Reframing the Economic Crisis - Blogs - Frugal Village Forums

Reframing the Economic Crisis

Rate this Entry
by , 04-04-2009 at 10:42 PM (1119 Views)
Okay, itís no secret that the economy is in the tank. And itís likely that this has you worried, angry, upset, and stressed out. And itís no wonder. Youíve probably watched your investments fall, your retirement may be on hold indefinitely, you may have been laid off, your house is possibly worthless, and your credit lines have been cut. It isnít helping that the media is beating the gloom and doom horse into the ground. You canít go anywhere without hearing how bad things are, which likely only makes you feel worse.

In this time of misery, Iím going to offer up a challenge. Instead of going along with the gloom and doom scenario and feeling like complete crud, why not try reframing this crisis and its impact on your life into something more positive? Instead of giving in to the fear mongering and letting that fear control your life, why not try to take back some ownership of the situation?

Attitude has a lot to do with how you deal with a crisis. On the night his factory (which contained all of his work and works in progress) burned down, Thomas Edison said, ďThereís value in disaster. All our mistakes our burned up. Thank God, we can start anew.Ē Thatís a refreshing way to look at something that Edison could have chosen to view as a career ender. He could have wallowed in pity and failure but instead he chose to look at that disaster as a chance to start over and correct his past mistakes. He went on to invent many more things. Perhaps thatís how we should be looking at this crisis. Not as a disaster of epic proportions, but as a chance to learn something and correct our mistakes, thus improving our futures.

Obviously, this is easier said than done. I know how hard it is, when youíre staring at the bottom of your bank account, to find anything positive in the situation. But itís worth the effort. Whatís your alternative? To wallow in your misery? To consider yourself a failure? To stop trying? Thatís no way to live. If you reframe the situation and choose to look at it positively, that is a catalyst for change that can bring you to a new, better place in life. Here are some stories that Iíve heard from people who are choosing to look at things differently:

From Luke, a laid off manufacturing worker: ďSure, I could be really pissed. The company I worked for for twenty years just laid me off with no severance, no benefits, nothing. I donít have much savings, so things are definitely getting tight. But what good would it do me to sit at home and be pissed? Thatís not going to bring in the money I need. Iím choosing to look a this as a good thing. I was getting kind of tired of working at that job, so this is my chance to do something else. Iíve always wanted to pursue my music but I was too tired at the end of my shift. But now I have plenty of time to practice and play. Iíve already got three paying gigs lined up and Iím sending out flyers to give music lessons. Iíve got one kid signed up. Iím still looking for Ďrealí jobs but in the meantime Iím getting by doing something I love.Ē

From Kerry, a woman whose husband has been out of work for three months: ďWe canít go out to eat anymore and Iíve had to get rid of the cable TV. At first it really stunk, but it turns out it was a good thing. Weíre all losing weight, doing more things together, and saving money that we really need. Itís a win-win. Even when the economy turns around, I doubt weíll go back to the way we were.Ē

(continues in next post)

Author: J. Derrick

Submit "Reframing the Economic Crisis" to Facebook Submit "Reframing the Economic Crisis" to Tweet This Submit "Reframing the Economic Crisis" to Digg Submit "Reframing the Economic Crisis" to Submit "Reframing the Economic Crisis" to StumbleUpon Submit "Reframing the Economic Crisis" to Google

Updated 04-04-2009 at 10:51 PM by [email protected]

Frugal Shares


  1. C@rol's Avatar
    From Taylor, a ten year old who had to give up her much loved dance lessons when her father lost his job: ďI didnít want to quit. I love to dance. But not dancing means that I get to spend more time with my friends. Instead of practicing and performing all the time, I get to go to sleepovers and parties. Iíve made new friends and done some other fun things. Mom says I can go back to dancing later, but in the meantime Iím getting to do some things I was missing out on.Ē

    From Allison, a laid off mother of three: ďI got laid off four months ago. At the time, I thought it was the worst thing that could happen. But then I realized that I had been wanting to work form home for so long. Iíd even been pursuing some of those bogus, Ďwork at home jobsí to see if I could earn enough to quit my job. That didnít work out, but when I got laid off, I really had no choice. I had to get money coming in, and fast. So I got off my butt and started hitting all my contacts, asking if I could freelance for them. I havenít replaced my full time income yet, but Iíve replaced about half of it, with more leads coming in every day. Iím finally working from home, legitimately. Itís like this was meant to happen.Ē

    From Daisy, a woman who knows she will be laid off soon: ďI donít know when the axe is going to fall, but I know itís coming. My company has laid of too many people for me not be next. I was afraid for a few weeks. Then I decided to stop worrying about the inevitable and start focusing on what I could control. Iím stashing money away as fast as I can and sending out resumes like crazy. Iím researching potential employers and making contact whenever possible. Iím not waiting for the disaster to come to me or trying to hide from it, Iím going to try to outrun it. Iíve also started taking some freelance jobs and looking into creating other income streams with some of my other talents. I was complacent about my job and the steady paycheck for too long and now I see that I should have been protecting myself better with more savings and additional skills. But Iím making up for lost time. When the layoff comes, Iíll be ready and I think my preparations will land me in a better place, either working for someone else or doing my own things.Ē

    From Mitchell, a man who is upside down on his house: ďWhen I first heard that I owed $50,000 more on this house than it was worth, I thought, ĎThatís not fair. I oughta just walk away from this stupid loan and let it go hang. Itís nuts to pay for something thatís worth less than I owe.í But then I thought about it and I realized that I donít have to leave it. Iím settled in this area. I have no plans to move. So it doesnít really matter what the house is worth right now. Do I like the house? Yes, itís my dream house. Am I happy with the neighborhood and the area Iím in? Yes. Then whatís the big deal? The market will turn around eventually and my value will even out. For now Iím focusing on being grateful that I have a house, that I can afford the mortgage payment, and that I like where I live. Iím choosing to look at this as a home again, not an investment.Ē

    From Brandy, a woman who was forced into foreclosure: ďAt first, I was angry and hurt. Iíd never had anything like that happen. Iíd always been responsible and made good choices, but this time I got sucked into a mortgage I couldnít afford. When the house went into foreclosure, I felt like a failure. But after the bruises healed, I started to look at it differently. Yes, my credit is trashed but I learned a lot of valuable lessons. I learned about mortgages and variable interest rates. I learned that sometimes the people you think are on your side really are not. I learned to read a lot more fine print and educate myself. But most importantly, I learned that home ownership really isnít for me. Even putting aside the mortgage disaster, once I got into the house I found that I didnít enjoy it. I didnít enjoy the maintenance and yard work. I didnít enjoy the taxes and expensive insurance. I know now that Iím a renter sort of girl and thatís okay. That knowledge will serve me well in life.Ē

    From Herb, a man who will have to defer his long awaited retirement: ďI didnít move fast enough to get my investments out of the market. My broker kept telling me to hold and wait it out and I listened, even though I was only five years from retirement. I only fired him after my portfolio was down about 50% and I realized I would not be retiring any time soon. I got mad, for a while. Then I realized that, while I might have to work a while longer, it didnít have to be at my current job. Iím staying with my current company another three years to get the full retirement benefits from them, but in the meantime Iím also working on setting up my own furniture making shop, which is what Iíve always wanted to do. I do it now in my spare time and Iím good enough to make a living off of it. So, since my retirement is on hold indefinitely, Iím investing a little of the money I had left in getting a business up and running. Iíd rather invest in myself and my own money making ability right now than in the stock market. Given my current projections, Iíll probably be able to retire in ten years, not five, but I probably wonít mind as much because Iíll be doing work that I love. Oh, and I also learned that some financial people donít know squat, so Iím learning how to manage my own investments now so that this doesnít happen again. No more blind trust.Ē

    From Emily, a woman who had to cancel a long awaited vacation due to a layoff: ďYou donít know how long and hard I planned and saved for this vacation. It was going to be our dream trip, a once in a lifetime vacation. But then my husband got laid off and the money I saved needs to go to other things. I was upset, but then I stepped back and looked at it. The place weíre going isnít going anywhere. We can go when things turn around. In the meantime, I have more time to plan and even learn the language. Being fluent in the language will make the trip, when we finally do take it, that much more enjoyable.Ē

    Author: J. Derrick
  2. C@rol's Avatar
    From Bob, a man who had to file for bankruptcy after a job loss: ďI got laid off and we had no savings and very few assets. But we had huge debts: Two big car payments, a jumbo mortgage, and credit cards up the ying-yang. We ended up filing bankruptcy. I wasnít happy or proud to do it, but it got to the place where it was our only choice. As we were going through the process, I was going through the house looking for stuff to sell. I was amazed at how much crap we had in the house that we never even used. I had stopped paying attention and when I saw all that stuff, I was almost sick. All our money had gone to a house full of junk that no one even touched. After the purge and after we filed for bankruptcy I really took a look at our lives and I decided that this would be a chance to make some big changes. Weíve been working really hard on simplifying and making creating a solid financial future for ourselves a priority, rather than creating a life through spending. Iím employed again and we have maxed out my retirement contributions and are dropping another 20% of my income into various investments and savings accounts with an eye toward both retirement and making sure we never end up in that situation again. The house is gone and we live in a very affordable apartment for now. I could look at all we lost, but Iím looking at what weíre gaining. Had we not had this experience, weíd still be doing the same things. At least this happened now, while weíre still young enough to rebuild and correct our mistakes. This has been a much needed learning opportunity and a chance to start over. Itís been painful, but itís a good pain.Ē

    From Alan, a man who lost both his job and much of his investments which were in company stock: ďI never appreciated the value of a simple life. I was always so busy working and trying to get ahead. But when I got laid off and my company folded leaving me with little money, I had a lot of time to ruminate. Since I didnít have any money, I had to simplify my life in a hurry. I got rid of a lot of things, events, and people in my life that were dragging me down. I figured out what I want from life and itís not the corporate treadmill that I thought I wanted. So Iím currently making ends meet with odd jobs. I thought Iíd feel like a failure, but I feel freer than I have in years. I make my own hours, pretty much, and I come home to a much smaller (but easier to maintain) apartment. Iím not making the income I once was, but I have enough to cover my needs and put some away for later. Iíve got some extra time and Iím volunteering as a Big Brother. I think Iíll eventually find myself working with kids full time in some capacity, but Iíve got time now to work it out. I never thought Iíd find myself in this situation, but now that I have I realize that it was a blessing that led me to a better life.

    These are all people who have been hit hard by the recession. They have plenty of reasons to lock themselves in their bedrooms and refuse to come out for a few years. They could easily get mad and sad and sit around hating life and mourning their losses. But instead they are consciously choosing to look at the brighter side and move forward toward a more positive future. Like Edison, they are choosing to see a chance to start over and do things differently, rather than focusing on what was lost in the economic fire.

    Author: J. Derrick