I.C. MURRELL — Wall Street does not control our personal security

Published 12:08 am Friday, April 3, 2020

Some people are suffering from a case of cabin fever, a symptom no thermometer can measure.

Some people are discouraged from just going to another friend’s house, even if the congregation there will be far fewer than 10 people. Some people are fighting hard to regain their health amid the deadliest health crisis in American history.

There’s another crisis unfolding — financial insecurity.

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Even when a pandemic is not unfolding, this is a common issue for some who can never quite seem to get ahead but put in all sorts of effort in their jobs and careers. Trust, I can easily relate. My first job out of college was $8.25 an hour, and I had to borrow $1,000 from my bank just to move into my new pad almost 3 hours away — that was only available to low-income citizens. (But you couldn’t tell otherwise.)

Since my college graduation 17 years ago, I’ve seen many close to my age return to school to finish or just add a certification that would give them skills to better their lives. The good news is some institutions like Lamar State College Port Arthur don’t charge an overwhelming amount each semester or require a loan note that would destroy your savings.

When some get their hands on a few riches, they try to keep up with the Joneses, never knowing when a crisis will leave them on the hook for their livelihoods. This is one of those times I’m glad monthly payments don’t work against me.

No matter our wealth or employment status, we are all put in a position where we have to save every dollar possible. Winning this battle can do wonders for one’s sanity, and again, I know this from experience.

Do you need to eat healthier and cut out the take-out diet? Good idea. Granted, grocery bills aren’t getting lower, but you can create so many dishes with the ingredients you have or desire. (Search #ICEats on Facebook, and you’ll see I’ve whipped up a few ideas to contribute to the local flavor.)

If you can only save a dollar a day, save a dollar a day. Those $365 at the end of the year (or $366 this year since Feb. 29 occurred) will give you some type of cushion. It could be anything from extra trips to the grocery story to a (portion of a) car payment made.

Too easy? Try $5 per day. That’s $35 per week and $1,830 per year (or $1,825 on a non-leap year).

Are you really feeling it? Give $100 per week a shot. That’ll come out to a cool $5,200.

On top of that, you could even try investing with an app like Acorns. You have to remember, though, just like your retirement plan — please tell me you have one — you’re investing for the long haul, not the short term, so don’t let the Dow Jones index plunges scare you. If you retire after 65, you could have three sources of income coming your way.

And, what if Wall Street crashes … and then rises and crashes again? Business and investors have always responded to crises. That’s the nature of the beast.

Having learned the hard way, monthly expenses weren’t designed for us to push the back or pull resources from, no matter what grace period creditors give us. Even for those who lack jobs, the true stability of people doesn’t rest in what Wall Street does.

It rests in our own ability to put back and stay secure.

The economy will do whatever. Our security is much more important.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2435 or at ic.murrell@panews.com.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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