Thursday, October 02, 2008

Are We Living In Economic Denial?

When a young family used to purchase a home, 10% down payment was a must. A young adult with little credit would struggle to get a credit card. Buying a car with no money down was unheard of.

Times have certainly changed. Today, we expect all of these things with no strings attached. We can buy a huge home with no money down, and thanks to the availability of credit cards, we can purchase almost anything at a moment's notice. The average person owes thousands in credit card debt.

We've gotten used to this. And so have businesses and the government.

I'm shocked, as I've gotten to know more business owners over the years, at how many businesses survive from month to month, sometimes day to day. The names of some of these companies would surprise many folks. Credit keeps most of these firms in business.

The availability of credit is certainly not a bad thing. Credit helps businesses hire new employees and sometimes pay their current staff. Credit is almost always the only way a small business can grow into a mid-sized firm.

But the country (citizens and government) does need to understand the risk of loose credit and work to find a fine line between offering credit for everyone and grinding the economy to a hault.

This presidential election may be a good start. The country is broke and deep in debt. Who is the best candidate? Out of all the questions Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are being asked this election season, the most important question may be this:

If you sent Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain to the grocery store with a list of groceries and a $100 bill, who would come back with the most cash?

As far as our country is concerned, the answer to that question may be the best answer to the question, "Who should be our next president?"

--Ron Ameln, SBM

Sunday, September 28, 2008

In Memory: Mary Ameln 1944-2008

It's amazing the impact we all have on the lives of others.
I started to think about this following the death of my mother, Mary Ameln. She passed away Sept. 27 at her home in Las Vegas.
If an observer would take a look at my mother's life (maybe even my mother herself), it would be easy to think she didn't have much of an impact on the world we live in. I mean, my mother never graduated from high school (she never finished the 10th grade); she was never CEO of a Furtune 500 firm; she never won a Gold medal; climbed Mount Everest or wrote a best seller. In fact, if you Google her name its as if she never existed. Her primary job over the years was raising three children.
I would certainly make the argument that my mother's accomplishments are much more valuable than the ones listed above.
The values and morals my mother has passed along to myself, my two sisters, her five grandchildren and her many friends and family members are invaluable contributions. The way I handle adversity, challenges and my work ethic are all a direct reflection of my mother's influence. These traits will last generations, being passed down from generation to generation.
Climbing Mount Everest is nice, but no one will remember your name 10 years later. My mother's contributions to this great land will last generations.
--Ron Ameln, SBM