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Missed Fortune – Resilience and Financial Crises

Posted on | January 23, 2009

I wrote yesterday in my article “If Only Boomers Could See Things Differently” about how financial crises can and do happen, as we have witnessed recently.

But it’s what we do after the crisis that counts.

Those with determination and resilience are sometimes able to knuckle down, perhaps take courses in a new field, and get new jobs. Those who don’t? They act lost. Many get depressed.

One fellow I know used to work for a company that was a member of the Fortune 1000. Then came shrunken profits, belt-tightening and layoffs. After he was let go, he tried real estate, furniture sales and other occupations, but he walked around angry at the world. His marriage fell apart. He lost all of his self-esteem.

Another person I know had a great corporate job. When he lost it a few years ago in a merger, he began selling medical supplies. He’s earning one-third what he did before. It took him three years to come to the realization that he had not developed any other marketable skills. The skills he did possess had become obsolete.

Anyone faced with such a situation can get frustrated. Worse, they can end up spending all the money they stockpiled; while they seek new employment, their nest egg gets gobbled up.

No one wants to look on the minus side of the ledger, yet none of us wants to be caught short by nasty surprises, to watch helplessly as inflation, downsizing, or some other event beyond our control eats away at our pensions.

During my next few posts I’m going to dig a little deeper in the psychology that drives specific financial blunders and how we all can avoid them.

Doug Andrew

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