Opportunity in Unsettled Times

One of my favorite places in the world is 20 miles from the nearest town and seven miles from the nearest road.  Nearly treeless except for those few planted to provide breaks from the harsh winds of winter, it is a broad expanse of lush grass covering the dunes of an ancient desert — land unforgiving of those who tired to break it to the plow — land perfect for ranching.

I never knew the whole story of how the ranch came to be.  All I can remember of it is that a farmer in the days of the Great Depression, with no market for his crops and beef, was able to save his land and his herd by being able to buy a large supply of grain at extremely low prices.  As a result of taking advantage of an opportunity in an unsettled time, the family was able to make it through the hard times and, a little later, buy 21 square miles of range land where the farmer’s son and his bride settled in 1941.

The ranch hold significant positive memories for me. Experiences associated with the ranch, its owners and their family helped shape who I am.   The ranch — a result of a farmer taking advantage of an opportunity in an unsettled time.

The world again faces unsettled times — and opportunities.

What kind of new opportunities might be on your horizon?

american history, beliefs, family, great depression, history, nebraska, photography, places, values, work

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kelly Nov 25, 2008

    Mike, from my experience unsettled times always provide opportunities. If I can just get past the apprehension about what bad things 'could' happen, I usually find there is a significant upside of me riding the big waves of life. Here in Australia, our government and the Reserve bank are doing their best to keep the economy pumping by having monthly drops in interest rates. This is going to be fantastic timing for us as we come off a good fixed mortgage rate in a few months and instead of the higher rate we were preparing for, the current rate reductions will see our interest component drop, allowing us to plow some extra money into our hefty mortgage. Luckily my hubby works for the government and his job is very secure so with any luck these current economic times might actually be a godsend for us.

    Here's hoping lots of wonderful opportunities await you in the coming months.


  • Vered - MomGrind Nov 25, 2008

    I'm not necessarily looking for opportunities, but one of the things that really helps me these days is realizing that after every bear market comes a bull market. It's easier to survive the tough times when you know that good times will follow.

  • Jean Browman--Transf Nov 25, 2008

    when times get tough my favorite prayer is, "Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity. I sure hope You know what You're doing." It never hurts to have a sense of humor. 🙂

  • Jean Browman--Transf Nov 25, 2008

    Oops! Sent it off too soon, didn't notice the first word needed to be capitalized.

  • Barbara Swafford - B Nov 25, 2008

    Hi Mike – You're right. There are always opportunities to be had in tough times. We just have to learn to open our eyes and find them.

  • teeni Nov 25, 2008

    Is this where you live, Mike? It's gorgeous.

    I think you are right about the opportunities and that is why it is good to have an open mind. We need to be ready to pounce on them if we can.

  • Mike Goad Nov 25, 2008

    Kelly – Unfortunately the US government doesn't have much more room to lower interest rates — the "prime" is currently at 1%. Of course the rates available to regular folks are sever percent higher. One of the guys I used to work with has over 14 years before his earliest date of retirement. He has increased the amount of money he is putting in his employee retirement account. I would, too, if I were in his shoes.

    Vered – for some stocks the bear market has arrived. Last month, we bought stock in the company I retired from (see Buy! Buy! Buy! — We did!) at $63.20. It's a utility corporation that provides power to large parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas. The stock price had taken a hit after the company's power infrastructure sustained wide-spread damage from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, falling from $125 a share to around $80, which was pretty typical. Then the market tanked and we had an opportunity to buy at a low point. It was actually a little lower that same day — for about an hour — before it started recovering. This week, the price is around $85 a share. However, this is the only individual stock that I would take a risk on, because it is the only company I have a pretty good knowledge of. It was an opportunity that appears to be paying off.

    Jean – Fortunately, for us, times are not tough as our income is pretty secure. And humor is always good. 😉

    Barbara – As I described above, I may have already had my opportunity, but I will certainly be watching for more.

    teeni – No, that's in Nebraska. I was a town kid near there until I was 15. We live in Arkansas where there are way too many trees for someone that grew up in wide open spaces.

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