I suppose this thread could work indefinitely, but from where we are now (I'll just leave where that is as ambiguous so we can keep the discussion going as long as we like), what do you see happening to the economy, domestic or international, in the near-term, say, the next year or two?
My own analysis, naive and novice as it may be, is that we will at least hit a double-dip recession, if not worse. My close friend has no such worries; he thinks there will be slow but steady growth month by month for the foreseeable future. I am much more pessimistic. I am of the opinion that there will be another major financial disaster, brought on by the excesses of the financial big-shots, e.g. the unregulated swaps market dominated by the largest banks in the world, which will cause upwards of 15% unemployment here in the US and riots all over the globe within the next two years.
Or at least I did. I might be coming back down to the opinion that the coming catastrophe will take much longer to occur, maybe on the order of years or even decades. It's kind of like predicting the next earthquake. One can see the stress along the fault-lines, but predicting whether the stress will be relieved in short controlled bursts or all at once in a massive event is virtually impossible. But I'm far from optimistic.
I am a worrier ever since I became a mother and that will never stop. It makes me pessimistic, but in a way, that's good, because it made me become pretty frugal. Not stingy, ever, but we paid our house off, have savings, nothing on credit cars, paid cash for our daughter's first 2 years of college, etc. We could do even better, but we went on 2 family vacations in the last 2 years, because we want to spend time with our almost grown-up kids, and they are old enough to remember these trips.
I am not optimistic either about the economy, and we tell our kids over and over to never get into debt if possible. Our kids have never gone without. They have all they need and most of what they want. But I want them to understand that debt drags you down and makes you worry, etc. They also know we have a modest, but paid-for house (paid-off when we were both 43) in a good neighborhood, that they can always come home to.