Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beach Bonanza!

When we make our regular trips to The Redneck Riviera (aka Gulf Shores), we always pick up the local newspaper called The Islander. The Islander is usually full of useless information and a ton of fun, personal stories-- my favorite kind of publication.

An article of actual significance caught my eye on the front page, though. The City of Orange Beach voted to give each of their 433 employees a $2000 bonus for the year. What??? What city employee EVER gets a bonus? And how can ANY municipality afford such a luxury in these difficult times?

It seems that Orange Beach ended the year with a $5 million dollar bonus. Whoa! How did this happen? Was BP so generous to them that they were able to line their coffers for the year? Or maybe business was just so good on Alabama's coast that tax revenues overflowed.

I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. Regardless, this abundance is a sign of good economic activity in an area that has suffered hard hits from natural disasters and man-made disasters in years past. Well, good for them!

It just shows that economic recovery often comes unevenly. The health of any economy depends on local conditions and may not match national averages.

Just look at Detroit. The question to ask there is whether they will ever recover. Or Ohio. Beaten down by the loss of manufacturing jobs, they are gaining some traction finally. Or Mississippi-- wasn't great before the recession and just now getting back to status quo.

Then there's Orange Beach, Alabama-- land of milk and honey. Hurricanes and oil spills are only distant memories in Orange Beach. That $2000 bonus going into every city employee's pocket will only add to their good fortune.

And the Great Recession of 2008? In Orange Beach, it's "What recession?"