Every time I turn on the television or visit Internet news sites, I’m assaulted by bad financial news (and other bad news, as well). We all know that the media likes to focus on the bad and, “If it bleeds, it leads.” These days the financial news is filled with reports of foreclosures, high food and gas prices, job losses, falling home prices, investment losses, falling or stagnant wages, falling interest rates and sky high inflation. It’s enough to make even a financial geek like me cringe.
Enough! Yes, some things are bad but somewhere people must be doing good things with money, right? The problem is, people doing good things with money isn’t as attractive to the media as the bad. So this week I set out to find some examples of financial good news.
I had to dig pretty deep, and I was disappointed to find that much of what gets reported as “good news” are really press releases sent out by companies and individuals looking to promote their latest charitable acts. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s disheartening to find that so much “good news” is really spin.
I did succeed in finding some positive news. It doesn’t make the ugly headlines go away or change the suffering of people having trouble making ends meet, but it made me feel better to turn off the ugliness for a while and find something positive.
1. Charity Raises Enough Money: It’s pretty rare for a charity to announce that it has received enough funding to reach its goals, but that’s what happened at Kiva, a non-profit dedicated to securing micro-loans for people in developing countries who want to start a business or buy an asset.
2. Boy Scout Finds Wallet and Turns It In: A Boy Scout in Michigan found a wallet containing $800 in cash and returned it to the person who lost it. Nice to see that some people still do the right thing. In a follow up story, I learned that someone found the boy’s missing wallet and returned it to him. What goes around comes around.
3. Maryland Enacts Law Enabling Young Adults to Stay on Parents’ Insurance Until Age 25: One less thing kids entering the real world need to worry about. Maybe some other states will follow suit. It would help kids get off on the right foot since so many starter jobs don’t pay benefits.
4. It’s Possible to Improve Gas Mileage by Changing the Way You Drive: You don’t have to suffer so much at the pump. Hpyermiling has allowed these people to outwit the gas companies, often to a large degree, proving that small changes make a difference.
5. Green Collar Jobs Might Spur the Economy: While large sectors of our economy may be having problems, green jobs are becoming more widely available and higher paying. This may be where true economic growth for the future lies, and it’s work you can feel good about.
6. Spending On Others Makes Us Happier Than Spending On Ourselves: We all kind of know this, but sometimes choose to ignore it in the face of rampant consumerism.
7. Congress Attempts to Rein in Credit Card Companies: New proposals were unveiled to try to curb some of the credit card companies slickest tricks. Whether it ultimately happens, we’ll have to wait and see. These things have a way of not materializing. However, in the interest of remaining positive, it’s good that at least they are trying.
8. Simon Cowell Discovers Philanthropic Side: Love him or hate him, at least he’s learning to be charitable, paying off one stricken family’s mortgage. He also claims that the experience taught him the value of giving. Maybe we’ll see more good works from him in the future.
9. Economic Crises May Be Good For You: Economic crises lead to weight loss and better health. In hard times you eat less and move more, making you healthier. You suffer now, but live longer.
10. Mother Rises Out of Poverty: Proving yet again that it is possible to better your circumstances through hard work and ingenuity, no matter how bad the economy.
11. It’s a Good Time To Be An Entrepreneur: The economic slowdown isn’t slowing down the growth of start up businesses. Since small businesses create 60 to 80 percent of new jobs in the U.S., that’s good news.
12. Former Microsoft Exec. Gives Big, And It All Started With a Vacation: Proof that breaking away and taking that vacation you’ve been putting off can change your life and the lives of others.
I hope this little trip into the positive made you feel a bit better about our world. It is possible to find genuine acts of kindness and success, even in these times. It would be nice if the media would spend some more time promoting good things rather than focusing only on the bad. We might all be a little happier.
Image courtesy of guano