Are things looking up?

“The past does not define you, the present does.”
– Jillian Michaels

Phew! I’m feeling rested this week–how about you?

Sure was nice to wake up Sunday morning with an “extra” hour of sleep, thanks to Daylight Savings–well, Daylight “Losings” in this case.

And I’ve got some insight about the current economy–as well as a special offer for you at the end of the email– but I wanted to share some stuff I found about some interesting history with Daylight Savings/Losings…but rather than re-hash its origins (like all of the media), I found these stories about how different people have used it to their advantage…or not:

* A man was actually able to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War using a Daylight Saving Time loophole. When he was born, it was just after midnight, DST. When he was drafted, he successfully argued that in his home state of Delaware, standard time – not DST – was the official time for recording births. So he was technically born on the previous date–which had a much higher draft lottery number – and he was able to avoid being drafted.

* In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time, while Israel had switched back to standard time. A group of West Bank terrorists prepared some timed bombs – but misunderstood the time change – and the bombs exploded early, killing the terrorists themselves, rather than the intended victims – two busloads of innocent citizens.

* In the 1950s and 60s, each state and locality was permitted to choose start and end DST dates as they desired. During 1965, Minneapolis and St. Paul – which are considered one metropolitan area – didn’t agree on start dates, and for a period of time, these Twin Cities had a one hour time change between them. And on one Ohio to Virginia bus route, passengers technically had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles!

* To keep to their published timetables, Amtrak trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So when the clocks “fall back” in the fall, all trains that are running on time actually stop at 2 am – the official time of DST change – and wait one hour before resuming their routes. In the spring, the routes instantaneously become one hour behind schedule, but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.

It’s a funny little world we live in, right?

So…this week’s Strategy Note is about some good news we’re starting to see, and what it might mean for you. As usual–we’re here to help with your situation.

“Real World” Personal Strategy
Eye On The Economy

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated a 3.5 percent jump in annualized GDP growth for the third quarter of 2009, a strong signal that we may be nearing the end, or even be out of, the recession. But this good news is not all it’s cracked up to be.

First, a 3.5 percent jump is a huge rebound from the earlier 6.4 percent and 0.7 percent declines. If anything, the new positive numbers suggest this is a very volatile and uncertain time for the economy.

Second, some of that boost in spending is largely a paper increase because it reflected spending from the Cash for Clunkers program which did little (if anything) to boost long-term economic growth. Consumer spending was simply advanced into the third quarter. While some manufacturing inventories have increased (a good sign) the economy will need to build on sustainable consumer buying power and increased efficiency. We haven’t seen that yet.

Third, uncertainty still hangs over whether the U.S. can manage the debt it’s taken on to bail out the financial sector and the economy. Consumers and businesses are still pessimistic, and talk in Washington of adding more to our debt with a second stimulus isn’t settling any nerves about the long-term prospects of the economy.

We need to remember it took the National Bureau of Economic Research 12 months to officially declare that the economy was in recession because the data was so hard to read. It’s no different now.

As a result, we will need to wait at least until Fourth Quarter GDP results are in before we can even make reasonable speculations about the economy’s health.

I hope this helps!

Jim OrnelasAre things looking up?