Posted tagged ‘Economic Downturn’

TIME Magazine Article (I’m In It)

February 19, 2009

We’re in the print issue dated March 2 and should be in stores soon!!! Kate Winslet is on the cover, just FYI!

UPDATE: I’m on the COVER too in a small picture in the top right corner next to the March 2, 2009 date 🙂

But if you want a peek, the article is available online now.

Its a brief 2-3 paragraph mention near the end of the article but it’s still great to be a part of an article in TIME Magazine.

I’ve got a link to it below and the full text of the article and an “OK” picture of us (no kids though) 🙂

I love the “worried” look on my face! The only thing I wish could have been included in this article is how much my in-laws were a help to us. I feel as though the section is too slanted to how we helped them when in reality, we helped each other. They were very instrumental in making things work and I don’t want to come across as looking as though we supported them. This is not the case. We supported each other 🙂

Now we can be as famous as Casey Anthony! Without the drama that comes with it of course!!

Credit: Mark Richards

Credit: Mark Richards

From TIME:

Jennifer Bliss was no fledgling lawyer when she moved back in with her parents. At 39, she had burned through her retirement funds after losing her law-firm job in July 2007. She gave the bank the keys to the home she was unable to sell in Grand Rapids, Mich., and last November, she packed up her two Great Danes and moved about 60 miles, to Lansing, to live with her mother and stepfather. “This has been awful,” says Bliss, who has sent out some 600 résumés nationwide looking for legal work or a managerial position in another field. “I went to law school to have a solid profession so that I wouldn’t wind up in a situation like this.”

The term boomerang children used to refer to young adults moving back in with their parents, but the recession is forcing people in their 30s and 40s and older–often with a spouse and kids in tow–to bunk in with the ‘rents until they regain their financial footing. Since the recession began in December 2007, the U.S. has lost 3.6 million jobs. An AARP survey released in May found that more than a third of retirees have had to help a child pay bills in the past year. And the number of multigenerational households has increased from 5 million in 2000 to 6.2 million in 2008, according to AARP. Cramped quarters, wounded pride and general anxiety about the global economic crisis do not the most pleasant living situation make. But there are ways to ease the transition.

Talk about expectations. And be sure to discuss one another’s needs up front, says Brian Carpenter, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Failure to do so can lead to a lot of friction. That’s what happened when Michael Gallagher, 40, moved in with his mother in Los Angeles in October 2007 after he was downsized from his job as an audio engineer. “When he came home to live, I was thinking ‘family,’ and he was thinking ‘roommate,'” says BJ Gallagher, 59, an author and a video producer. “I would feel bad when he wouldn’t say hello when he walked in the door.” At the same time, her son felt she was checking up on him and “lurking” around, she says. “We both ended up disappointed and annoyed until we discussed it and dealt with it.”

Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, an intergenerational advocacy group based in Washington, says it’s a good idea to create an approximate timetable for achieving specific goals (à la “get a job,” “move out”).

Build in privacy. If possible, everyone should have at least some space of his or her own. For instance, when Michael Gallagher took over the part of his mother’s house that she had been using as an office, she moved her computer and video equipment into a much smaller room adjoining her bedroom. “We each needed our own space. There was no way around that,” BJ says of the rearranging she did to accommodate her son.

Share household expenses. Pay parents rent, or help with bills, and take over chores like mowing the lawn. “This way, everyone is helping in some way, and no one feels taken advantage of,” says Elizabeth Carll, a psychologist in Huntington, N.Y., who is an expert on dealing with stress. Bliss does all the cooking and cleaning. Michael Gallagher buys his own food, and beyond that, his mother says, he has “paid in trade” by persuading her to have the hip replacement she had needed for a while and by taking care of her postsurgery.

Grandparents rule. In late 2006, John Kreuzer, 30, and his wife moved from Portland, Ore., into his in-laws’ house in San Jose, Calif., because he got a p.r. job in Silicon Valley. They decided to keep staying there–with their two little kids–because Kreuzer’s father-in-law was laid off. As the job market got tighter, it just made sense for everyone to share living expenses in such a high-cost area, Kreuzer says.

Along the way, there have been differences of opinion when it comes to child-rearing. Kreuzer has explained to his children that they must abide by their grandparents’ rules, e.g., no roughhousing indoors. “My in-laws really help out with the kids while my wife and I are working,” he says. “I know that once we move out, my children will miss their time together with Grandma and Pop-Pop.”

Once we move out? That brings up one last point.

Be realistic. The economy has to turn around someday, and in the meantime, rents are falling.

In March, Kreuzer and his family are moving into a nearby town house with rent so cheap, he can continue to help his in-laws pay their monthly bills.

Michael Gallagher also found a killer deal on a rental. He moved out of his mom’s place in November, but she has yet to rearrange her stuff. “I’m not moving anything back just yet,” she says. “With this awful economy, he could boomerang right back in here.”

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TIME Magazine in February?

January 30, 2009

Well, I may finally get my shot at fame and fortune! Well, more than likely it will be neither but still this could be a pretty cool event in my life.

I took a little time away from the Caylee/Casey Anthony case (as well as all the other topics that I cover in my spare time) to be interviewed a few months back by a reporter at TIME Magazine.

Well, it turns out the article is going to be published (fingers crossed) for the February 9 issue! Not 100% sure yet if it will be in print or just online but either way, I’m looking forward to it.

Without ruining the story, it’s about families who have come together to find ways to survive the downturn of the economy. As most of you know, my wife and our two children moved in with my in laws in November, 2006. We’ve lived together since then and it has been very beneficial to us all. Bills and rent are paid and the in laws get to see their grand kids every day. Nothing wrong with that.

We have a photo shoot scheduled for 9 a.m. (PT) tomorrow so that should be exciting. I’ll have to give an update when I find out confirmation on the issue date. I’ve been told February 9, but we’ll see…

Anyways…Hope you all have a great night! And make sure to check out TIME when our inclusion appears 🙂

Retailers Hope To Attract Shoppers With Huge Discounts

December 22, 2008

Over the last weekend before Christmas, retailers were offering huge discounts. Macy’s sold designer purses for half price, and jewelry was knocked down 40%, while more than a dozen of its stores are staying open around the clock until Christmas Eve. At some Kmart and Sears locations, shoppers lined up in search of deals before the stores opened.

From the New York Times:

The deals were there and, by most accounts, so were the shoppers. But at the close of the final holiday shopping weekend, consumers confessed they were still nervous about buying.

”This is going to be a poor Christmas,” said Dee Dobbins, a 31-year-old from Goldsboro, N.C., who finished her holiday shopping with money she’d received from her recent graduation from North Carolina State University. ”At least I had it, because I don’t know what I would have done.”

From flagship department stores to main street shops, consumers found packed parking lots, massive markdowns and extended hours — in some places, around-the-clock shopping — as merchants hope to salvage one of the worst shopping seasons in decades, brought on by the recession and growing economic uncertainty.

For those willing to spend, the deals abounded.

In Miami, Ana Solis bought T-shirts from the Disney Store featuring Kermit the Frog and Tigger. One shirt — original price $24.99 — was marked down to $7.99 before another 40 percent discount.

At the flagship Macy’s store on 34th Street in New York, shoppers swarmed racks offering 65 percent off women’s clothing. Elsewhere, the store was offering 50 percent off handbags by designers such as Dooney & Bourke and Coach and 40 percent off gold earrings.

Chris Moscardelli snagged a cashmere blanket for more than half off.

”It’s been a great day,” the 38-year-old said.

But not for Ahmad Parpia, the store manager of Marquise Jewelers inside Dallas’ Valley View Mall, who’s seen his most profitable period of the year fizzle out. Few shoppers are coming inside the jeweler’s four stores to buy diamond-encrusted chains, gold watches and jewelry, despite signs advertising: ”Financing available up to $10,000. Will beat any competitive price.”

”It’s almost like 80 percent down over the last two years,” he said. ”I’ve never seen before a Christmas like that, and I’ve been in this business almost 15 years.”

The International Council of Shopping Centers expects established stores to post their worst performance for the holidays since at least 1969, when it began tracking such data. It predicts same-store sales — or sales at stores open at least a year — will fall as much as 1 percent for the November and December period, and fears the decline could even be steeper.

Still, shoppers were out at Kmart and Sears stores this weekend as customers stocked up on last-minute gifts and electronics like Nintendo’s Wii, Blu-ray players, digital cameras and tools. In some cases, shoppers lined up before stores opened for weekend doorbuster deals.

”For the most part, we beat our previous week, which was a great kind of benchmark, because last week was strong for us,” said Tom Aiello, a spokesman for the stores owned by Sears Holdings Corp.

KB Toys Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

December 12, 2008

KB Toys has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to close its 277 mall-based stores and 114 outlets. In its Chapter 11 filings, the chain blamed “sudden and sharp decline in consumer sales due to macro-economic concerns.”

From the Associated Press:

In another sign of the grim holiday season, KB Toys filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years on Thursday and plans to begin going-out-of business sales at its stores immediately.

The 86-year-old company said in a filing that its debt is “directly attributable to a sudden and sharp decline in consumer sales” because of the poor economy.

That a toy retailer filed for bankruptcy just before Christmas shows how bleak things have become, since such stores make up to half of their sales during the holidays. But analysts expect toy sales this holiday season to be flat or down slightly from last year’s total of $10.4 billion, according to market research firm NPD Group, because consumers are cutting back amid the recession.

In response, toy retailers, including KB Toys, amped up their discounts.

KB Toys had aggressively cut prices to entice cash-strapped shoppers, offering hundreds of toys for $10 or less. It also expanded its value program, which offers deals on new items each week, and offered “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” promotions.

But the deals weren’t enough. In the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, KB Toys said that between Oct. 5 and Dec. 8 sales in stores open at least one year, a key retail metric known as same-store sales, fell nearly 20 percent.

The company said it considered its alternatives and decided the most viable way to cover its debt was to begin liquidating its stores via immediate going-out-of-business sales. KB Toys also plans to sell its wholesale distribution business, according to the filing.

Sun Microsystems to Cut Nearly 6,000 Jobs

November 14, 2008

Sun Microsystems said earlier today that it would cut its workforce by as much as 18% in an attempt to realign its operations to deal with the economic downturn that has contributed to sagging sales. Sun stated that it is not planning any sale and argues the cuts are needed to keep Sun competitive in a depressed economy that has also affected other Silicon Valley companies, including Intel and Cisco Systems.

From the Associated Press:

The economic downturn might be pushing Sun Microsystems Inc., one of the storied names in computing, to the brink of extinction.

The company’s servers and software helped stimulate the Internet boom, and its engineering acumen is revered. But Sun never fully recovered from the previous financial crisis — the dot-com meltdown — and it has been steamrolled by big shifts in the way businesses buy their back-end computers.

Now Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun plans to slash up to 6,000 jobs, or 18 percent of its global work force, as it scrambles to cut costs to offset a devastating slump in sales of its high-end servers. Sales of those machines fell 27 percent in the latest quarter as banks and other big customers went under or couldn’t get loans to buy the servers.

“These are hard but necessary changes,” Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s chief executive, said in an interview Friday as he disclosed the cuts. They sent Sun shares up 4 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $4.12.

Sun also said its software chief, Rich Green, has resigned, as the company splits its software division into three new business groups.

One will handle Sun’s Java programming language — a key ingredient for many Web sites — and open-source database offerings. Open-source software is free software for which Sun sells support services. Another will be responsible for Sun’s Solaris operating system, which is used to run servers. The third will focus on developing programs for “cloud computing” services delivered over the Internet.

Sun’s extreme restructuring is what many investors were calling for. It follows three other rounds of big layoffs in the past three years in which nearly 7,000 jobs were axed. Analysts say it gives Sun breathing room to improve its margins and try to return to profitability.

It might not ultimately be enough, though, to preserve Sun as the company is currently structured if losses keep mounting, renewing speculation about a possible spinoff or sale. Fujitsu Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. or Dell Inc. are all potential suitors.