Financial Planning

The recession bites … and Americans bite back

Smile Looking for a sure sign that times are tough?

Go ask your dentist.

It turns out dentists are seeing an uptick in the number of cases of teeth-grinding they are treating these days. The reason? The Telegraph's Murray Wardrop attributes it to stress caused by the recession.

And that's not all. According to this Time article, dental patients often skip checkups during hard financial times ... then find themselves shelling out big bucks to fix their neglected teeth later.

"With average profit margins at 17 percent, dentistry outpaced accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services (and) legal services among the top performing professions in '08," Time's Sean Gregory reported.

Still, Americans apparently are trying to put all of that dental work to good use. According to the American Institute of CPAs, a bit of economic optimism is poking through the clouds these days -- and we'll take any reason to smile that we can get.

"Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, say they are pessimistic about the U.S. economic outlook over the next 12 months, a slight decline from 54 percent who were pessimistic in the same survey this time last year," the AICPA reported. "At the same time, the proportion of survey respondents who said they were optimistic or very optimistic about the economy’s future rose to 44 percent in the latest survey, up from 41 percent a year ago."

OK, so it's not exactly the end of the rainbow, but it's a start. These days, a little optimism could go an awfully long way.

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Bill Sheridan