Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Desperate Times Mean Taking Deliberate Action

Alright, the gloves are off and it's time for the survival of the fittest. In less than twenty four hours, I changed my contribution to my retirement account in order to free up some extra funds to hopefully take advantage of some real estate opportunities.

In addition, I took the car with more than 205,000 miles on it to the shop to get the timing belt changed and the brakes fixed. I won't buy a new to me car until a deal is so good that I, the consumer benefits.

I also cancelled my birthday cruise. Why, because I'm thinking strategically. I know some would argue now is the time to buy as many stocks as possible while they are low. I am betting that they will still be low around the first of the year and then I can up my contribution to the retirement account again. With the extra cash, I can continue to build my emergency fund.

Call your phone company and tell them that you want to switch carriers and your bill is more than likely to be miraculously lowered. Consider getting rid of cable. You have movies on DVD, the Internet at work, friends who will call and keep you posted and bills that need to be paid. Sell everything that isn't nailed down to eBay, most people have hundreds if not thousands of dollars just sitting around in the house.

I've been bringing my lunch to work and drinking tea from home. If I go to a restaurant, I either have a tea bag in my purse or I'll just have hot water with honey and lemon.

Grandma would stuff money under the mattress. I haven't gone that far yet but my eyes are open. Let me know what you are doing to survive and hopefully thrive.

The media need to start covering the next leg of the story which is how to weather the crisis.

If you are in the market for story ideas, here are some thoughts:

Find people who are thriving in this economy and find out how and why.

Check out Al Tompkins Morning Meeting.

Here is just one of the highlights from Al's Report, there are many stories to follow here if the media will dare to cover themselves. Young Broadcasting owns WKRN in Nashville. I may have to cover the business of news online at some point especially since I teach the course in the spring. Wink to my dear friend and colleague, University of Connecticut Professor Rick Hancock creator of Rick's RSS .

Anyway, here is the media breakdown from Al.

MarketWatch reported:

News Corp. and Viacom hit their lowest levels in more than four years, while CBS and Time Warner fell to one-year lows.

Here's my summary:

News Corp. down 9.6%
Viacom down 7.83%
CBS down 7.14%
Belo Corp. down 4.27%
Time Warner down 9.22%
Walt Disney Co. down 9.22%
Gannett Co. down 6.59%
New York Times Co. down 3.82%
Media General down 4.33%
Washington Post Co. down 4.18%
McClatchy Co. actually rose 1.78% on news that a new debt agreement had been struck with lenders.

Hearst-Argyle Television was only down 2.87%
Meredith Corp. was down even less, only .69%
Charter Communications down 2.38%
Cablevision Systems Corp. down 5.47%
General Electric Co., a Dow Industrial Average component and parent of NBC Universal, saw a 8.51% stock price drop Monday.
MediaPost reported:

One of the worst [media stocks] was the financially troubled broadcasting station company Young Broadcasting. The thinly traded stock lost almost half of its stock price -- 38 percent, or three cents -- to end up trading at five cents a share.
Two companies actually had positive days today: Nexstar Broadcasting Group was up 14.5 percent, or thirty-six cents, to $2.84. Another broadcast group, Saga Communications, grew 10.9% -- or 55 cents -- to $5.60 a share.

More story ideas:

Go to some college campuses and find some students who may not be able to return to school for the spring semester.
Talk to sociologists to compare the impact of the Great Depression on attitudes, ideas, habits and culture to the reaction today to this pending meltdown.

Sidebar: Hopefully, this post makes up for my absence. My apologies for being missing in action for a couple of days. That's one thing about blogging, you have to be consistent. But between sinuses, allergies, a cold and the chills (living in the Tennessee basin is not for the faint of heart or those short of breath), I really didn't feel up to it (thanks to the posse for checking on me).

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