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Have we reached a bear market rally top in the market?




 
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Author Topic: Have we reached a bear market rally top in the market?  (Read 20307 times)
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K1JJ
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« on: May 05, 2009, 12:51:35 PM »

Back in the middle of March, both Eric/WA2CAU and I posted we thought a tremendous rally (up) in the stock market was due within a week or so.  The market at that time was around 7000 with many analysts looking for a collapse.  Today the Dow is near 8500 - a good rally.  The S&P 500 is up about 25%.   (lucky call)  Grin

I had mentioned the top of the forcasted rally would be a good time to unload the dogs that we got caught with in our portfolios.  I also mentioned that it would be a rally that would take our breath away and the talking heads on TV would be screaming we are into a new bull market.  Yesterday we even crossed above the high of the year, giving an overall gain for 2009.

Yesterday, I tuned in the business channel and heard three "anal-ysts" urging everyone to buy now - not to miss the train! 


Perhaps we are are getting near to the top of this rally - bullish sentiment alone is a great indicator. Also, if we look back to the 1929 - 1932 decline, we will see similar bear market rally patterns that lasted 4 weeks to 3 months with gains of up to 30% at times.  But every time - they failed and the market sold off to new lows until the final low of Dow 40.5  in July, 1932.

I think we are close to the top of a bear market rally now and will see the beginnings of a sharp sell off shortly - within a week or two. It could go higher, but this rally in both price and time has satisfied my expectations to history.

Look for an eventual break of Dow 800 before the bear market of 2008-2011 is over. That is a 90% total decline in the overall stock market. It has so far declined about 40%-50% or so, depending on the index you use. It will continue to have bear market rallies like we've just seen this last two months and most investers will get bullish again, only to be sorely disappointed.  I think most foreign stock markets will generally follow, but some will start to diverge and could even show strength at times, like China. Towards the end of a bear market, the strongest markets refuse to go down any farther and will be the ones to buy, but time will tell.

Anyway, this is just an opinion and many times I am wrong. Just wanted to follow up on a thread that started back in March. I couldn't remember where it was, so started a new one.  We'll have to see if this forecash works out or not.

Look for a series of news events over the next few weeks to "shock" the markets and start the ball moving down again - with the main trend, which is still down, in my opinion.

Later -

T




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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 12:59:37 PM »

Then my timing is good. I'm about to convert a fairly sizable wad into cash.

We're approaching the summer doldrums, what effect do you suppose that will have? Is the lower summer volume likely have a retarding effect on declines as well as gains (trading-influenced gains/declines, that is)?
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K1JJ
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 01:09:48 PM »

Then my timing is good. I'm about to convert a fairly sizable wad into cash.

We're approaching the summer doldrums, what effect do you suppose that will have? Is the lower summer volume likely have a retarding effect on declines as well as gains (trading-influenced gains/declines, that is)?


Thom,

If you look back and study the popular "Trader's Almanac"  this last two years, you will see the usual seasonal patterns got destroyed since the bear market began.  The rules have changed for now.

There have been times when the summer has been dead, but last summer, volume and volatility set new records.

Keep your eye on the dot (the market itself) and try not to get influenced by news and optimized seasonal tendencies.  There are times when the tendencies can be right 10 times in a row, but then the odds swing the other way and are wrong 10 times in a row.

When the market is ready to make a move due to accumulation or distribution, there is nothing that can stop it - even summer vacations... Grin

T
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 01:23:08 PM »

Gotcha. Fortunately, the answer wouldn't have changed my current course of action.

Some of this stuff I hate to sell, because it's been fairly stable over the last two years, but I see no hope of realistic gains in the forseeable future. I won't sell all of them, but I need liquidity more than anything right now.
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K1JJ
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 01:38:04 PM »

Well, at least you didn't sell them into the abyss like some who panicked out at the very bottom.... Wink

I still think cash is king and the best position right now is NO position except into the US Dollar. (T-bills, and cash equivalents) The dollar has rallied tremendously relative to most all other assets and other foreign currencies whirlwide.  Amazing isn't it?  The market has little relationship to conventional logical thinking. 

There will come a time for speculation again - and the market will give us plenty of time to get aboard. Trying to pick the bottom in a bear market is the road to ruin.

Another thing:  "Corrections" against the main trend are  difficult to predict compared to "impulse waves" going with the trend.  This bear market rally is a correction. The impulse wave is down.  This correction could go higher still, but, being squirrely, it could collapse at any time too.

If this is a new bull market, then all bets are off, but I give it a low probability of being so.

T
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 03:00:19 PM »

Per Tom, K1JJ:

"Look for an eventual break of Dow 800 before the bear market of 2008-2011 is over. That is a 90% total decline in the overall stock market. It has so far declined about 40%-50% or so, depending on the index you use."

Tom, even for a contrarian such as myself, a Dow of 800 is a little tough to swallow! I thought I was bearish at a capitulation point of Dow 4500, but Dow 800..........wow.

I am preparing to go short in this market environment. As you and I had discussed at Deerfield this past weekend, I think this current bear market rally is getting a little long in the tooth, and the technical indicators are flashing red at this point.

And I wonder what kind of an impact the bank stress test results will have on the market when they are released on Thursday. Very possibly this has already been priced into the market.

Thanks for your usual objective commentary on all things market-related.

73,

Bruce
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 03:01:04 PM »

The other unknown is the inflation factor.  With the amount of funds committed by the administration and the underlying complications, the only route out of these problems is to inflate the dollar.  

This means anyone caught with cash will loose substantially over a period of time depending on the rate of inflation.  So what to do?  Some are suggesting gold or other metals, some are suggesting commodities.  Check history in the late 70s and early 80s to see what gained value and that is an indicator but may not be the solution this time.   As has been mentioned the rules don't apply any more.

I have been in cash since the S&P went below ~1200 and have remained out of the market.  It hurts to sit and watch the rally we have just witnessed but I agree that this is probably a bear rally.  There are a few strengths out there but not many, and probably not enough to support sustained recovery.  

The pessimists are saying 2011 or 12, the optimists are saying next year.  Just be careful.  I saw a CBO report the other day that forecasts the federal public debt will be 54% of GDP by 2011.  We are going to have to face the music some day soon.  I just hope rational people will get together to solve the problems.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 05:35:03 PM »

Per Tom, K1JJ:
"Look for an eventual break of Dow 800 before the bear market of 2008-2011 is over. That is a 90% total decline in the overall stock market. It has so far declined about 40%-50% or so, depending on the index you use."

Tom, even for a contrarian such as myself, a Dow of 800 is a little tough to swallow! I thought I was bearish at a capitulation point of Dow 4500, but Dow 800..........wow.


Bruce,

Yep, it is quite a radical expectation. The markets usually go much farther than anyone expects and will surprise us most of the time.

To be more specific, I expect the LONG TERM bear market to last until about the year 2040. In between now and that far distant date, there will be many bull markets that last for a few years, but they will not exceed the highs of 2008 nor come close to the prosperity we had over the last 70 years in the USA.   I feel we have a lot of excess to work out first.   After year 2040 or thereabouts, we will begin a new era - and prosperity will return and exceed our previous highs.

In the meantime, I do think we will break Dow 800 at some point to satisfy a long range market pattern, but whether that happens within the next few years or takes until 2040 to finally work out is soley dependant on the real events that occur. No one can predict the actual events or magnitude of them accurately, but the overall patterns themselves seem to work out over time.  Hopefully there will not be too much social unrest and wars during that period, cuz they can get greatly magnified during bad economic times.

The best scenario in this pattern would be a slow erosion over the next 30 years rather than chaos.  Thirty years really ain't that long when viewing the long term history of the markets going back to the 1700's.  After 70 years of prosperity, 30 years is expected for a breather. It has happened before. When we are within it, it all seems like slow motion. There will be times when the economy gets better, but it will always seem tired and lazy until it works itself out. (Debt liquidated or paid back, etc)   In contrast, when the next short "intermidiate" bull market starts (2011?) China is poised to rock and roll and become the next economic leader for the next 30 years. The USA will eventually catch up and surpass China later on.

Jim: Agreed on all.  I think this deflation bear is so powerful, inflation will not rear its head for some time now. A deflation's job is to destroy financial assets. It has done it so far in spades. I think any efforts to inflate farther will just make deflation worse. It sounds illogical, I know. But deflation is the main trend now and governments have never been able to buck and successfully turn a main trend around.... until it runs it's course.


Stock Market Strategy?  For 76 years the best strategy was generally to buy and hold. The rules have changed. The best strategy now is to trade the intermidiate swings up and down. Investors need to learn how to sell short when expecting a market decline.   The recent 25% rally is a perfect example of a trading swing. One would now be looking to take profits and find a place to sell short for a decline.


In the meantime, just live life like it's 1999.... Grin
 
T
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 06:53:10 PM »

Stock Market Strategy?  For 76 years the best strategy was generally to buy and hold. The rules have changed. The best strategy now is to trade the intermidiate swings up and down. Investors need to learn how to sell short when expecting a market decline.   The recent 25% rally is a perfect example of a trading swing. One would now be looking to take profits and find a place to sell short for a decline.
Amen.

Tom

Remember when I said I was going to ride the market up and jump off?  Well, it didn't exactly happen like I wanted for my 401K.  I kept waiting for the big pullbacks that never came. (I don't like chasing.)  I am only in 10% (way too late) and will pull out again. (I hate that I only have bland mutual funds to choose from.) 

I did a lot better with my IRA. Using leveraged ETF's (and Apple) I made back a great portion of my losses in the last few weeks.  We are out again (except for a short REIT ETF I got killed on) and am waiting for the next ride.
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 07:12:08 PM »

Tom

Remember when I said I was going to ride the market up and jump off?  Well, it didn't exactly happen like I wanted for my 401K.  I kept waiting for the big pullbacks that never came. (I don't like chasing.)  I am only in 10% (way too late) and will pull out again. (I hate that I only have bland mutual funds to choose from.) 

I did a lot better with my IRA. Using leveraged ETF's (and Apple) I made back a great portion of my losses in the last few weeks.  We are out again waiting for the next ride.


Hey, that's pretty good  John - especially the IRA gains. It's not what happened yesterday, but what am I gonna do now? You took action - that's good.  Many people have given up - and now hope and hope... and are prepared to go down with the ship if it sinks.


You mentioned two problems with making profits.  First is the human factors that cause us to jump in too early or too late. (or not pull the trigger at all)  The second is picking the wrong vehicle for the move. We can have the best forecast, but make nothing if we have poor execution of the plan.

As for picking the right vehicle, I haven't bought or sold individual stocks in over 20 years. I use the S&P 500 futures index for buying and shorting. For example, the S&P 500 made a 25% move this last 2 months. Buying the mini-future would have required about $6K per contract margin. The recent move would have made about $8K per contract, or a gain of about 133%.   You always participate when you buy an index.


The other side is when a stock like Ford goes from about 1 3/4 to 5 as it did recently.  That's about a 285% gain.  Then there's stocks that actually declined during the rally or stayed the same.  All in all, I like the broad index the best. (S&P 500 future)


BTW, another sign that this rally is a bear market rally:  You mentioned that you waited for a pull-back that never came. Well, bear corrections like this usually have a steep and perfect slope. You can usually draw a nice clean trendline under them and they will hug it over and over as they advance. When they finally break the steep trendline, they generally collapse and the trend resumes down. In contrast, a real bull market rally will have many sharp corrections along the way. They try to shake people out. 

The bear market rally wants to get everyone bullish to buy and buy, afraid to miss the move.

The bull market climbs a wall of worry.... and declines on worry.   A bear market slides down a slope of hope.... and rallies on hope too.

T
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 07:22:42 PM »

In the meantime, just live life like it's 1999....

...scared sh*tless that the world is going to end on Dec. 31st at midnight?  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 07:35:58 PM »

In the meantime, just live life like it's 1999....

...scared sh*tless that the world is going to end on Dec. 31st at midnight?  Wink


hahaha.... naw.  I've never listened to the doom and gloomers saying an asteroid, axis shift or flying saucer would take me out. It will be our own health or an accident. That's the only thing that will put us in the box... Smiley   

You can always tell how well off a population is by what they worry about. Some worry about which BMW to buy, some worry about asteroids - while others worry about where their next meal will come from and if the rebels will come tonight to kill them.

Right now, the USA is still in the first two groups and reasonably safe.


T
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 09:31:20 PM »

Thom

Deflation is not the thing it is cracked up to be at the moment.  Fuel and food are not part of the formula, but food is dramatically higher than even 6 months ago.  It has leveled for now but fuel has started back up.  Those two factors impact every aspect of our economy and are not counted.  We are paying about 20% more for our bi-monthly food bills now vs. 18 months ago.

Even though other prices are stable to a bit lower than 6 months ago the biggest thing is the price of housing.  In 5-6 states the price is dramatically lower while here it only plateaued and is just slow to sell.  So the overall impact is actually a low inflation for us here not the deflation some people are seeing.  In this scenario the government won't have to increase the COLA's as much.

The real movement in the market is not here yet, but you are being cautious, which is good for us who have only fixed assets and are not contributing any longer.  We only hope that the market will pay just a bit over the payouts we receive.  If I had to be in the market and I am considering them, I would strongly consider high yield corporate bonds.  They are priced low at the moment and give good yield.  But if the government keeps up the Chrysler thing, that can change.  The bonds are slow movers so one has time to dump before big losses.
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 10:30:17 PM »

Jim,

It seems end-user consumer prices have held up firmly. That is baffling to me since raw commodity prices have gone down quite a bit in the last 6 months.  It seems the govt has found a way to keep rates low (our income low - while their own debt service percentage is lower than before) At the same time our cost of living is high. Not to mention property taxes thru the roof cuz of town/city mismanagement...   We consumers are in a pickle for sure. But it's still early and I think we WILL see falling consumer prices later on as cash gets harder and harder to get and liquidity becomes poor in many markets, despite the govt's efforts to inflate. Inflation efforts will backfire and cause a more severe deflation in the end. 

Also, deflation's effects on specific assets is directly related to how sharply prices ran up during inflationary (or prosperous) times. Maybe the real estate in your area didn't have the sharp advances like Miami, Phoenix, etc, so you are in a more stable environment. As usual, there can be mini bull markets in some parts of the country while the majority is getting hammered. (and vice versa)


Anyway, in the last 6 months, deflation has done a  negative 30%-60% hit job on stocks, real estate, raw commodities (incl oil) and has bankrupted many companies through defaults related to deflation. How else can you measure deflation other than with falling asset prices and especially with debt defaults?   Those two areas are the earmarks of deflation, not inflation.

As for bonds, we ain't seen nothin' yet.  I think it was Moodys? who just downgraded EVERY government/municipal  bond agency in the country. This bear market is only 9 months old. It's still young yet and things don't happen overnight.  Muni-bonds, and especially corporate bonds are very vulnerable to future defaults.  That's why we saw US bonds more expensive to buy than tax-free Munis for the first time in history. The market is telling us something.

There will be a time to snap up cheap bonds in the future for a song once the dust settles. But for now it is pure speculation and not for "safe" money. I would sit tight and let things unfold a little longer before making big commitments in muni or corporate bonds.  Stick with US Treasury cash equivalents (T-Bills, etc)  for now and you will be safe and have dry powder later.  Cash is king and will continue to appreciate relative to other assets for some time to come.

T

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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2009, 10:37:03 PM »

I would strongly consider high yield corporate bonds.  They are priced low at the moment and give good yield.  But if the government keeps up the Chrysler thing, that can change.  The bonds are slow movers so one has time to dump before big losses.
Heh... my 401K was mostly high grade bonds and tanked pretty fast before I could pull out last fall.  Lesson learned.  Bond funds are not nearly as safe as cash.

Recently, I was in the HYG (junk bond fund) in my IRA.  I got in near the bottom and it was up 19% in 8 weeks - not exactly a slow mover.  The dividend was about 13% but it went down from 80 cent to 60 cents this month.  I was disappointed in the decrease.  Ford was a major part of the fund and is no longer in it.  I suspect Ford bonds had to be liquidated to reduce Ford's debt and that explains some of the decrease.  Still, even 8% at today's price not that bad.  That said, I expect the yield to go back up if stocks tank again.  I was going to hold and let the dividends accumulate, but decided instead to take 19 months worth of "dividends" up front.  I can always go back in later.
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2009, 11:11:05 PM »

Who is going to buy real estate in a deflationary environment?
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2009, 07:53:30 AM »

Who is going to buy real estate in a deflationary environment?
People who:
* have a (VERY) stable job
* were formerly priced out of the market
* need a place to call home for the next 10 to 30 years
* don't plan to use their home as an ATM.

Deflation is only a problem if you need to sell or your wages go down. If you wait for THE bottom, you will probably miss it anyway.  If you can get a foreclosed property at 25-50 cents on the dollar, I don't see how you can lose in the long run.
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2009, 10:10:27 AM »

Who is going to buy real estate in a deflationary environment?
People who:
* have a (VERY) stable job

Not too many of those left.


* were formerly priced out of the market
* need a place to call home for the next 10 to 30 years

For employment and many other reasons, no one lives in the same place for 30 years any more. I don't know a single person who has.


Deflation is only a problem if you need to sell or your wages go down. If you wait for THE bottom, you will probably miss it anyway.  If you can get a foreclosed property at 25-50 cents on the dollar, I don't see how you can lose in the long run.

I'll agree that a home should be viewed as a roof over your head and not a cash cow, but the reality is that one's home is the single biggest investment most people make in their lives, including the stock market. The other reality is the tax code- Mortgage interest being tax deductible and while other debt is not deductible. Why not take money out of your home to buy a car instead of getting a non-deductible car loan? For many, that's a no-brainer.

It's all bass-ackwards now. One doesn't know how long they'll be able to stay put; it's a disaster in the making if your home goes down in value and you are upside down for 5-10-15 years. I would be very reluctant to buy a place right now, the only exception might be to purchase a rental property.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2009, 11:03:15 AM »

It's all bass-ackwards now. One doesn't know how long they'll be able to stay put; it's a disaster in the making if your home goes down in value and you are upside down for 5-10-15 years. I would be very reluctant to buy a place right now, the only exception might be to purchase a rental property.


Yes, I think renting and rentals will become very popular in the future. The fundamentals appear to be in place. If it becomes hard to buy/own a house, there will be more demand for landlords to capitalize.

Yes, being in an upside-down mortgage is a heart-breaker and most people will walk after a period of time. This will have to run its course. That's what deflation was "invented" for.... to clean out the excess and set the stage for a future advance in stronger hands  Cry   

Though for others who have paid their mortgages off or have large equity in them, it becomes a relative thing and house values are just a number. ie, Everyone's house is declining in value and if one wanted to move, it would be value for value.


That's why the people who are in cash and debt free now have a great advantage. The rules have changed. For the last 70 years, they were the "fools" as inflation and fiat credit expansions inflated asset values. Now these "fools"  are right and the leveraged ones are hurting. The markets are always changing - both micro and macro views.

T
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2009, 11:22:18 AM »


Tom,
Great question.  I've been pondering this one for the past several weeks.  Especially since we are now in
"Sell in May" time of year.  Market started to wiggle down last year around mid-May.  But these things (market)
tend to frusturate the most people all the time.   Taint' be that easy.   Huh
Maybe too early, mom and pop prolly are not "all in" ....yet.

This Todd Harrison is usually a good read for these junctures....

http://www.minyanville.com/articles/dollar-Fed-dxy-economy-W-financials/index/a/22543

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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2009, 11:28:57 AM »


For employment and many other reasons, no one lives in the same place for 30 years any more. I don't know a single person who has.
[/quote]

Bill,

There may be many more of us in that boat than you realize!  Since the early 80's, many of us "more seasoned employees" have found ourselves on the wrong side of the downsizing, reorganizing, process re-engineering, etc, etc frenzy that may have prematurely ended/altered our careers and forced us to greatly reassess our plans for the future.  Sometimes those plans just had to include "staying put".  

Many, many professionals have been affected by this wave of corporate upheaval and have had to greatly modify their retirement plans and/or plans for nicer homes and other amenities.  In many cases, it has come down to making choices between staying with family or moving clear across the country, just to maintain a certain income level or career objective......only to to be faced with an ever inceasing part of your income needed just for housing and living expenses in the new location.  It seems that the areas supporting job growth and good-paying positions also have been the areas which have experienced huge increases in the cost of living and huge inflation in the housing costs.  

We have witnessed and certainly been forced to be a part of a huge transformation in our society and in our economy that has hurt a lot of people....then when the latest crunch came....it nearly destroyed those who were just trying to keep up with what they believed was the lifestyle that they had to have to be happy.

73,  Jack, W9GT
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73, Jack, W9GT
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2009, 11:29:37 AM »

For employment and many other reasons, no one lives in the same place for 30 years any more. I don't know a single person who has.
Sorry.  I forgot how abnormal I am.  I have been in this house for almost 27 years (and my wife, 10 years longer than that).  I have no plans to leave anytime soon.  My first 25 years were spent in the house my parents built when they got married.  Smiley
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K1JJ
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2009, 11:46:04 AM »

Bill,

There may be many more of us in that boat than you realize!  Since the early 80's, many of us "more seasoned employees" have found ourselves on the wrong side of the downsizing, reorganizing, process re-engineering, etc, etc frenzy that may have prematurely ended/altered our careers and forced us to greatly reassess our plans for the future.  Sometimes those plans just had to include "staying put".  

Many, many professionals have been affected by this wave of corporate upheaval and have had to greatly modify their retirement plans and/or plans for nicer homes and other amenities.  In many cases, it has come down to making choices between staying with family or moving clear across the country, just to maintain a certain income level or career objective......only to to be faced with an ever inceasing part of your income needed just for housing and living expenses in the new location.  It seems that the areas supporting job growth and good-paying positions also have been the areas which have experienced huge increases in the cost of living and huge inflation in the housing costs.  

We have witnessed and certainly been forced to be a part of a huge transformation in our society and in our economy that has hurt a lot of people....then when the latest crunch came....it nearly destroyed those who were just trying to keep up with what they believed was the lifestyle that they had to have to be happy.

73,  Jack, W9GT


Very well said, Jack.

T
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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2009, 12:13:47 PM »

Seriously, I don't know a single person who hasn't moved within the last 15 years.
Between job changes, divorces, corporate transfers (IBM), moving closer to schools for a special needs child, or just moving to a more desirable location.

Maybe it's different in the West than in the east.
Maybe us older folk move less than gens X, Y and Z.

Me, I've been in my place 12 yrs and I plan to expire in my current home. No move moves.
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2009, 01:50:33 PM »

Anecdotal evidence Bill. You work in a rather transient job/industry. Your view is skewed.
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