How the Great Depression Changed People?

charlie avatarBeing a farm kid from Iowa, I had the pleasure of being raised by not only great parents, but also loving and caring grandparents. With this I got to spend a lot of quality time with my Grandpa and Grandma, and saw how they lived their lives differently then everyone else. I saw how the great depression changed their lives, and the deep scares that run through this generation. After the financial debacle of 2008 I decided to sit down with my grandparents and find out just how the great depression changed them. Here are a few of my observations from my upbringing and conversation with them.

  • Never leave food on your plate
  • Don't trust banks
  • Work hard for a living
  • In times of plenty SAVE!
  • Don't take out debt – if you have to then pay it off quickly.
  • Reuse old products and fix up broken ones
  • Make your own cleaning products
  • Don't go out to eat but a couple times a year
  • Sit at the kitchen table for every meal with your entire family
  • Pay with cash for everything. Buying stuff with a credit card is for the poor. They will always be a slave to their master.
  • Find satisfaction in simplicity. With more things comes more responsibility
  • First serve God, then your family, then your nation
  • Willing to do whatever it takes to protect God, their family, and this great country and the freedom we all enjoy

I personally believe like Tom Brokaw wrote in his book, “The Greatest Generation” that they are indeed great. If more people would only live and think like the Great Depression generation then we'd be so much better off. People would have more in their savings, they wouldn't have so much debt, they would truly enjoy family, and they wouldn't be so stressed. Most likely we wouldn't have seen the financial collapse of 2008 if we were living like them.

What are your thoughts or observations of this generation?

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  1. Great question, Tracy! Here is my personal view point on the subject and I’m not necessarily advocating this strategy, but voicing my opinion.

    Should we trust banks? Ya, I think since banks become FDIC insured that we can easily trust our banks more and if our FDIC fails then pretty much our entire government has failed. So now they are tied hand in hand.

    Should we bury money in the backyard? Um…no. Like many people from the great depression they lost a lot of the money that they hid in the walls and inside matresses. Plus it doesn’t have the chance to compound interest, so what good is it doing in your matress?

    Should you invest in gold? This is an interesting question. I laugh at how many ads there are on TV for buying gold and how “gold is the best investment” and how gold has triple since 2000. I have a lot of doubts about gold right now, because everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. My grandpa and dad always say do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. They also advocated doing everything in moderation. With that said I personally wouldn’t invest in gold if there was another great depression. The reason is what good is gold to society if everyone is in need? It doesn’t provide them shelter and it doesn’t provide them nourishment (food). I view it only as a personal safety viewpoint, and the people feel safe if they are holding it during a great downturn.

    Finally, here is my biggest viewpoint of what you should do to prepare for a depression or what people of the depression would do if there was another. In times of plenty save, and in times of great distress…invest. Like Warren Buffet says, “be greedy when everyone is scared, and be scared when everyone is greedy.” The point is to save to weather the storms, and don’t over react when everyone is worrying.

    What do you think?

  2. These are great tips! I wonder though, how do you apply the principal to save and yet not trust the banks? I hear ads for buying gold and wonder if that’s what I should do. Should we bury money in the backyard? I wonder too if the dollar fails; is it better to have land or other resources?

    Ideas are welcomed! Thanks,

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