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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

I think the economy is the way it is because . . .
Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 1:06 PM on 11.25.08
->> For the better part of the past five years I have been speaking on the business of photography.

Where I like to start with groups is how many people in the group know their budget/bottom line. What is their budget to pay all of their bills?

Amazingly it is not just the students who do not know how much it costs them to live. Many professionals really don't have a clue as to what all their bills add up to and what they must bring home to cover these expenses.

ASMP has been at the core of teaching business practices to photographers. Being a member since 1987 I have really benefited from learning about the business side of the industry.

On this website you have heard John Harrington, Mark Loundy, my self and others chime in on a regular basis hoping to educate everyone so that people can honestly make a living at this craft.

It is very much an ongoing process. Just give it time and you will see another post on "how much should I charge?"

I believe we are in this crisis in America and the world, because not just photographers, but most people do not know what it takes to live.

Most of us are living within our means because we don't know what that figure is.

We have relied on credit to pay the necessary bills and floated a debt to the bank just to live.

Sadly, too many of us do not realize we are living in slavery. We have become slaves to banks, credit cards and just about anyone we can get credit from.

You cannot spend 1% more than you make continually before you spiral out of control. Most of us would increase our buying power if we lived within our means. Instead of paying 9% to 20% to pay off our credit cards, we could have been paying cash and used the money we were paying for the luxury of having it now to later buy even more stuff if we choose.

We are still commenting on Newspapers going out of business due to the economy and from reading the posts I can still see many are not seeing the root of this disease.

Those photographers who are the most successful monetarily tend to be the ones who know what it takes to pay their bills. They then charge enough for their work to cover their living expenses, business expenses as well as planning for the future so they use credit temporarily rather than constantly.

What can we learn from the mess we are all in?--know your budget and learn to live within it our you too will dig a whole too big to be bailed out.
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Jeff Martin, Photographer
wellington | OH | usa | Posted: 2:05 PM on 11.25.08
->> In other words, the growth of the economy has been fueled with deficit spending (both public and private) and now we are paying the price?

Stated as a question to see if I understood your reasoning.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 2:08 PM on 11.25.08
->> First I made a mistake and read right through it.

It should read "Most of us are NOT living within our means, because we don't know what that figure is. We have relied on credit to pay the necessary bills and floated a debt to the bank just to live."

My comment is people do not know how much they bring in and how much goes out for them to break even without using credit.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 2:09 PM on 11.25.08
->> Jeff:

Yes you stated it well.
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Bradley Wakoff, Photographer
Fort Collins | CO | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 11.25.08
->> No, Jeff, the US economy is primarily fueled by consumer spending, financed in part through private debt. Recall that under Clinton, there were budget surpluses. Prior to the current (Bush II) administration, the amount of public debt in this country was on the decline for the better part of a decade.

The current economic crisis was sparked by the massive failure of private debt, initially in the form of sub-prime mortgages.

The Bush administration has financed two wars, numerous bailouts and an economic stimulus package with public debt. Those spending decisions returned us to the deficit spending of the Reagan years.

The distinction between public and private debt is important and underscores Stanley's point - debt is only advantageous to private borrowers (and lenders, btw) able to pay it off. The debate over public debt is much less clear-cut.
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Jeff Martin, Photographer
wellington | OH | usa | Posted: 4:22 PM on 11.25.08
->> The Clinton 'surpluses' were largely imaginary. If all the off-budget items and the phantom SS trust fund are taken into account, the Clinton years also operated at a deficit (albeit, not as large).

I understand that the US economy is fueled by consumer spending. How long can that economy operate if the consumers are deficit spending? Unlike the government, not long. The sub-prime mess is another example of consumer deficit spend on housing.

I could argue about the Reagan tax cuts providing the environment for the tech boom that financed the Clinton 'surplus', but it doesn't really matter. No matter how much tax revenue increases, the government seems to spend more. If you think government deficits are a problem, then hold on to your hats (and wallets).
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 4:38 PM on 11.25.08
->> There was no surplus. There was a goal that we could get to a state of surplus in the future, but that was squandered during the last 8 years on war, a huge growth in the federal government, and tax breaks to people who already have most of the money.

Tax cuts do not provide any environment for innovation. Imaginative people with good ideas made the tech boom. Bill Gates did not become a billionaire because of tax cuts by Reagan, Bush or Clinton.

The imagined surplus that was slowing becoming a reality during the end of Clinton's presidency was the result of Congress not Clinton. For once, Congress agreed that there would be no new spending without cuts in other programs or tax increases to pay for the new spending. It was Congress that starting putting our house in order.

Unfortunately during our last 8 years the US deficit grew larger than all the deficits that this country has run up since George Washington!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did anyone really believe the promises 8 years ago??????????????????????

No one was watching the sharks handing out bad mortgages 'cause no one in Washington was watching all the hand outs TO Congress.

VP Dick Cheney said "deficits don't matter."
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 4:52 PM on 11.25.08
->> I'm having a flashback to the debates ... and I'm not enjoying it ...
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Kevin Leas, Photographer, Assistant
Rochester | NY | USA | Posted: 5:05 PM on 11.25.08
->> Jeff, I've got three words for you:

Joe the Plumber
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 5:31 PM on 11.25.08
->> Kevin:

Arghhhhhh!
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Darren England, Photographer
Brisbane | QLD | Australia | Posted: 6:21 PM on 11.25.08
->> Your economy is the way it is because Americans do not save, they only spend. You have been run by an idiot for the last 8 years who went on a massive spending spree, while giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy, it is just a pity that you might drag down the rest of the world with you.
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David A. Cantor, Photo Editor, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 7:06 PM on 11.25.08
->> Jeff and Kevin,

http://tinyurl.com/6lavsr
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 7:08 PM on 11.25.08
->> This thread doesn't belong here.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 7:29 PM on 11.25.08
->> darren, come on man, isn't it time you guys got over that whole "tea party" thing........8)
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 10:04 PM on 11.25.08
->> Mr. England is Australian, not English!

Australia came after the American Revolution 'cause England could no longer use the American colonies as a dumping ground for England's criminals.

This is why Australia is a progressive economic force in south Asia, lots of smart descendants of English criminals.

Too bad he have too many CEO criminals working in our banking and insurance businesses. Perhaps we can export them to a penal colony? They've made bad loans to make their billions in compensation. Now we tax payers have to fix what their greed broke.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 10:08 PM on 11.25.08
->> come on walter I know. but they still hold the ole queen in reverence. but I'm so glad YOU knew the difference. now see, someone on sportsshooter.com learned something new. darren, please please know I was kidding!
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 10:23 PM on 11.25.08
->> Queen Elizabeth II is a grand dame! She's more German than English by blood.

The Australians hold beer in a higher reverence. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. And their Washington DC Embassy throws great parties. Been to many.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 11:26 PM on 11.25.08
->> So you think it is all about Washington and not about each person needing to know their limits?
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Darren England, Photographer
Brisbane | QLD | Australia | Posted: 4:49 AM on 11.26.08
->> Chuck, that's ok,
Having spent a very cold and dark winter in the UK a few years back, I am very happy my relatives were sent out here 180 years ago for stealing a loaf of bread.
Walter is right, you will not find to much reverence for ole Elizabeth and her family of misfits in this country..... Beer is part of the national religion, that and AFL football.

Cheers
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Los Angeles : SFO : HNL | CA | usa | Posted: 5:02 AM on 11.26.08
->> 2 words. corporate greed.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 7:08 AM on 11.26.08
->> "each person needing to know their limits?"

Exactly!

Two years ago, 15 of the top banking and insurance companies executives in the US split $60 billion between themselves for making mortgages to people who could not make heads nor tails of the 37 pages of legal boiler plate on a loan application. Yes people went over their heads because other people who lined their own pockets made it SO easy.

No one put a gun to the bankers heads telling them to make bad loans.

And the band played on, while our elected officials looked the other way 'cause the bankers paid them to look the other way.
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Alex Boyce, Photographer
central italy | n/a | italy | Posted: 7:14 AM on 11.26.08
->> debt and it is too easy to get.
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Bryan Hulse, Photographer
Nashville | Tn | USA | Posted: 8:37 AM on 11.26.08
->> Wow! I am more from the 'personal responsibility' camp and don't like to blame others for my own stupidity. And borrowing more money that one can handle is a high form of stupidity, no matter how easy the money is to obtain.

Guns and ammo are easy to obtain, it doesn't mean I am going to go out and shoot someone.

Alcohol is easy to obtain, doesn't mean I am going to get totally wasted and drag race my car.

What ever happened to common sense, and since when is it the Governments responsibility to enforce it? That's a SCARY thought.
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Bryan Hulse, Photographer
Nashville | Tn | USA | Posted: 8:40 AM on 11.26.08
->> Remember when this forum was about Sports Photography?
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Philip Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Puyallup | WA | USA | Posted: 9:40 AM on 11.26.08
->> I have a hard time understanding why people say tax cuts were a problem, as the government makes lots more money now.

Total Government Revenue 2000: 3457.8 Billion
Total Government Revenue 2008: 4925.5 Billion

Now if you want to talk about Congress spending money like drunken sailors on crack I'll agree with you...
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 9:53 AM on 11.26.08
->> As my drivers ed teacher told me about other drivers, "Walt, don't assume the other driver is as smart as you."

A lot of people wanted to own their own home even when financially they couldn't, but the banks said "No problem, we've got the cool new product called a sub-prime mortgage. Sign on the dotted line."

Congress has been spending like drunken sailors on the largest increasing on our government's size creating "Homeland Security", not to mention fighting two wars simultaneously. But let's not worry about spending spending spending without having to pay for it.

Remember our Congress created the TSA. Grin.

Buy duct tape, help the economy that is on a code Red Alert.

All these worries makes photographing sports seem to trivial.
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Bryan Hulse, Photographer
Nashville | Tn | USA | Posted: 10:02 AM on 11.26.08
->> "All these worries makes photographing sports seem to trivial."

Very true Walter... Good point.
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Jason Orth, Photographer, Photo Editor
Lincoln | NE | USA | Posted: 10:09 AM on 11.26.08
->> Bitching and grandstanding is so much more fun, and accomplishes more in the process.
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington | IL | United States | Posted: 10:26 AM on 11.26.08
->> Where's Ross Perot with his charts when we need him most?
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Dan Bannister, Photographer
Calgary | AB | Canada | Posted: 10:29 AM on 11.26.08
->> Walter said:

"No problem, we've got the cool new product called a sub-prime mortgage. Sign on the dotted line."

Any time someone calls a financial instrument such as an investment, mutual fund, loan, mortgage or insurance policy a "product" your Spidey senses should start tingling. If they have to call it a "product" they are no longer giving you financial advice, they are trying to sell you something and most of the time, it's not for your benefit, it's for theirs.

If it sounds too good to be true, it ALWAYS is, stop looking for silver bullets.
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Jason Orth, Photographer, Photo Editor
Lincoln | NE | USA | Posted: 10:48 AM on 11.26.08
->> Alan, right here for ya' man...

http://perotcharts.com/
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 11:46 AM on 11.26.08
->> "What ever happened to common sense, and since when is it the Governments responsibility to enforce it?"


Shouldn't someone in Government have some common sense?

Our Government tries to enforce moral issues, they would accomplish more if they would enforce common sense, and that's just my .02!
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Bryan Hulse, Photographer
Nashville | Tn | USA | Posted: 12:08 PM on 11.26.08
->> "If they have to call it a "product" they are no longer giving you financial advice, they are trying to sell you something and most of the time, it's not for your benefit, it's for theirs."

Hello? Are you kidding me?
Of course it's a product and of course they are trying to sell you the product to make money! Just like we sell photos to make money. They aren't financial advisers. They are banks trying to employee many people, and increase the stock value of their company for the sake of investors. ALL investors! Not just corporate officers, but normal Joe's too (pun intended). That is what the free market is all about. At least in this country.

If I want financial advice, I will do my own research or hire an expert to represent me. If I want a loan or an insurance policy, I will learn about the 'products' and make an informed decision based on my own financial situation and experience. The tools are there for ME to use. Not to tell me how to use them. Does someone actually go through life holding your hand and telling you when to make financial decisions, and when to pass? Wow! I don't have that luxury, nor do I expect it.

"Shouldn't someone in Government have some common sense?"

Ah, no. They shouldn't and they don't and won't. Accept that and you will free your mind of blame.
They will put you in jail if you break the law.
They will enforce the tax code.
They will build roads and bridges, etc.
But they will hopefully stay out of our way of freedom. And freedom doesn't only mean allowing us speak our minds. It is also about freedom to succeed, and make mistakes, and reap the rewards and consequences for our actions.

My wife was laid off several years ago. I got a no interest loan to lower my payments, and skip a months mortgage. It saved my arse. 6 months later, we refinanced, and were back on track. I refinanced with no closing costs. Had I not had those tools, I may have lost my home, or at least my credit would be shot. But my credit is intact, and all is well. So, being of sound mind and ration, and having taken a bit of a chance, I came out better BECAUSE of the tools that everyone seems to think are evil.

If people don't want to learn how to use the tools, hire a mechanic.
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 12:43 PM on 11.26.08
->> Bryan,

The problem with the whole sub-prime fiasco isn't just about people being dumb enough to buy a product they can't afford. I agree the government should not be in the business of protecting stupid people from themselves. BUT, the SEC is supposed to be there to protect financial market from illegal and dubious practice. You're only looking at one side of the problem - the transaction between the company OFFERING the loan and the buyer. There's the whole other side of the coin - how that loan is owned and financed, how financials are reported etc.

A big part of the current problem is the financial watchdogs were not watching as tightly as they were supposed to. It's just like basketball. If the ref isn't going to call contact the hacking is going to get worse. Joe Public DOES need protection from corporate dishonesty in the market. And there's a WHOLE LOT of grey area there - not unlike calling fouls in basketball.

So while I agree I don't want the government holding my hand, I DO want them overseeing integrity of massive corporations that drive the economy. I do want that.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 1:08 PM on 11.26.08
->> History my friends.

Learn history.

What is happening right now is different than the past, but the past proves that the market place needs regulation.

Teddy Roosevelt is laughing in his grave at the stupidity of our elected officials for promising a utopia if only regulations where eliminated. The late 19th Century, and the Roaring '20s are our guides to what happens when greedy people run amuck to take advantage of people who are not as smart as you and I.

Instead you and I are now about to pay through the nose with our tax dollars to fix something that would never have happened if government agencies empowered to prevent this hadn't been gutted in the last 30 years.

Far cheaper to prevent than to fix. That's sound economics.
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 1:33 PM on 11.26.08
->> Come on Walter - don't be too harsh. After all the SEC filed suit against Cuban for insider trading didn't they?
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 1:45 PM on 11.26.08
->> "Shouldn't someone in Government have some common sense?"

"Ah, no. They shouldn't and they don't and won't. Accept that and you will free your mind of blame."


"If people don't want to learn how to use the tools, hire a mechanic"

Or we could just vote for people to do those jobs for us....but wait, they don't have or shouldn't have COMMON SENSE.
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Jeff Martin, Photographer
wellington | OH | usa | Posted: 7:37 PM on 11.26.08
->> We should all be president. We're so smart!

Meaning there is a little truth to all these reasons. The problem is a little too complex to solve on here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jeff
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Ruth Faison, Photographer
Clarksburg | MD | USA | Posted: 7:38 PM on 11.26.08
->> Tom Friedman's column in today's (Wed 11-16-08) NYTimes puts it well (at least some of it):

because "... some of our country’s best-paid bankers were overrated dopes who had no idea what they were selling, or greedy cynics who did know and turned a blind eye. But it wasn’t only the bankers. This financial meltdown involved a broad national breakdown in personal responsibility, government regulation and financial ethics."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/26/opinion/26friedman.html?_r=1&hp

I highly recommend it.
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Ruth Faison, Photographer
Clarksburg | MD | USA | Posted: 7:41 PM on 11.26.08
->> Oops - the date of Friedman's column is 11-26-08. Sorry.
Ruth
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Michael Troutman, Photographer
Carmel | CA | USA | Posted: 2:23 PM on 11.27.08
->> I'm not surprised that an intelligent, well-written initial post on this subject is greeted by "off-topics" and "this thread doesn't belong here". How the global economic crisis affects the business of photography (on top of all the other issues that have been impacting our industry the past few years) and what we can do to survive financially as businesspeople is arguably the most important discussion we can be having right now. And yes, there is always going to be some partisanship that percolates out from such a discussion, but this topic is the central one facing all of us now (for quite a while, actually). Ignore it at your own peril.

There is a very real possibility that we are entering a deflationary depression. Any attempts by the Fed to inflate out of this will likely destroy the dollar and result in a global sell-off of our national debt (U.S. Treasuries) by foreign countries, particularly the Asian and the oil-producing nations. If you are wondering what happens when there is sovereign default, have a look at Iceland right now. Not good.

Anyone seeking active, intense and educated discussion of these macro economic issues should have a long look at the forums here:
http://www.tickerforum.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www

Bottom line, the admonition in the original post to "know your budget and learn to live within it or you too will dig a whole too big to be bailed out" is indeed absolutely vital to economic survival in these times, and is most-assuredly "on-topic". Just my $.02...
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 2:00 PM on 11.28.08
->> The economy is the way it is for a multitude of reasons. I could write 300 pages on this, but no one wants to put up with that.

It's easy to claim it was the housing crisis; but that's exceptionally simplistic. A lack of regulation based on a notion that less government is good for business, was proven once again, as it was in 1929, to be incorrect. This goes back to Reagan. Don't think the Democrats are innocent in this; they threw the last can of gas on the fire; that's how illegals who couldn't speak English and made $14K a year were able to finance $720,000 houses. (And no, I'm not kidding...)

In the 20's, you could buy stocks for 5% down. People placed the 5% down and watched as everyone else did the same and bid prices up. While margin requirements for stocks were put into place to prevent this from happening again, those who fail to learn history, or ignore it, will repeat it.

One of the problems wasn't a problem initially. Expanding economies produced more wealth, and all of that money went looking for a place to get a return on that wealth. Hedge funds, commodities and a long list of other financial instruments could be "purchased" for 5% down. While these instruments were not stocks, they were highly leveraged. Promising a very good return on investment, everyone started investing their old and new wealth. There's a sucker born every minute, you know? You thought OPEC was responsible for $4/gal gas, but it turns out people trading in oil futures were doing the heavy lifting, OPEC just sat back and smiled.
And how much did one have to invest in a oil future? Care to guess? That's right... 5%. You only paid the total amount if the contract came due...

So, sub prime lending, which got of lot attention in the main media, was one of many highly levereged instruments that were absolutely bound to crash and taking everyone's 401K with it. Paul Krugman, who is a professor and columnist for the NYTimes, warned anyone who would listen.So did a few others that understood how dangerous the leveraging of these new financial instruments was. But few did. Everyone was too busy watching their housing values and investments soar. (Krugman just won a Noble Prize for Economics)

Like the great depression, only putting 5% into something has led to results that will take a decade (at least) to work our way out of. Obama knows how bad it is..just wait until the speech after January 20th....

And what of personal responsibility? Americans have been long viewed as the economic drivers of consumption for the world.

Never mind that they have been living on borrowed time. Borrowing against the equity in one's house only works if you can pay the bank back, the value of your house doesn't go in reverse, and you actually sell the asset at the high price to receive the gain. Many Americans, who would never bother to take a course in Economics 101 or personal finance foolishly felt that the line of credit credit cards extended them was somehow their money. That part of the crisis has yet to hit.
Americans bought and bought with money they didn't have. (There we go with the leverage thing again....)

Juliett Schoor, a Phd who taught at Harvard and now at Boston College, has researched the consumption, spending and work habits of Americans. One book, " The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need " goes into great detail as to why Americans spent like they did. One finding: a strong link between the amount of TV a family watches in a week and the amount of household debt. As one rises, so does the other. If you want to learn, I highly recommend her books. The woman is scary on target. She also predicted the end would not be pretty long before the current crisis.

The current economic crisis is a perfect storm; idiot and greedy bankers, many of whom should have understood what they were playing with and didn't, lack of government regulation of financial products that didn't exist 10 years ago much less 50, and consumers who measured their self worth by what they owned (but hadn't paid for) instead of things that really count.

The will be many stories to tell as a result of this. I only hope there will be the newspapers, magazines and the internet there to help tell them.
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Michael Troutman, Photographer
Carmel | CA | USA | Posted: 2:52 PM on 11.28.08
->> Exactly right.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 2:56 PM on 11.28.08
->> Hey guys I think you are all missing my point. The understanding how much each person makes is important for them to pay their bills.

This is the foundation for Sports Shooter. No income = no equipment or finances to do this.

How many here have debt they are carrying and still looking to upgrade equipment? Shouldn't we all be trying to live within our means? Shouldn't we being charging enough for our work to break even or make a profit?

I am only asking each of us do you know your numbers? What do you have to make to pay the basic bills? What do you have to clear above this to plan for retirement?

After you have your personal income and expenses figures, then do you know what you must make above this to operate your business without having to borrow all the time?

If you know these numbers great. If you don't take the time and discover them. If everyone on this board did it--we will have made a move in the right direction as an industry to solve many of the issues we constantly bring up here.

I hope if you do not know what I am talking about you will make this part of your New Year's resolution to know it so you can empower yourself to be in control of your life.

Emergencies and health issues will often require us to borrow. For the day to day stuff--we should be able to pay this without using credit.

Let's not try and solve the countries problems--lets just draw a circle around ourselves and start there. If we are for the most part debt free, then by all means lend a hand.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 3:01 PM on 11.28.08
->> Oooops, lots of errors above. Here it is a little better for you.

Hey guys
I think you are all missing my point. The understanding how much each person makes is important to pay the bills.

This is the foundation for Sports Shooter. No income = no equipment or finances to do this.

How many here have a debt they are carrying and still looking to upgrade equipment? Shouldn't we all be trying to live within our means? Shouldn't we being charging enough for our work to break even or make a profit?

I am only asking each of us questions like, do you know your numbers? What do you have to make to pay the basic bills? What do you have to clear above this to plan for retirement?

After you have your personal income and expenses figures, then do you know what you must make above this to operate your business without having to borrow all the time?

If you know these numbers great. If you don't know, please take the time to discover them. If everyone on this board did it--we will have made a move in the right direction as an industry to solve many of the issues we constantly bring up here.

I hope if you do not know what I am talking about, you will make this part of your New Year's resolution to know. If you do it can empower yourself to be in control of your life.

Emergencies and health issues will often require us to borrow. For the day to day stuff--we should be able to pay this without using credit.

Let's not try and solve the country’s problems--let’s just draw a circle around ourselves and start there. If we are for the most part debt free, then by all means lend a hand.
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Jeff Barrie, Photographer
Indianapolis | IN | USA | Posted: 8:54 AM on 12.01.08
->> If you haven't heard of him, Dave Ramsey has a unique concept, live within your means. You can check http://www.daveramsey.com/ to see if you can find him on the radio in your area or, watch his show on Fox Business Channel in the evenings.
This would be a good place to start and to evaluate your situation with business or personal debt. His concept is so simple, not easy to do if your heavliy in debt but, it can work with just about any situation.
I have been listening to him for nearly 2 years now and except for the house, and with 2 car payments left I am nearly debt free. If I don't have the cash or, the money in the bank I don't buy it. Do I miss being able to buy things I don't have the money for right now? Sure but, I enjoy not sitting down once a month and paying a little over $1000 in credit card bills even more.

One of his steps is a $1000 emergency fund. Last Feb I had that in the bank and business was slow but I was still able to get my monthly bills paid without having to touch that but not much else was left over. Then on the 19th at 6:30 am I got a phone call that my father had passed away in southern Illinois. If not for Dave Ramsey and having that emergency fund I would have been very short on cash that I needed over the course of the next week.
In closing I highly recommend that you take a look at what he does and how he suggests you get out of debt.
Dave Ramsey, teaching you how to live within your means, a concept congress can't seem to grasp.
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Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 12:28 PM on 12.01.08
->> Our society is addicted to credit like a drug addict to crystal meth or crack cocaine.

Businesses don't help, they too are addicted to extending easy credit.

Not so very long ago it was not uncommon to enter a business and see a sign that read:
"In God We Trust, all others pay cash."

Let's hope our children don't hate us too much for this debt which will fall on their shoulders.

--Steve
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:05 PM on 12.01.08
->> We've discussed Dave Ramsey before. I wrote a threat in 2007 about using college loans to finance gear purchases and Dave Ramsey was brought up by Jeff and some other people. The thread is here: http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=26071

Business conditions are VERY challenging right now. In my other business, our business is actually UP for September, October and November, and margin is hanging in there.

Living in rural Iowa, I went through the farm crisis in the 80's, so I have more experience than I thought I ever wanted in dealing with economies going thru upheaval. I didn't think at the time that I would ever look back at it and think what a blessing it really was. What I did learn is that all the financial games that got played eventually have a day of reckoning. It's here.

Get your expenses DOWN. Pay off all of your bills. Cease using credit cards for long term purchases. Buy what you need, but avoid financing unless it's a long term asset - like a house.

One mistake I see being made right now by consumers is that they will trade down for less quality and a lower price. If this is a major purchase, you should be able to buy better quality for a few dollars difference. This is the smart buy because the better quality product should, all things being equal, last longer. IF you have cash, and good credit, there WILL be opportunities to make good investments down the road. Keep your powder dry. If you're looking for a house,can get the credit, and can AFFORD IT, now is a good time because there are some great values out there.

Finally, to Stanley's original post, if the idea of budgets, cash flow analysis and break even points, leave you glassy eyed; you are a lamb for the slaughter.

You need to learn from somewhere about these things and NOW is the time to start. It can ASMP, NPPA,Dave Ramsey or heck, email me privately - but you need to get knowledge NOW.

If you think this stuff is boring, ask anyone who has actually done it - to me it's usually FUN. I sleep a lot better most nights, too.
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Jim Colburn, Photo Editor, Photographer
McAllen | TX | USA | Posted: 5:36 PM on 12.02.08
->> "Cease using credit cards for long term purchases." "...avoid financing unless it's a long term asset - like a house."

How is a professional photographer supposed to buy much needed equipment? For them their equipment IS a long term, and deductible, asset. The fact that the economy is in the crapper is no reason to abandon the sensible use of credit.
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Dave Amorde, Photographer
Lake Forest | CA | USA | Posted: 10:13 PM on 12.02.08
->> The Clinton surpluses were largely a result of the Internet IPO stock bubble. With millions of people cashing out stock options that rocketed to the stratusphere thanks to foreign investors, people who used to pay $2K a year in federal taxes were now paying $50K in short-term capital gains.
But, like any pyramid scheme (and that's all the stock market really is), it had to ultimately come crashing down.
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