Back In The Day Economics with Mike Ramey


     I just received the latest copy of my favorite, local business publication in the mail.   

     On the front page—complete with great artwork—was a piece on how vinyl was making such a strong comeback in the record industry that existing processing plants were having a hard time keeping up with the demand of BOTH musical groups—and consumers.   

     Of course, I’m still holding out for a revival of eight-track tapes…but this is a dream deferred for another day. 

     Over the last ten or so years, I’ve noticed something.  More than a few things that had been ‘written off’ by the ‘wizards of smart’ have been making a strong comeback.  Vinyl records.  Typewriters. Naps.  Cursive handwriting. VHS tapes.  Record players.  The buying of homes by Millennials.  The rise of ‘life coaches’ teaching skills to young adults that they should have learned in elementary or middle school. 

     This list goes on and on.   

     I have also noticed that some of the same bug-a-boos that I heard about when I was a young man have resurfaced with a vengeance.  Items such as co-signing.  Excessive student debt.  The rise of payday loan stores.  Gambling online.  The spread of legalizing sin as a means of raising government revenue. Politicians in their 30s enacting laws without having a clue as to economic policy or job creation. 

     This second list goes on and on as well. 

     With all the technology available to twentysomethings, thirtysomethings and even some fourtysomethings, one would hope that the wisdom to understand the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of basic economic thought would be abundant.  All one must do is talk with some of these age groups to find many of them lacking in the basic economic graces—much to their hurt (and the hurt of their credit scores).   


     This is one of the motivators behind the creation of this monthly column: “Back In The Day Economics”, to provide some wisdom and encouragement to young (and maybe not-so-young) folks in the economic arena. 

     Don’t believe the lie that you cannot come back from a bad economic decision.  The REAL beauty in the wheat field is to AVOID committing economic sins in the first place!  Or, at least having the good sense to LISTEN to good advice. 

     Always keep this phrase in your pocket: “A setback is a setup for a comeback!” 

     In my ‘maiden flight’ of this column, I’d like to assure everyone that I’m not an economics expert.  I’m a certified old guy.  I’ve had my share of successes and failures along the road of life.  Some of the items I will cover will be based on business principles which I have accumulated over the years based upon my own needs, books I have read (and/or reviewed), and with people whom I have corresponded.  Also, I’m not ashamed to say that I am a Christian and a retired Minister—so I’ll be bringing in a biblical perspective to my columns, along with some plain old common sense.  Some of the items to be covered will be brought up from the headlines, or from the emails I receive in my mailbag.  I’ll try to be entertaining and not boring. 

     All I am providing is advice and—once again—I’m not an economics expert.  What I do understand is how things work from an economic perspective…which is a lot more than what I have been observing on the current social—and social media—landscape.  It is all about being able to make intelligent decisions with the money that you have in your OWN pocket. No one—and I repeat, NO ONE has the right to live out of another person’s pocket as a means of economic security. 


     Occasionally, I’ll throw in a proverb or two from a variety of places.  One of my favorites is a proverb from the motherland of Africa: “Give advice.  If people won’t take it, let adversity teach them.”  There is always a price to be paid for ignoring the wisdom of your elders. 

     Adversity has been having a field day on many a behind these days.  It is so sad to watch otherwise nice young people being eaten alive by high interest rates because they ‘believe’ that their social media toys can provide more wisdom than sitting down and talking with an older person (like their parents) about how to handle and spend their hard-earned money. 

     Let me urge my young readers to not be fooled by the ‘sparkle’ of purchasing items that you may ‘think’ you need.  One strong teaching from my past files involves two simple words:  ‘Necessities’ and ‘Luxuries’.  In short, there are certain things in life one MUST have to survive, and they are food, shelter and clothing.  The quality of each depends upon your ability to pay based upon your current earning power (which involves your current employment situation). 

     Let’s look at food.  Now, I am quite familiar with that innovation known as home delivery.  This is based upon once calling up, say, a pizza joint, ordering a pie to be delivered, paying for the delivery, AND tipping the one making the delivery.  These days, you have delivery apps that will arrange to have your food delivered to you (and you know the names of the heavy hitters in this industry) for a fee AND a tip (or even two). 

     While it may be cool to show off in front of your friends, using such services enough times during a week can get downright expensive and cut into your budget—which may cause you to have ‘more month than money’ to pay for the luxury of delivery.  Further, it costs LESS for you to go to your favorite eating place and placing the order IN person and bringing the food home yourself. 

     Don’t play the fool!  Play it smart.  Keep as much of YOUR money in YOUR pocket through exercising your economic wisdom. 

     What about the outfits that deliver boxes of food to your home?  Again, this should be considered a luxury item. You see, grocery stores exist for a reason.  IF one makes a list and goes to the store to shop, one can save money by cooking their OWN food at home.  Yes, you must make the effort to shop and cook.  However, the ‘boxed food industry’ have been making big money by convincing the tech savvy young people of today that ‘convenience’ is cheaper than going to the store themselves. 

     Don’t play the fool!  Keep as much of YOUR money in YOUR pocket through exercising your economic wisdom. 

     Many of your grandparents—back in the day—had to learn how to cook at Mama’s or Daddy’s knee—as a needed skill to help at home AND as a needed preparation for adulthood.  Cooking, cleaning and sewing are known as ‘survival skills’.  Having these skills—among others—and knowing how to do them well will make it easier for you to budget your money. 

     There are plenty of your older relatives who would be willing to teach you some of these survival skills.  All you have to do is ask and be willing to invest the time to learn. 

     There is nothing wrong with an occasional ‘splurge’ or treating yourself if you have the extra money for it (and, IF you exercise your economic wisdom—you WILL).  However, luxuries are just that—luxuries.  One who does not know the difference between a luxury and a necessity are setting themselves up for fooldom. 

     There are only so many friends and family who will ‘bail you out’ because of your lack of economic self-control.  After about the second or third time of not having enough to pay your rent, you will learn (the hard way) that people do NOT like having ‘moochers’ in their lives, and will make the necessary effort to disappear from sight whenever they see your hand come out for yet another loan.  Whether you are young or old, be bold, and chart your own course on the seas of economic reality!  Your friends and family will commend your courage. 

Mike Ramey is a syndicated columnist and Minister.  To drop an email to “Back In The Day Economics” contact  Be sure to let him know in what publication you saw this column.  © 2022 Barnstorm Communications.

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