This isn’t the medium in which to pursue a detailed discussion, but here are a few observations based on my own personal financial situation.
1. My growth investments, mostly US stocks with some mutual funds managed by my investment advisor, still seem on track to double real value every 7 years. Based on that, folks are still working and aren’t yet “going Galt.”
2. My business, which I started in 2010, appears to be profitable for at least the next several months, and earned sufficient profit to recoup almost all initial my capital investment. Workload may soon justify my first hire or contract labor; legal obligations complicate these decisions.
3. Rural real estate value does not appear to be falling. NE Texas timberland and farmland still appears to approach $4,000 per acre, as does eastern Arkansas farmland. Poor mountainous acreage in Arkansas seems to hover between $1,000 to $2,000. Existing homes seem to hover around $70/SF, which seems a little low to me, even for track homes.
4. There’s still lots of building happening in several construction sectors, including retail and other storefront commercial (not much office). The fees for federal work appear to be rising, also, which reflects some construction career exit by older construction professionals, but also better private-sector opportunities.
5. Like the post-depression era folks, I think many Gen-X’ers are making concerted efforts to shed debt and never take debts again. That’s a cultural shift worth monitoring. For example, I’ll be paying my daughter’s private-university tuition even if I must sell plasma. So far, I don’t think it’ll come to that.