One day at a time

Watch the news or read the paper nowadays and you’d think it was financial Armageddon. Just this week, the media started tossing around the dreaded “D” word (depression) and comparing modern photos of people lined up outside the unemployment office to pictures of 1930s-era men in suits and hats doing the same thing more than 70 years ago. Not very comforting—it’s adding fuel to the fire, if you ask me.

We get it. Yes, the economy is bad. Yes, it’s been a lot better. Now can we please just deal with it and move on? I realize this is not so easy to do when you need money for the mortgage and/or you’ve just lost your job. But rather than get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all—as the media seems to have been hoping for since day one—let’s take it one day at a time.

It’s what my mom used to tell me when I was buried in schoolwork and finals were coming up—or when I was danger of missing a deadline or two at my first fast-paced job. You can sweat about it or you can tackle it calmly—it’s not going to change the fact that it’s happening, so why make yourself suffer more by freaking out? In fact, when you calmly break down tasks into one step at a time, you’re more likely to succeed because you’re doing it with a clear and rational mind.

So when you’re feeling the burden of the recession—as so many of us are—try taking it a day, and a problem, at a time.

Lost your job? Don’t give up hope. While more than 7% of people are unemployed, that means over 90% are still working—there are still jobs out there. When the economy picks back up (which it will eventually) there will be even more. For now, do what you can—it’s all you can do. Touch up your resume, build a portfolio of your best work and start searching. If you didn’t love your former job, this is your chance to make over your work life. Is there a career that’s always interested you? Can you get a part-time job while you intern or take classes in that field?

Of course, it’s understandable that you might have to take another job as soon as you find one—maybe even one that isn’t your favorite—because you need to put food on the table. So take the time to appreciate the positives of unemployment, whether it’s more time with your kids, the chance to catch up on reading or the time to reinvent yourself.

I hope that when things do pick back up, they’re a bit different—that we never quite return to our workaholic, keeping up with the Joneses, fast-paced career culture.

Then there’s the mortgage. What if you’re one of the many Americans facing foreclosure? Maybe it’s because you lost your job. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones still earning a steady paycheck, but you’re too deep in debt. Maybe you bought high and now you owe more than the house is worth. These are all common tales, but they don’t have to have sad endings.

Even if you’ve already been served a notice of foreclosure, there’s still a way to stop the process—Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once you file for Chapter 13, you’ll be able to work out a payment plan for your mortgage and other debts (find out more about filing here). If the plan is court-approved, you can keep your home if you make the agreed smaller payments over a five-year period.

There truly is a solution to any financial problem—but you might have to stop panicking to find it. Do you need to allocate more money towards groceries and less towards creditors? More towards saving for the future and less towards the present? It can be done with a plan. If you need guidance along the way, give us a click or a call. With our free one-on-one debt analysis, we can get you steered in the right direction. We can even help walk you through the next steps—be it for a budget or bankruptcy. The future—and, hopefully, a better economy—is coming, regardless of how we each react personally right now. So why not make it easier on yourself and take it one day at a time?

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