The devastation created by the Tsunami that hit Southeast Asia was exceeded only by the worldwide outpouring of assistance, generosity and goodwill. It is
both a testament to the precarious reality of our existence and the resiliency and
fortitude of mankind. The Tsunami was a consequence of an earthquake which, few, if any experts, anticipated. As a consequence, there were no warning signs. There was no time to act, react or prepare.
Fortunately, the “Delinquency Tsunami,” which many economists characterize as inevitable, is preceded by substantial warning signs. There is time to act. There are concrete steps that can be taken to fortify our positions prior to the onslaught. At the end of the day, those who ignore these warning signs and fail to provide for and manage these tangible risks will suffer, perhaps irreparably.
Consumer debt is at the highest level in 50 years. 2004 saw a 4.5% increase to over $2.1 Trillion. This is solely credit card and car loan debt. If mortgages and other consumer credit are included, the figure rises to $9.3 Trillion. Gas prices have skyrocketed and interest rates are creeping upwards. Not surprisingly, consumer confidence and the stock market are down