What interesting financial times we are currently living through. When I graduated from college in 1997, jobs were abundant and the market was on an upswing. For those of us that are under the age of 40, it has been relatively easy to find employment over the last twenty years and as a result we have demanded more from our employers. If we weren’t happy, there was certainly another employer out there willing to give us what we wanted, right? Better hours, better pay, more vacation, gym memberships, etc.

Not only has employment been easy, but credit has been even easier. Apply for a credit card and get a free t-shirt – why not?? I applied for and was given several credit cards in college and I didn’t even have an income…an interesting concept that I have been repaying for fifteen years. Why wait until you can afford to buy something when you can charge it and enjoy it now?

I worry about my generation as we have never really known the feeling of ‘need.’ We have confused the meanings of ‘need’ and ‘want’ and been using them as interchangeable verbs. The feeling of need is what drives appreciation for what we earn and are given in life. I am certainly not saying that we don’t work hard, because we do. Within my inner circle of friends and family are some of the hardest working people I know. What I will say is that we have never known what it feels like to not have what we want when we want it.

As I am blasted every day with the evening news reports and newspaper and magazine articles that fill us with fear and despair, I hope that each one of us is grateful for the opportunities we have and the freedom and abundance we live with every day. These economic downturns are cyclical and we will rebound; hopefully with more knowledge and stronger fundamentals in both our policy and as a population. It may not happen as quickly as we have become accustomed to or demand, but it will happen. We are in the midst of a reality check…we just need to pay attention.

Mayra Camara