I read a piece that centered on a comment by the CEO of Assurant (Alan Colberg), who was discussing economics and sales approaches, and then said, “The reality is, half of Americans can’t afford to write a $500 check,”
I sat and pondered upon the comment for a while.
In the early 80's, while in the Air Force, I came across a lot of characters who simply didn't have cash reserves....period. It was not a big deal for a guy to come up on the 25th of the month and be out of cash....so he'd take his color TV to a pawn shop for $40, and it'd be enough to get by until pay-day. I witnessed on one occasion a guy who desperately needed $500 for airline tickets, and he got the pawn shop to agree to take his car for a couple of weeks until he had the money to repay them.
Do I believe Colberg's statement on half the nation? I seriously think that roughly 35-to-40 percent of the nation is seriously walking on limited cash, and counting on their monthly check to just help them survive.
The real question is.....has society changed and is the $500 check problem a bigger problem today than twenty-five years ago? I have my doubts. I think it's the same crowd that existed back in 1995...the same crowd from 1980....the same crowd from 1970...etc.
This crowd represents a political trend in some ways.....they are promised year after year, decade after decade....that help is coming and better days are ahead. Most believe the promises and keep waiting.
What does this all say about the nation? Well....the truth is that roughly sixty-percent of Americans are carrying the economic buying-power of the country. Those are the people buying $1,000 chainsaws, $8,000 fishing boats, $35,000 RV trailers, $1,500 hunting rifles, and $700 a weekend resort deals in Vegas. We seem to never give this group the proper credit for all of the fine spending efforts to keep the nation afloat.