star (Good news, gold is selling very high right now!).
Consumer credit outstanding in the U.S. is in the trillions. And that’s NOT including mortgages, only consumer credit. With so many families struggling, small companies trying to survive, and large corporations looking for cost cutting measures every day, there will be many people unable to keep up with the bills.
Credit is one of the first items to go unpaid in this environment. Mortgages, utilities and the necessities are payment priorities. It is always smart to have a plan in place for the worst of times, but sadly, many people do not, or are running out of their emergency funds.
The key right now is saving in every possible area you can. Look at your daily spending habits and find ways to save dollars. The dollars add up and help you get through the current economic crisis. look at your entire financial picture to discover other ways to save. Things will get better, it will be easier on those who sacrifice now and learn the harsh lesson taught by these times: Have a financial plan, stick to that plan and don’t get fooled again.
If you need help – call us. We can get you and your family on track to financial security (and a more stress-free life!)]]>
Every time you have to make a decision, what is your process? Most people think about what they did in the past and then formulate a response. Think about the repercussions of this lack of foresight. Yes, it is important to learn from the past. That doesn’t mean our decisions should be totally influence by our past experience. One mental process the most successful people use when decision-making is, “What can I do that will create the result I am am looking for.” It may have nothing to do with past results, rather it is about what they want to accomplish.
So, next time you are going through that moment in the decision making process when you search your brain cells for what you did before, even if it was successful, shut it down and explore your creativity and see if there are alternatives that inspire you to think in Forward Motion.
Need help with this practice? Contact me today at 888.616.COACH (2622)!
It would be quite normal for a business and life coach to have a radio show that is about self help and guests that speak about coaching and self-help.
Not Forward Motion. My weekly radio program, heard locally on 1490 WGCH out of Greenwich CT and live streamed at www.wgch.com, is much more than that. My goal is to talk about topics that affect businesses and individuals every day, then discuss ways to overcome obstacles, control what is controllable, and provide guests that add value to my listeners.
I want everyone out there to be aware of what is really going on in our economy, and the effectiveness and rapidity to which our leaders respond.
My guests have included Lawrence Smith, a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, Carla Rose Fisher, editing, writing and marketing guru, and Sal Provenzano, insurance expert.
I have entrepreneurs, professionals and businessmen, anyone that can tell their story that helps you, whether it be their successes, failures, obstacles they have overcome, or pure information to help your business become more successful.
Business and life are complex, taking into consideration global commerce, technology and unlimited communication. You have to be prepared to move forward with focus and determination.
I believe one of the only ways to reach your goals and dreams today is with a professional coach that is a guide, and knows how to take you on a journey to new levels of confidence and success.
Tune in every Tuesday at 4:00EST or listen to podcasts at www.wgch.com.
Your business and your life can’t wait.]]>
Unemployment- The rate rose to 9.6% on September 3rd
Payroll Employment- Dropped by 131,000 in July.
An average of 485,5oo weekly applying for unemployment benefits.
1609 mass layoff events, losing 143,703 workers in July. Monthly mass layoff numbers are from establishments which have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance filed against them during a 5-week period.
Labor Productivity- Decreaesd 1.8% in second quarter of 2010
Consumer Confidence- Stands at 50.4, in good times it runs in the 90’s.
Existing Home Sales- Down 27%, worst month in over 15 years, in the lowest mortgage rate environment in history!
New Home Sales- Down 12.4%
70% of our economy depends on consumer spending: No jobs, no money.
Banks- Not lending to small business
Small Business- Not hiring due to lower profits, concern over new tax and medical care costs.
Does any of this give you the feeling that we are in a recovery? What we are, is in a state of emergency in the United States. Instead of casting blame at others, the White House should be putting incentives in place to bring jobs back to our country along with factories and manufacturing plants that have been moved abroad. Instead of taking another vacation, the President should be putting together a lending plan for small business, without strings attached. Instead of playing elitist to the middle class, he should be financially supporting emerging companies that are driven by clean energy, environmentally safe products and safe foods , all that create jobs, rather than saving companies that helped put us in this disastrous situation.
What we need is true leadership. Leaders put effective plans in place that aggressively meet the goals and objectives of the group they lead, in this case, the American people.]]>
We live in very complex world, and anything can happen during the watch of any president. What differentiates great leaders from the rest is how they react, the decisions they make, and how they communicate with the American people. To this end, Mr. Obama has done a very poor job. His lack of ownership of the spill has been obvious from the start. When he finally showed up at the Gulf 12 days after the spill began, he lacked any sense of urgency, and did not assure his fellow Americans that he developed an aggressive plan.
In business as in politics, great leaders are seen as taking charge, dealing with issues head on, and taking responsibility for things that go wrong, while thanking the group when there has been success. This is not the behavior I have seen in any way, shape or form by this President.]]>
Here are some recent examples of the continued decline in employment:
Article from TheStreet.com
Layoffs Continue to Mount
By Jeanine Poggi 02/24/10 – 01:31 PM EST
Boeing(BA Quote) announced on Feb. 19 that it had sent out more than 1,000 layoff notices. The majority of the employees laid off are technology workers in Washington state and California.
Those who received the notice are at risk of being laid off on April 23. Not everyone who received a notice, however, will be let go.
The layoffs are part of 10,000 jobs cuts that Boeing originally planned for 2009. When Boeing did not complete the layoffs last year, its management announced that it would finish the job of laying off the workers in 2010 — and might ultimately lay off more workers than the original 10,000 that were projected
Health insurance giant Humana (HUM Quote) announced on Feb. 17 that it will cut 2,500 jobs in 2010.
But Humana will also add 1,100 new positions, making the net job loss at the company 1,400, or 5% of its workforce.
Humana did not reveal where the layoffs would come from, but did say that new jobs are expected in medical-cost containment capabilities, pharmacy management and specialty products.
Ford Motor(F Quote) announced on Feb. 16 that it plans to cut 900 jobs at a Mustang factory.
The auto maker attributed the layoffs to slow sales last year and increasing competition from Chevrolet’s Camaro.
The Michigan plant currently employs 2,300 people. Most of the layoffs will be hourly manufacturing workers, but some salaried staffers will also be eliminated.
It’s worth noting, however, that Ford previously announced plans to hire 1,200 workers at its Chicago Assembly Plant to build the new Ford Explorer, along with 1,000 people in Michigan to make electric car batteries.
Merck(MRK Quote) announced a new restructuring program on Feb. 16, expecting to reduce its workforce by 15% by the end of 2012. The company currently employs 100,000 workers.
Merck said it is “committed to achieving” its previously announced savings target of $3.5 billion in 2012.
Boston Scientific (BSX Quote) announced on Feb. 10 that it plans to lay off as much as 10% of its work force in an effort to cut costs.
The news came after the medical device company forecast 2010 profit and sales below analysts’ expectations.
Boston Scientific will cut between 1,000 and 1,300 jobs, a move it says will trim 5.5% to 7% off its annual expenses.
It will eliminate its international headquarters and consolidate other departments.]]>
Read the following article to see you are not alone in your feelings towards these mammoth institutions:
Customers of the biggest banks in the United States are the least likely to believe their financial institution does what’s best for them as opposed to what’s best for the bottom line, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
The report, Forrester’s annual Customer Advocacy rankings, ranks nearly 50 financial services firms in the United States by the percentage of each firm’s customers who agree with the statement: “My financial provider does what’s best for me, not just its own bottom line.” The results are based on a survey of about 4,500 consumers.
The bottom seven of this year’s rankings, first to last, are Bank of America, Chase, Capital One, TD/Commerce, Fifth Third, Citibank, and in last place, HSBC.
Among Bank of America customers, 33 percent agreed with the statement above, while 31 percent of Chase customers agreed, 29 percent of Capital One customers agreed, 28 percent of TD/Commerce Bank customers agreed, 27 percent of Fifth Third Bank customers agreed and 26 percent of Citibank customers agreed.
Among HSBC customers, only 16 percent said they agreed with the statement, the lowest customer advocacy score ever reported in the United States, down 10 percentage points from HSBC’s score last year and in line with other recent similar poor rankings of other HSBC units.
An HSBC spokesman declined to comment on the survey, since he hadn’t seen it yet.
To put the rankings in perspective, large banks have generally been at the bottom of the list since the survey was initiated seven years ago, and many of the banks have alternated between the bottom spots year to year, said a Forrester vice president, Bill Doyle, who wasn’t aware of anything particular HSBC has done recently that would make its score so low. Last year, for instance, Capital One was at the bottom with 22 percent of its customers agreeing with the statement. In fact, the more customers a banking institution has, the lower its customer advocacy ranking is likely to be, according to Forrester.
Why the poor rankings for the big banks? “Part of it is that the banks are preoccupied with their bottom line. They are public institutions who are in business to make money for their shareholder and inevitably, that shows to customers,” Mr. Doyle said.
A high customer advocacy ranking means that customers tend to believe their bank takes their side in disputes, does what is right even if it’s not required by regulation to do so, gives fair rates or performance comparisons and is clear about charges and fees, Mr. Doyle said.
Wells Fargo/Wachovia, by contrast, did better than the other big banks. About 40 percent of its customers said they believed the bank does what is best for them, with Wachovia’s customers probably pulling up Wells Fargo’s ratings, Mr. Doyle said. Wachovia has generally done substantially better in the rankings than the other big banks.
According to Mr. Doyle, customer advocacy rankings are a predictor of customer retention and attrition, and customers who rate their financial service firms high are more likely to consider their firm for additional products. In contrast, customers who give their banks a low ranking are most likely to switch in the next year and are “going to be reluctant to put any more money and open new accounts at those institutions,” Mr. Doyle said.
This means the low rankings don’t bode well for the bigger banks, many of which are reaching federal limits for how much they can increase deposits by acquiring other banks and must rely on attracting more customers to increase revenue.
Credit unions ranked higher than the big banks, as they have in earlier years, with 70 percent of credit union customers saying their financial institution puts their interests first. Mr. Doyle said this is because of credit unions’ different operating model — they are owned by customers — and because they tend to emphasize customer service.
After credit unions, the bank run by USAA, a financial services company that serves the military and their families, came in next with 64 percent of its customers agreeing with the statement. It was followed by ING Direct, with 46 percent. Regional banks including PNC, U.S. Bank and BB&T came in next with rankings similar to Wells Fargo/Wachovia. Regional banks, which often can’t afford big advertising campaigns, tend to emphasize customer service, Mr. Doyle said.
Insurance firms, meanwhile, remained the highest rated firms for customer advocacy, with more than half of all customers rating their insurers high on customer advocacy and insurers representing two-thirds of the firms in the top half of the rankings. The ranking of investment firms, meanwhile, fell below banks for the first time since the rankings began. Investment firm rankings tend to fall when the market isn’t doing well, Mr. Doyle said.
Until banks consider a change in their business model, these are the results they should expect. The reality is there is not a concerted effort to change, thanks to the huge profits they are making.
If you want to feel some love, use local or regional banks. They tend to offer more care for their client.
The reality is that this is a modern-day depression. There are over 7m people out of work since the end of July 2007, bringing the total unemployed to better than 14m. We are inching up to the 10% out-of-work mark, which is only a few months away. They tell us the good news is the monthly actual increase in unemployed has decreased to 216m in August from a high of 741m in January.
I liken this type of thinking to that of a dam breaking and water slowly flowing over several towns, wiping out homes, businesses and lives. After some time has passed, they tell you the good news, that the water has stopped flowing from the break in the dam. What they don’t tell you is that the towns are destroyed and now underwater. Many large organizations have trimmed down to bare minimums, while others have folded. Thousands of small businesses have disappeared. That is reality.
The only thing that gets any economy headed back in the right direction is the ability for people to spend money. This so-called recession has affected every class. Between folks trying to save their home, pay down existing credit and attempting to save their credit rating, they do not have the money or ability to spend. Many of those who are lucky enough to still be working, are disengaged at their job, adding another layer of consumers not buying, mainly due to fear of losing their job.
The disastrous economy we are facing will be here for a long time. There are many directions it can take. Every individual needs to change the way they think about prosperity in order to take our economy in a new direction. We have become used to luxurious lifestyles and fairly safe employment conditions. In order to meet the challenges in our near future, it will take a strong will to move forward with less. If we can do it, maybe the values that made this country great will return and help us and our children keep life in better perspective.]]>
We have seen the reality of what has been going on for about 25 years in this country; The proliferation of greed has grown from the building up of Corporate America for the purpose of profit rather than better products and services for the public. Oversight agencies, supposedly in place to protect the public, turned their heads to the lack of financial ethics and product integrity proliferated by banks, brokers and other investment companies.
As this process developed through the years, we all became sucked in to the madness. Extended credit, creative mortgages, and spending discretionary income like we were entitled to every new flat screen and cell phone are examples of how citizens have dramatically impacted this financial calamity.
You here we are all at fault for the financial collapse. Wait a minute, is a child responsible because they have been spoiled by us? Or is the parent? We always here that this is a democracy and a capitalistic business environment. Well guess what, when you give something to a human being, instinctively we do not like to give it back. A higher line of credit, instant approvals, easy, free, simple…we were pushed to buy products and services to keep the economy moving in a positive direction.
When it all went wrong, we were part of the problem. I submit that there needs to be some controls in place in order to preserve our quality of life. We need to back up, and become a simpler society. The only way to accomplish this feat is by the people becoming empowered to create change.
Conscience. All of us need to have one in order for our country to move forward intelligently. Our children will be depending on it.]]>