The view from the sunny side of the street

    In today’s hyper-paced world of instant news and fear-driven headlines, it’s easy to get somewhat jaded about where we are headed as a country and as business professionals.
    Try as we might to remain objective, we are continually bombarded with the next shocking headline forecasting our impending doom, and slowly (or maybe quickly) our attitude heads south. It’s almost like we are programmed for negative news.
    So, I thought it might be useful to bring a different, more positive perspective to the table to balance the picture a little.
    I recently witnessed a fascinating two-hour lecture given by a marketing/economics professor at New Mexico State University. He reminded me of some of my old professors from engineering school … rumpled suit, exaggerated expressions, hair uncombed … a lovable curmudgeon is how you might describe him to a colleague or spouse.
    One of his key points was that in the next 10 to 20 years, a "ton" of wealth is going to be transferred from the boomers’ parents to the boomers, resulting in a huge boost to the economy.
    Boomers’ parents didn’t invest heavily in the market, so their wealth is very liquid, ala CD’s, real estate (homes that are paid off) and cash. I think that had something to do with a Great Dep/Recession?
    I thought about my own parents. My Mom passed a couple of years ago, Dad still in the house that is paid for, no debt, all their assets in the bank in cash, and I realized this old "bird " might be on to something.
    It was one of those "Aha!" moments … not to be confused with senior moments, which are occurring on a more frequent basis these days.
    Turns out that TRILLIONS of dollars are involved. WOW! What a stimulus plan, eh.? (I can’t help it the Canadian still comes out from time to time.)
    My point is the only thing we know for sure is that none of us REALLY do know what will happen  in the future, and maybe, just maybe, it will be positive and not negative.
    Don’t misunderstand my message. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, and you must acknowledge those issues.
    My point is that I’d much rather face them with an optimistic attitude than a  pessimistic attitude. I believe it’s kind of like the famous self-fulfilling prophecy … If you think you can’t, you won’t … and if you think you can, you will. Didn’t someone famous say that a long time ago?…Henry Ford?
    So, maybe I’m dead wrong, or half-right or both? And since no one really knows for sure, I’m on the side of choosing optimism, aka a very powerful recovery like we have never seen before in this country, and with a little luck, maybe I’ll be right!

    Gary Billington is vice president of client relations at Plunkett Raysich Architects LLP in Milwaukee.

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