Our view: Money wise


Editorial Board, May 2008 to August 2008

  • Bryna Larsen, publisher
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Mike Lawrence, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Eric Morris, community representative
  • Paul Draper, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— It won't be long now before stimulus checks from the U.S. Treasury begin arriving in Moffat County residents' mailboxes. Based on rough calculations and estimates, the payments could total north of $5 million for county residents.

While it is left to individual recipients to decide where his or her stimulus money can best be used - options range from knocking down debt to spending wildly on a shopping spree - the Editorial Board would like to recommend a course of action.

True, the aptly described payments are designed to energize the U.S. economy, and no doubt it would be to the delight of government officials and business owners across the country if recipients did exactly that - spend the money like it was burning a hole in their pockets.

However, it doesn't take a renowned economist to understand that we currently live in uncertain economic times. What may be best for the whole - spending the stimulus money and thus stirring the flow of funds - may not necessarily translate into what is best for the individual.

It's not often payments like these come into play, and thus, the Editorial Board believes, it would be wise for residents to carefully consider how this money would best be used.

With payments like these, it would be easy to spend the money without regard or thought on wants instead of needs, squandering a potentially beneficial financial opportunity.

That flat-screen, high-definition television starts looking bigger and the price tag smaller with an unexpected bundle of money in the bank. For the consumer at ease with the economy and his or her own finances, there isn't anything wrong with using the money for such lavish purchases.

However, the person uncertain about the economy, the trickle-down effect of things such as rising fuel prices, inflation and an unstable home market is equally justified in choosing to ignore the purpose behind the stimulus payments in lieu of socking that money away or, even better, making that money work for them by investing.

Understand that the Editorial Board doesn't bill itself as financial wizards or investment experts. We simply hope residents exercise prudence and responsibility in handling the money; as consumers ourselves, we know how easy it can be to watch money go out the door without anything to show for it.

And it is on this last line of thought that we now address our community's young people. It is here our advice becomes more pointed.

For you, the person trying to establish a future through either school or a career, we recommend using this money to better yourself. Save it for college, make it seed money for a future down payment on a home or lessen tomorrow's burden by trimming debt or preparing for the future today.

The enviable position all stimulus payment recipients are in is that there are perhaps no wrong answers to how they use the additional money.

Whether that's true in hindsight is another matter.


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