Friday Financials: if it’s 1980 again, can you take me to Funkytown instead?


This week, it’s the Friday Financials Feud: American consumers battle the economy in a no-win game that strips their pocketbooks and sends them back to 1980 in a diesel-fueled Ford Granada. If only they’d work harder and spend more, the trap could be avoided! Won’t you join the test of fun?

* Do you have that old 1980 feeling again? It’s not just disco persuasion and Ayatollah Khomeini mania. Consumer sentiment is at its lowest since 1980, according to a new Reuters/University of Michigan study. And though economists are still debating whether we’re in a recession, more than 90 percent of consumers say we’re knee deep in one. The good news? If we’re going to repeat a year, 1980 was a pretty good year for music. And yes, that totally includes Foreigner and 7 Seconds.

* Remember when the sky-bound house in Wizard of Oz fell on the wicked witch? Well, it’s kind of like that again, only the sky is sort of falling on your house. Standard and Poor announced this week that home prices have declined 14.4 percent over last year. And in a survey by AARP released this week, 36 percent of respondents age 45+ said their homes values have decreased in the past year. The good news? Forget about building a future on home equity. Invest in a practical and affordable robot that can covert waste to fuel instead.

* “Mom, Dad? Can I borrow some money?” That’s the phrase 39 percent of parents of adult children have heard over the past year, as many of them are forced to reach deep into their pocketbooks to help their kids pay bills and expenses.The good news? At least those kids are adults. Parents with kids that are seniors in high school are totally screwed: They’ve saved on average only 13 percent of the $100,000 needed to fund their kid’s college education. Paying that overdue gas bill for Ms. Irresponsible Adult seems like a cakewalk now, doesn’t it, Dad?