Do you often wonder, “What happened to…?” Maybe you’re sitting at a traffic light, or you’re in the shower, or on a long stretch of open road. You think back to a certain piece of news you read or heard about, and you wonder, “How did that story turn out?” Believe it or not, this blog is almost two years old. Time, then for a look at the first year in review. 

Let’s see what happened in some of the more memorable stories:

The Fire

Year in review Fire In 2012, you  heard about Karen and Rick, whose house almost burned down. They’re back in their house now, and it’s far better than it was at the time of the fire.

The insurance eventually came through, but not without a considerable amount of fighting and angst. (Grant didn’t do their insurance; if he did, that would have been a lot less painful.)

The moral of that story is: it could happen to you, too.

The best defense is to check your policy to make sure you’re insured for replacement value. Then, take a photo inventory of everything in your home. Expect the insurance company to push back severely on a big claim. They will contest that you even had this or that, but the biggest thing you have to expect is they will only offer to replace an item with the cheapest and most generic version available, especially if it’s a discontinued product (and what isn’t after a year or two these days?)

Twinkies

Year in review TwinkiesA bit later, as 2012 was running out, news broke about the imminent demise of that American culinary classic: Twinkies. Fairy tales do come true, it can happen to you, even in America. Hostess Brands was bought for $410 million by two private equity firms, and Twinkies started rolling off the production line in July, 2013.

However, not all fairy tales end happily ever after. And so it is that, right as we did our update on the beloved Twinkie, Hostess Brands shut down one of their four bakeries in an attempt to find a way to service all that debt. At least they’re still making them, but at this rate, you better get them while you can.

Stock up — if you can believe rumors, they never go bad and you can sell them on eBay for $100 each in twenty years.

Fiscal Cliff

Year in review fiscal cliffRemember that? Everyone was talking about the fiscal cliff back then — government as we knew it was about to cease and the end of the world was so, so nigh… at least that’s what the media would have had us believe.

As with so many media tea cup storms, this brouhaha slipped under the waves of history with nary a ripple. Just like the debt ceiling danger before it and the sequestration crisis after. Government it seems, thrives on pressure, as it lurches from one crisis deadline to the next, while life in Main Street meanders along, pretty much like it has for decades.

Update? Well, the debt ceiling has been raised, taxes were mildly changed, and you now need to prove that you had medical insurance when you file your tax return. Congress and the White House’s approval ratings continue flirting with all-time lows. In other words… no progress.

Dreamliner

Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner made news when it got grounded early in 2013, because of battery fires which broke out on board, not the kind of news Boeing was hoping for.  

Well, the plane was allowed to fly again after three months, but unfortunately, the steady stream of problems doesn’t seem to have abated. Now it’s the wings.

This is one of those stories where the happy ever after is, shall we say, a work in process.

Stock Market

We also looked at the stock market  early in 2013. Then we did it again in March, wondering if it would continue on its tear.

It did. And it has kept going up and up and up. Are we in a bubble yet? Some say we are, while others think the best is yet to come.

This we do know: at some point the market will crash. It always does. The only question is when. Maybe we’ll look at that in a month or so…

 Housing Market

The good news in the recovery of the economy is not confined to the stock market alone. Home prices have recovered nicely in most parts of the country, so naturally we had to take a look at that, too.

That, too, is a fairy tale that’s still in the “happily ever after” stage. Of course, we know that, just like the stock market and the rest of the economy, won’t last forever.

It’s also one of those things that “feels good” but doesn’t do much for your daily life, except perhaps increase your property taxes.

Riots

Year in review: riotsSadly, this is a topic which hasn’t quietly slipped beneath the waves of everyday life. The recent events in Ferguson, MO are reminder that there is a cauldron of anger boiling in the less wealthy communities of this country, anger that doesn’t take much to fuel civil unrest.

This post was prompted by the bubble of publicity surrounding the topic of economic inequality surrounding the publication of a heavy tome on the topic by French economist Thomas Piketty. The point of the post was that there’s hard evidence that the American economy is increasingly becoming bifurcated, with a disproportionate share of the nation’s wealth going to the top 1%, and that world history clearly shows all major revolutions came from a period when that was left unaddressed.

This story has not had a happy ending, and probably won’t until the underlying separation of haves and have-nots is addressed.

The First Year

There were some interesting stories which presented themselves for commentary, some amusing and some sad. Some of the events, like the fiscal cliff, turned out to be transient. Others, like riots, the stock market and the housing market, turned out to be prescient.

Through it all, one thing never changed: you can save real money if you let Grant’s team review your insurance needs. Several people in fact did save money. Why miss out on that fairy tale: you can know you’re covered and not spending a penny more than you need to.

Give them a call and live happily ever after, too.

 

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