Monday, August 17, 2009

Unemployment Rate’s Up. Wait. Oops. Sorry – It’s DOWN!

Unemployment Rate’s Up. Wait. Oops. Sorry – It’s DOWN!

According to the much anticipated report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, August 7, 2009, the unemployment rate stood at 9.4 percent, as of July 2009. It had decreased from the June number of 9.5 percent by a tiny little bit. You wouldn't have known it, though, if you'd been following the "experts."

On August 6 – the day before the report came out – I was able to get home around 5:30 p.m., which is really, really, REALLY early for me. So I decided to kick back and watch some news. I figured, “What the heck?”

As you might expect, economists, consultants, experts, and gurus everywhere. I mean really big, important people. Huge kahunas were all over the major TV networks, predicting that the unemployment number expected the next morning was going to be up a little bit from the June number of 9.5 percent, – not down.

Oh, no, definitely not down. They were predicting a lot of other things, but since they were using “expert” language, I did not really understand it all. As you know by now, they were wrong.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

I’m not saying these gurus are not worth listening to – not at all. Neither am I trying to tell you whom to listen to. But what I’m saying is that these experts do not have a crystal ball. Most of the time, they simply opine from their viewpoints, and often they say things that turn out to be w-a-a-a-y off. So you have to be very careful where you get your financial advice.

Pretty much on a daily basis, I help people clean up financial messes. These are ordinary folks who are not even sure how the messes happened in the first place. They were told, heard, or read some financial expert who said it was a great idea to:

  • Pay off their mortgages quickly.
  • Put as much as possible into their 401(k)s.
  • Invest in the stock market, so long as they had a long-term focus.
  • And much, much more…
In my opinion, it seems like those who are simply listening to so-called experts tend to be advised to do the opposite of the right stuff – and it boggles my mind almost daily as I consult with people.

Have you ever paused to wonder why everyone seems to be investing and striving to be wealthy, yet only a select few become truly financially independent?

As I pointed out in a column for the just-published, nationally syndicated Maryland Women’s Journal, the answer is plain and simple: for the most part, these conventional advisors are dead wrong.

I hope this little lesson of vowing that the unemployment rate was going up, when in fact it fell, will serve as a reminder that it is never a good idea to follow what you hear in the mass media on a wholesale basis.

Aspirin may be good for you – and countless others, for that matter – but if I, personally, take one tablet, I’ll wind up in the emergency room. The same is true regarding financial advice, or any advice. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you!

And, oh, when the numbers were finally released around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, the experts had a reason (excuse?) for their predictions being off: A lot of people had stopped looking for work. I must point out to you that the Bureau has been using the same methodology of reporting forever – so that reasoning is basically nonsense.

As mere humans, we need to stop behaving like we – or the media gurus – have divine powers. Period! As always, it comes down to my two favorite words: common sense. You have it; use it.
For a common-sense approach to wealth-building, avoid the traditional "experts." Call us today for your free consultation (301-949-4449) or visit our Web site:

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