Spain money

The economy continues to move forward. – NWILife

This week our beloved Spanish exchange girl, Ane, returned to our home from Spain to spend most of the remaining summer. Ane spent the 2017-2018 school year with us and visited again in 2019. My wife and I were supposed to travel to her area of ​​northern Spain to celebrate my 50th birthday in May 2020, but COVID put end this shot in quick mode.

Despite the challenges of being on different continents, the bond formed between this lovely young woman and our family is very strong. Somewhere along the way, she went from exchange student to exchange “girl”, which is the position she now occupies in our lives. It was wonderful to see her in person after three long years.

Ane is now entering her fourth year at the Universidad de Navarre in Pamplona, ​​Spain. She studies international relations and asks me from time to time for help to revise her written homework, written in English. I have always found his program impressive and stimulating. I am also often amused to see how its curriculum and its teachers present the history and status of the United States in international relations. For the first two years of his schooling, I thought his upbringing was as much like an American history major as an international relations program. The Europeans seem much more focused on us here across the pond than we are on them.

One of the most interesting benefits of maintaining a relationship with Ane is talking to him about the Spanish economy, the economic and political mindset in Europe, and the European view of the state of the United States. His family is wealthy but middle class. Her mother is a dentist, her father is an administrator in a hospital system. She always seemed to have a level of economic confidence in her family’s financial security, but now, as an incoming senior, she’s beginning to focus and concern herself with her own plans after graduation. Or in other words, where she will find a job.

On the way home from O’hare, Ane complained that it used to cost 25 euros to fill a gas tank in Spain, but now it costs 50 euros. The same goes for dinners with her friends, which used to be 10 euros and are now 20. She said people in Spain didn’t like President Trump but now wish he was back because they think President Biden is “terrible”. She said Putin and the Russians were ruining everything in Europe, which was recovering from COVID but is now caught in a “stupid war”. She is worried about the ‘slowdown’ of things in Spain, but hasn’t really noticed it yet. She was glad that Americans who walked into the bar where she worked didn’t know that Europeans didn’t tip and that Americans would “tip money” anyway.

Ane’s European perspective is not far removed from that of my eldest daughter, who is eight years older and well established in her tech marketing career. My oldest texted me this week saying she thinks we’re in a recession because Linked In is full of people who have been laid off or whose job offers have been rescinded. The text also complained that she and her husband went to Dairy Queen this week and ordered the exact same treats as last week, but the price was $1.30 higher, which was a rate of DQ inflation of 16%. Oh, the outrage.

As I sit with clients every day, I feel like everyone in the economy is waiting for some sort of “next shoe” to drop. The stock market slips along the bearish threshold, the consumer confidence index capitulated this week to the lowest since 2013 (source: Reuters), the Atlanta Fed forecasts zero or minimal GDP growth in the United States in the second quarter with its GDPnow indicator (source: Atlanta Fed). As an investor, this all seems too obvious, and that, my friends, is what makes me pause and maybe even hope a little.

In my experience, investing and saving are never easy or obvious. The very nature of the endeavor of being an investor demands that common wisdom be questioned – not necessarily denied, but always questioned.

The first obvious non-predictive indicator of an economic slowdown will be unemployment claims and job creations, and for the first five months of the year, the US economy is creating an exceptional average of nearly 500,000 jobs per month. (source: BLS). Investors will have to watch this figure closely over the next few months, but for now the US economy continues to move forward, so let’s try not to get into a recession.

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