After rising at the time to unfathomable heights, in the mid-1980s oil prices—our state's key economic base then—stumbled dramatically. Then Black October 1987 occurred; this sent the U.S. stock market crashing down. While we tried to digest these serious blows to our state's economy, the savings-and-loan crisis unfolded beneath us. This sent the commercial and residential real-estate markets in Texas and nearby Oklahoma plummeting dramatically. Suddenly unemployment in Texas leaped to 11 percent. Large numbers of houses across both states went into foreclosure. Daily prominent citizens filed for bankruptcy while leading state bankers headed off to jail. "Quite a mess" only begins to describe that situation. Most of the nation remembers those times as a "mild" recession. Except for a few Pollyannas, most Texans remember the late 1980s as our version of the Great Depression. We also remember how so many outside of the state refused to understand our intense pain at the time.
Our family was impacted economically, socially, physically, and spiritually by all the turmoil swirling around us and eventually engulfing us. Lessons we learned extended far beyond just how to invest wisely and how to manage money in the midst of a wild economic hurricane. You can read more about that in my new book, Witness to the Truth, published by Hannibal Books in June. Chapters 18 and 19 (pages 204-238) focus on those tumultuous years.
Today--two decades later--I am glad now that I have those memories to guide me and my family during the current economic difficulties our country faces. Here are some lessons for survival we learned during those economically tough times: