The Age of Scuffs, Dents & Bruises

The “No Name (Yet) Recession”

As previously alluded to (“Recession Name Game“), the current economic mess has yet to be definitively named.

In fact, pundits can’t even agree on whether what we’re experiencing is a Crash, a Recession, or a Depression. (First get the nouns right, then the adjectives will fall into place.)

So, while it violates the implicit requirement that the winning sobriquet includes a mandatory reference to finance, economics, or the stock market, here’s my nomination: ‘The Age of Scuffs, Dents & Bruises.’

In the housing market, it’s not just the foreclosed homes that look used and abused: more owner-occupant homes seem tired, and in a little worse shape, than they did just 18 months ago.

Scrimping on needed repairs and updates may be a “penny wise, pound foolish” strategy, but Sellers who are financially squeezed are cutting expenses where they can.

On the roads, it’s not just that the cars are visibly older (at least for the auto industry, a annual sales drop of 40% is an unqualified Depression). It’s that the cars themselves seem to have more scuffs and dings than usual.

A year ago, you might not have thought twice about taking care of that nicked bumper likely to be under your $1,000 deductible. Today . . . it’s not so urgent.

Finally, more people (at least than usual) seem to be suffering from a mild state of disrepair — psychologically, if not physically,

My wife, a physical therapist, reports that more of her older patients, on fixed incomes, are spreading out their treatments, or simply cancelling. Why? The $25 (or $75) co-pay suddenly is a financial burden. Even the cost of transportation and parking to get to and from the appointment is now a major consideration.

Certainly, the increasing cost of health care is a bigger concern, for more people, in an age when a good job is a prerequisite for affordable health insurance . . . and good jobs are not exactly in abundant supply.

Which leads to my runner-up name for today’s era: ‘The Co-Pay Age.’

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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