We are enjoying our month in the country. Not exactly a vacation…but close. We work in the office from 8AM until lunchtime at about 2PM. Then, we turn our attention to other things. In the summer, that means painting. We’re repainting the billiard room, because Elizabeth decided that the curtains needed to be changed. And then, we’re repainting a farmhouse, top to bottom, before renting it out.
Painting is a fairly relaxing occupation. You can do it while thinking about other things. Rolling the walls or cutting in the corners, some men might think of going hunting…or playing golf. We try to figure out what is going on in the world economy. For these are remarkable times we live in. We see what is happening…pretty much what we expected. But we’re not sure where it leads.
Readers may have noticed a shift in our thinking recently. Well, you can blame latex. As we were painting in the billiard room we began to see that governments are more incompetent than even we had realized. They can’t create inflation on demand. A few months ago, we were preparing for inflation…even hyperinflation. Now…we’re not so sure. The depression and the Chinese vigilantes may hold off inflation…even for years.
Does this mean you should sell your gold? Well…we wouldn’t go that far. Even in the Great Depression gold and gold mining stocks rose in price. And the one and only sure thing is that the world monetary system is dangerously unstable. We’d hold gold until it settles down. Just don’t count on getting rich from it in the short-term.
Here’s another reason housing prices are going down: housing priorities are changing. Baby Boomers are entering a phase in their lives when people typically escape from urban/suburban centers in favor of small towns and rural areas. If this pattern continues, it will mean a big shift of population, say the experts.
Remember, it’s what you do, who you do it with, and where you do it that counts. By the time a person reaches middle age, the first question is usually settled…the second is often in doubt…and the third is actively being considered. That is, few people begin a new career after the age of 50…but it seems like more and more decide they might want to try life with a new partner.
“I can’t imagine it,” said Elizabeth. “It just seems like too big an adjustment. It took me a quarter century to get used to you. I don’t know if I could get used to someone else…
“On the other hand, it might be fun to try…”
Well, for whatever reason, it seems like people are changing partners – even at a rather advanced stage in life. And as for the where to live – it’s a question on practically every Baby Boomer’s mind.
“I just got tired of living in the city,” said a man who spent his entire career in Paris. “Just too much hassle. I’d rather visit occasionally than live there.”
Our friend has moved to the country not far from here. He has set up a small woodworking shop in a garage and happily spends his time making chairs and tables. When his house is full of them, he’ll probably have to give them to friends and relatives.
“It’s much nicer living out here than in the city,” says another friend. “And much cheaper. You can buy a whole house for half the cost of an apartment in town…and then you don’t have to pay for parking…you can raise chickens and vegetables…and you can even heat with wood, if you want. You don’t really have to spend much money at all.
“And the quality of life is higher. Small towns are more friendly. They’re prettier…usually. They’re easier. So they’re perfect for people who are retired.
“And here in France, there’s another phenomenon. When people retire, they want to go back to where they came from. Usually, they have a house they inherited from parents or grandparents. So, they leave the apartment in Paris to their children, who are just building their careers. And they retire to the country. It’s not a bad way to live.”
Until next time,
for The Daily Reckoning Australia