All right, folks, Conejo Joe here. I've been on a week long trip to San Diego with my family and am back in action.
The economy has been a major concern and drag on all of us. What a year. Gas prices rising to over $4 a gallon and now we're seeing prices below $2. The stock market has been hammered over 50% from its highs and it has hit all of us hard in our retirement savings. We've seen dozens of companies filing bankruptcy or scaling back. Foreclosures all over the place. Real estate prices are way way down. Unemployment rates are sky high. It has certainly been a stressful year.
But you know what? We are resilient and we will come back. We are all in this together and we have seen this cycle before. We have a broad, diversified economy and somehow, some way, we will all make it through these economic doldrums.
Our trip gave me hope. We visited Legoland, Sea World, Downtown San Diego and we saw lots and lots of people out there, experiencing life, enjoying themselves, spending money, regardless of the bad economy. Heck, we even had to stand in lines!! There are too many things in life to live for and enjoy. Why let a little recession ruin the fun!?
If you are unemployed, there are still plenty of jobs out there! They may not pay exactly what you want, but sometimes we need to step back to move forward. Check out Monster.com, Craig's List, the local newspapers. Network in LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Make something happen. Our country needs each and every one of you. There are jobs out there for everyone. They don't always hit you in the face. You need to take action and FIND them!
OK, OK, Mervyns went bankrupt, Linens & Things went bankrupt, Sharper Image went bankrupt, Circuit City just filed for bankruptcy and the banking industry changed so much that we hardly recognize it. But ya know what, I HATED Mervyns, Linens & Things, Sharper Image and Circuit City. Last time I visited Circuit City I waited 20 minutes for help and there were no customers in the store. Mervyns was never exactly enjoyable. Times change and some businesses can't keep up with change. (I do like the Janss Marketplace very much and hope that the void left by the loss of Mervyns and Linens & Things is filled quickly).
In the meantime, The Oaks mall has been through a major upgrade and a large new Nordstrom store opened in September. And a high-end Muvico movie theatre is slated to open at The Oaks in early 2009. The U.S. Government has stepped in and provided a backstop for large financial institutions like Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase by investing in these companies.
So bottom line is this. We live in a very cyclical, dynamic and changing world. Don't overreact. Don't not act. Now is the time to start investing in your future. Make things happen. Everything is a two-edged sword. Real estate and stock prices have tumbled. But perhaps that gives us the buying opportunity of a lifetime. Your company went bankrupt and you are out of a job. Well maybe you hated that job and this gives you the opportunity to find what you enjoy. Or become a consultant. Or start your own business!
We have seen how quickly things can change. TAKE ACTION! Don't just sit there! Don't wait for the "perfect" opportunity or situation. Now is the time. If you snooze, you lose! Try something new! Don't rely on others to make it happen for you.
There is too much to enjoy in life to sweat the current economic situation we face. As the Resident Rabbit of this website of local goings on, I can tell you that hundreds of hundreds of events and activities take place locally each year and thousands upon thousands of us participate. Yeah, yeah, Conejo Valley Days may be history, but you know what, there are dozens upon dozens of other events that have taken its place.
So in this holiday season, enjoy yourselves, have FUN and remember...we are all in this together. After all is said and done, our goals are all similar. We want to live happy, healthy, loving lives. Let's work together and make it happen!