Just a few short years ago, the U.S. was faced with a veritable storm of crises. In truth, many of them were actually intertwined in an ugly and almost unresolvable knot of tension and uncertainty. People were experiencing relatively smooth sailing up until everything fell apart. Jobs were somewhat readily available, confidence was up, couples had opportunities to upgrade their homes and vehicles and, on top of it all, disposable income still allowed for countless leisure and recreation-related opportunities.
Seemingly out of nowhere for most of the general public, the world just crumbled. The stock market crashed and the housing bubble exploded, showering the world in a messy rain of foreclosures and despair. Companies downsized or shut down altogether, propelling the unemployment rate to new heights. Gas prices reached nearly $5.00 per gallon, even more in some areas, sending the cost of basic necessities soaring. No one could afford to pay those outrageous prices because the jobs were gone and investment income disappeared.
Did it all happen in that exact order? Perhaps not, but it created a vicious cycle for which no one was prepared. Matters have slowly settled down a bit at this point depending on who you ask. Still, the apprehension remains. Consumers are hesitant to spend money on anything other than basic essentials. People are holding onto their vehicles rather than trading up, and hopeful homeowners aren’t quite as hopeful as they once were.
You might even be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t still cringe a bit before checking prices at the gas pumps. Right now, they’re lingering around $2 per gallon, less than half their former height. While big oil companies and investors were, no doubt, dismayed at the drop, the general population continues to breathe a collective sigh of relief when it comes time to fill up the tank.
Is all that about to take another turn for the worse? Some experts believe so. Though much of the nation finds itself tied in knots over the thought of such a development, it may actually be a new opportunity for some. Those hit hardest by previous years may be able to profit this time around. If you ask your financial advisor if this would be a good time to invest in oil or natural gas, his or her comment might teeter on the fence rather than being vehemently for or against the idea. It’s certainly something to think about, though.