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Mood Of The Nation: Business Owner Spending Less

She rations healthcare for herself to cut down on co-pays. And when her daughter needed medical attention earlier this year, she found herself saying dueling prayers in the hospital.

"Please don't let this cost an arm and a leg. And please let her be OK," Mitrani recalls saying.

Mitrani is resigned to the fact that her retirement won't be as comfortable as her parents'. Compared with her parents' generation, Mitrani believes Americans today are a bit more materialistic and might need to ratchet back expectations a bit. There's evidence this is happening: Consumers have been saving and reducing debts more, and spending less, than before the financial crisis.

Still, Mitrani sees some reason for optimism. The stock market is coming back: The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index is up more than 12 percent this year. And slowly, clients are beginning to inquire about using her services in 2013.

"They're asking for proposals and planning expansions," she says. "They're starting to talk about the future."

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To watch video of Mitrani and for more on this topic, go to: http://bigstory.ap.org/topic/mood-of-the-nation

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AP video journalist Robert Ray contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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