Bill Bradford: Misfortune magnified when it’s someone you know

Published 9:59 am Thursday, August 13, 2009

bradfordBob’s family is grown and he was looking forward to putting in the last six or seven years of working and then his well-earned retirement would allow him a little more leisure to do gardening, fishing and hunting.

He has worked for a local company for the last 18 years.

But he was notified two weeks ago that his employment with them would end in September.

When the news tells me that several hundreds of thousands of persons lost their employments in a recent month it is difficult to imagine the magnitude of that misfortune.
But when a “Bob” I know has just lost his job, the stark realities of his misfortune confront me with many questions.

What is he to do?

There are job training programs available.

Should a man in his late 50s head for a new career?

Would his age be held against him in the decision later not to hire?

Are we really to believe there is no age discrimination in hiring practices?

In general, what will the economy be like two years further along?

Have you heard that some creditor nations are more reluctant now to purchase U.S. government securities?

That our ballooning federal deficit is of concern to them?

Last week the Federal Reserve quietly bought up $ 4.7 billion in U.S. Treasury notes in the auction.

While it is normal for the Fed to buy U.S. Treasury bonds in the open market well after the auction, it is not normal for them to quietly buy up bonds from the initial auction and then tell everyone that the auction went well and there was lots of demand for the bonds

Have you heard about “insider stock transactions”?

It is perfectly legal for executives in companies to buy and sell stock of their own companies, but they must report those transactions to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Last week’s reported transactions showed that those executives’ purchases totaled $13 million while their reported sales were $1 billion.

The total dollar amounts of sales were almost 77 times greater than the amounts of purchases.

Do those figures show that the executives of these American companies believe that it is wise to keep their own money in their own company’s stock? (from
How happy would you be to buy stocks if you knew that someone monitored your purchases so that they could jump in just ahead of you to make a profit from the order you placed.

High Frequency Trading (HFT) is the practice of Wall Street banks trading stocks for their own portfolios (not for clients).

These HFT computer programs can see your transaction a split second before it hits the market and they can enter trades ahead of yours.

Seventy percent of all stock market trades are now done by HFT.

This has been so profitable that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. made more than $100 million in trading revenue on each of 46 days during the second quarter (April, May, June) (from Bloomberg).

Why have I bothered you with these details?

They are indications of the larger picture!

Please plan carefully.

Accumulate a little cushion in reserves.

Press together with other family members and support each other.
If you have a relationship with the Almighty, ask him for wisdom as you plan and manage.

Bill Bradford retired to the rigors of a small farm in Pokagon Township.
He has served as director of clinical laboratories in physician group practices and hospitals.
For a decade he was an educator in clinical laboratory sciences at Andrews University.