Killing the Joneses: Is It Time to Get Real?

Killing the Joneses: Is It Time to Get Real?

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Audio Killing the Joneses

Okay, we blew it.

Here the universe gave us a perfectly good opportunity to change how we lived and to get real about our finances.  It was called “The Economic Crisis of 2008.”

You remember, don’t you?  Lots of people lost their homes.  Some because they lost one or both incomes in the family.  Others because they had been keeping up with the Joneses and owned too much house.  (Remember McMansions being built where perfectly fine houses had stood before?)  Then, as soon as the economy went wonky, they found themselves upside down with their mortgages, so there was no longer any equity in the house to borrow against.

Once credit card companies started tightening the size of credit lines, people who were living off their cards were caught short.  How were they to keep up their lifestyles without their cards?  How were they supposed to make their minimum payments if they had no available credit on any other card to pay them with?

Oops, reality check.  Time to learn to live on less.

A Taboo is Broken

Then we had another opportunity:  because everyone was in the same financial mess, people actually started talking about their finances a bit.  “Bankruptcy” and “foreclosure”—two words that would not have crossed people’s lips two years before—became topics of conversation even in polite company.

Those of us who work with people who are trying to get their finances under control figured this was the silver lining in the worldwide grey cloud.

But it didn’t last.  Soon the elephant was back in the room and the dialog about money ended.  After all, you can’t be honest about your money if you’re not being honest with yourself.

A Lost Opportunity

Millions are permanently displaced from the pool of “Joneses wannabes” because they’ve never replaced their lost incomes and have been downsized into invisibility.  But those who caught themselves and somehow got a toehold are back to the same games.

Instead of having learned permanently how to live on less, they’re lying to themselves and trying to keep up with the Joneses again:

  • They’re pretending they can afford to take on more credit card debt.
  • They’re pretending they can afford the big house they’ve somehow managed to hang on to … or the even larger one because now interest rates are (artificially) so low.
  • They’re pretending they can afford new furniture for the house because they can buy it “zero down, no payments for 36 months.”
  • They’re pretending they can afford new cars because lease payments of a mere $199 or $299 per month seem reasonable, compared to what they pay monthly for their cell phones and cable television.  (A car isn’t seen as an asset anymore, it’s a service.)

There’s only one detail:  the Joneses are broke.  Besides, the Joneses never were particularly happy.  They were always way too stressed to be happy.

How to Be Rich and Happy

The “rich” can be defined in two ways:  (1) they are the people who have acquired and kept enough money to no longer have to worry about it, or (2) they are the people who have adjusted their lifestyle so it is no longer a strain on the resources they do have.

In either case, these two groups differ from the “fakers” in two very simple (but very powerful) ways:

Killing the Joneses

So what would you be willing to do if you were living with the emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual stress of pretending you could afford your lifestyle when you really couldn’t?

Would you be willing to be honest and vulnerable with those you love about what is really going on with your money?

Would you be willing to ignore the media’s well-crafted tale that if you’ll just spend all your hard-earned money on the niceties of life, you’ll be happy?

Would you be willing to get real about what you can and can’t afford, so that with time you can get out from under the pressure of crushing debt?

Unless you’re already among the “rich,” whichever definition you use, as I see it you have two choices:  (1) you can continue to pretend all is well and chase the artificial lifestyle of the Joneses, or (2) you can get honest with yourself, shed the pretenses and move quickly to where money is a tool that brings you freedom and peace of mind.

Which will it be?

Let us know in the Comments section below if the Economic Crisis of 2008 taught you any lessons that are still with you today.


Bio: Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.

  • I was driving back from a very relaxing holiday in Southern Tuscany when I heard the news on the radio about the financial collapse in 2008.

    Mind you, what happened in the US had repercussions around the globe. Apart from my personal financial situation (I lost quite a lot) and had to bury my dreams of early retirement in Tuscany), I deeply regret the lost opportunity for all politicians and financial organizations to rethink, regroup and adjust their values. What the hell: do politicians have no values, guilty feelings, compassion and guts? Are they only puppets of their friends in big corporations who can pull the strings at will?

    I do not blame the Joneses, they only represent the symptoms of a rotting apple or the stinking carcass of a camel having died in the desert. As long as we are only presented with the mirror of the sleeping beauty’s stepmother, nothing will ever change.

    • You’re right, Barbara. Not only did they not even look to see if they HAD any intrinsic values. Even worse, politicians and other global heavyweights took advantage of the chaos to increase their power even further. (Rahm Emanuel, then the President’s right hand man, said, “”You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I
      mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not
      do before.”) The media worldwide was also complicit by not calling them out and doing their job of “policing” through journalism. Regardless, I continue to believe that we do not relinquish our personal responsibility because of someone else’s bad behavior. We each have the option to step over the stinking camel carcass and individually behave responsibly where we still can. And, thankfully, many people still do. Just not enough people to move the needle …

  • Susan Schiller

    As I was driving to a funeral out-of-state this past week, there was a stray phrase I heard from the radio that suddenly clicked for me, “I want to be a blessing to my family and not a burden.” That phrase re-ignited my passion to generate an overflow type of income. Not just enough to care for my own needs, but to overflow. Not to build a mansion, but to continue to live simply. Not to borrow, but to lend. Not spend everything but to save.

    That’s one reason why I continue to come here every week, Sharon, because I need my compass needle to point straight to freedom and I appreciate your tweaks! I think I killed the Jones’ many years ago, but it’s taken a long time to shed the financial weight of debt… and now that the debt is gone, there’s a whole new mindset to build – one that will be strong enough to handle the type of income I want to generate. One of the things I appreciate most about your articles is you continue to bring us straight down to the root issues regarding money, our mindsets, and how to stay in the counter-current. The world system – that main current – is full of rip tides and under-tows, as the economic crisis of 2008 showed us. As for me, I will keep coming here for the gentle nudges, tweaks, and pushes until I push through… and then again until I see a long line of younger women pushing through behind me.

    It begins with education, and the education here is what we all need – Thanks so much, dear Sharon!!!

    • Sue, your motivation (“… to generate an overflow type of income. Not just enough to care for my
      own needs, but to overflow. Not to build a mansion, but to continue to
      live simply. Not to borrow, but to lend. Not spend everything but to
      save”) is exactly mine! And what I’ve learned along the way is that total, no-holds-barred personal honesty is needed to be sure the foundation is solid. So you’re on the right path, my friend … and you’re in MY ” long line of younger women pushing through behind me”! 😉

      • Susan Schiller

        Your words have blessed me greatly! 🙂

    • Thank you Sue you have no idea how this comment has inspired and given me direction and hope.

  • Gertraud Walters

    Just wrote a long comment and it’s gone. Pressed the wrong keys. So frustrating, but here we go. Love your post Sharon as always. You have a very special talent to turn Financial Literacy into some interesting stories.

    I full heartedly agree with you, many of us keep on going round in circles, thinking that somehow it will turn out different. Same old cycle continues, unless we’re prepared for a Mind shift and a complete turnaround.It has taken us nearly 5 years to come to a decision to downsize despite or non existing Credit Rating. Once we made the decision it looks like things are falling into place. Moving out of London never appealed to me, but you know, If I can live in a small mortgage free cottage near the coast I;ll be happy. And most probably we could even get a rental property as well. Because we have never lived up to the Joneses, the adjustments we have to make become much easier. As the Banks will never give us Credit Facilities again (so they say), that’s OK too, we’ll use what we have in our hands, and on a more humorous note our Brains. Common sense must and will prevail. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    • Gertraud, here is the link to a website I built as I was pulling out of my own financial tsunami: It tells you the extent to which I was willing to “contract” in order to get my finances in a comfortable place … from which I could rebuild again. [What I did is described at the bottom of that page.] I’ve left the site there so people could have that resource, although it’s not ever been updated. BTW, I never regretted that downsizing decision; the peace of mind it brought me was life-altering! So move forward without hesitation … you deserve that peace as well!

  • Carmen

    Sharon, I love your writing. Yes it is time to get real. My mother always instilled this in me and I’m very fortunate. I have also instilled this in my children and until the 2008 crash they teased me about my money philosophies. Xx

    • I would guess they stopped teasing you when they saw that your finances are serious business! The chaos came from the high percentage of people, personally and professionally, who found them easier to ignore …!

  • You are so right Sharon. Having worked at a nonprofit, who helps people living on the edge of poverty I’ve seen it first hand. People who are unemployed or underemployed, have lost their homes, living with family, needing help with food, yet they drive luxury cars and own the latest iPhone? Some people just don’t get their priorities straight.

    • I see the same thing all too often in the supermarket, Knikkolette, as families struggle to fit their purchases into the WIC and other support instruments’ requirements … then walk out and put their groceries in a new Escalade. There’s certainly some fraud going on, but there’s also a total lack of education that might otherwise help them put their priorities in order. Problem is: I don’t see any will to change the situation on anyone’s part, so it will pass from generation to generation …

  • Kung Phoo

    I don’t and never cared about the Joneses.. i live the way i need to live and not a fake way..

    • Many people who lived very serene financial lives — regardless of their income or net worth — live outside the sphere of influence of the proverbial Joneses. Congrats, Rob!

  • Robin Pedrero

    Great question what would you be willing to do if you were living with the
    emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual stress of pretending you
    could afford your lifestyle when you really couldn’t?

    Super answer

    (1) you can continue to pretend all is well and chase the artificial lifestyle of the Joneses, or (2) you can get honest with yourself, shed the pretenses and move quickly to where money is a tool that brings you freedom and peace of mind.

  • Luisa

    I haven’t followed the “Joneses” in a long time my friend…I’ve learned to do what’s RIGHT for me & my life. I’m very careful what I leave to my family, & it will always be a space of power & strength. Great article.

    • So happy to see you’ve figured it out, Luisa. Brava!

  • You never fail to deliver powerful, to the point, real posts and that is what I LOVE about YOU….. Thanks for always delivering real value that is worthy of reading. Have a fabulous week

    • Thanks, Carly, I take that praise to heart. In fact, it’s what keeps me digging, week after week, for a message I think might move one person — or maybe two people — to change directions in their financial lives …

  • Alexandra McAllister

    When I was first married at 21, it was important for me to live like the Joneses…what a mistake! It was part of the reason I got divorced…nothing was ever good enough. Thank goodness with time and a lot of advice, I changed. I live for myself and that is good enough. Thanks for such an inspiring post, Sharon.

    • Those lessons, when they come, seem to touch all aspects of our lives, Alexandra. But, while some see them as sad, I feel they give us the tools and the strength to build a life for the long run that better suits us and our real values, if we’ll just dig down and acknowledge at them. 😉

  • Scott Glaze

    Great awareness post Sharon! When tragedies happen, it makes us all take a step back and reevaluate how we are spending to make sure we don’t end up paying more for it later. My family strives to live within our means and let the Joneses be the Joneses.

    • Scott, I woke up one morning and said, “Are the Joneses going to pay my mortgage when I can no longer work? Are they going to fund my retirement?” That was the day they were banished from my life … and good riddance! 😉

  • You have such a great understanding of the psychology behind spending Sharon. Your sentence about the media’s well-crafted tale resounded with me, because as a parent I am all too aware of the pressures put on my children to have it all and to have it now. And I must confess that despite coming from the generation where you used to save before you bought (okay I am really old!) I do sometimes slip into the buy now and pay later brigade.

    Thanks for the reminder to think before I buy.

    • There does need to be a careful balance, Carolyn, between what we give in to as parents and what lessons we’re teaching our children. There’s nothing wrong with treating or even spoiling them, then having to scurry to catch back up. It’s a matter of how often it’s done, with what message and with what discipline. But then, I know you know that … 😉

  • Tereza

    Adjusting the lifestyle is the secret, indeed! Not easy for everyone, but it definitely saves you from bigger troubles!

    • You’re right, Tereza, it IS the secret. As for those who cannot, they have no idea how costly it will be in the long run as things compound … it gets harder and harder to get out from under.

  • Tina Ashburn

    I killed the Joneses a long time ago. It was a very rewarding and highly enlightening experience. I learned the difference between Want and Need. This is freedom at its best.

    • That lesson of the difference between Want and Need … and the willingness to act on whatever your eyes-wide-open “reality” is … is what leads to that freedom you enjoy, Tina. For me, it’s almost beyond words!

  • Kelly

    Oh I definitely learned a lot from this time period. I lost my job in January 2009 and had 2 house payments. Needless to say it depleted all my savings and I was trying to get rid of one of them. Believe me I would never do that again. If I can’t afford to pay cash for it then I definitely don’t need it!

    • Kelly, it was so easy to believe the myth that housing values would continue to rise forever and that any economic disruption would be over in 12-18 months, as always happened before. What was harder to believe was the amount of lies being told to prop up the house of cards. And the unwillingness of the power brokers to ever hold the right people accountable and rectify the situation. Nothing’s changed. So the only thing to do is to not play their game …

  • Wingate Wyndham Sulphur

    Yea, the Joneses would have to leave me behind. Although part of me usually wants the newest thing, the other part tells me if I can afford it or not. I am definitely not going to put myself in financial harm to have the latest and greatest. Great post as always Sharon!

    • The joy that comes from having that latest and greatest thing you really can’t afford is fleeting. Having to pay it off is not. Congrats, Heather, for realizing that fact!

  • Terri Lind Davis

    I downsized to a town home a couple years ago and am loving a simpler lifestyle with much less stress. I have managed to hold on to my other home as a rental and hope the market continues to improve so I can sell without much loss. I learned many important lessons over the past years with the most important being that I can live with much less and have much less stress.

    • Isn’t it interesting that so few people understand the relationship between “living with less” and “having less stress.” Most see stress in the need to let go … yet it’s the exact opposite, as you’ve realized. Good for you, Terri, sounds as if you have things well under control!

  • Sharon, I am continually impressed with your ability to take a difficult topic – money – and break it down so that it is easier to address. I like your definition of the “rich”… synonymous with at peace vs. stressing.

    • Janet, I know we all define “rich” differently but, after kicking this topic around for the last 10-12 years, that’s what I find makes the most sense to the greatest number of people. Especially since so many have little or no relationship with their money, so money becomes a false gauge. But we all know what stress is … and we all WANT to know what peace of mind feels like …

  • Michelle Edwards

    My husband and I have always made it a priority to live within our means. We do have a credit card, but we pay it off every month and make certain that we don’t overspend. We have the card because we get paid at the end of every year a percentage of what we spent. Last year, that ended up being $1,000 🙂 We love getting paid to use the card. This isn’t for everyone though, you have to be very cognizant of what you are spending.

    • Credit cards, and other financial tools, can and should be used to maximize what you get back for whatever effort you put into earning your money. Michelle. That’s simply “maximizing.” But, you’re right, it does require awareness and discipline. Congratulations to you and your husband for having it!

  • MeliLovesCards

    I’ve always prided myself on not even recognizing the Joneses. There were so many times when the values I had did not align with them. I have to be true to myself because I am the one who is responsible for my life. Thanks for the excellent post.

    • How fortunate you are to have had the wisdom all along. “Acquiring in order to feel accepted” is very tempting without that wisdom, particularly as the media gets more and more sophisticated at separating people from their money! Brava, Meli!

      • MeliLovesCards

        I do know how hard it is and it starts so young. When my daughter was in pre-school the children made fun of a little girl because she didn’t h ave Jordache jeans… my daughter is 33 now. It’s difficult not to fall prey since many of the people in marketing and advertising have a background in psychology.

        • Meli, they are absolute masters! So it’s up to us to be “masters” at guarding our wallets! 😉

  • Roz

    As a retired career counselor who worked with the unemployed professional in the 80’s and 90’s I saw too frequently the devestation and impact of job loss, going thru savings, having to adjust from a high lifestyle to reality, etc. Many pretended to go to work and went to the library. Many marriages fell apart. So much shame. Wish I had your articles and wisdom to share with them. It was a new phenominon.

    • Roz, when I lost everything in 2001 and saw everything crumbling around me, the emotion was that of shame, as you say. We’ve been helped more recently by the number of people who went through financial difficulty together — and the fact that it was dealt with so publicly — but those raised with certain values still struggle with the shame. That is why I am so committed to this educational mission I’m on. And it’s why I am totally non-judgmental in how I approach money and what people may have done with it.

  • Simona R.

    We really don’t need much to be happy, Sharon. One of my clients just came from a trip to Europe and was mentioning how amazed was to see that people back there live with much less and are much happier. We don’t need a lot, we only think that we need (a lot of what we see on TV…).

    • I lived in Europe for many years, Simona, and know how much less the concept of materialism has the Europeans in its grasp! I too fell for the American Dream when I moved back to the States, and it’s part of what pulled me down financially after 9/11. It was a lesson learned the hard way!

  • Where to start Sharon. The economy hit my business hard in 2008, I almost lost it entirely. However it was a real wake up call for my husband and me. We began our journey to taking control over our spending habits, cutting out using credit cards. We’ve paid off all but two and now find ourselves in yet another dilemma…our second mortgage has matured, our business is still struggling and we don’t qualify for a refi. We are looking at all available options before choosing which direction to go…you might say we are backed into a corner and it sure doesn’t feel or look very good.

    • Those are the lousy residual effects of 2008, Carla. We all felt that five more years on a mortgage would be plenty of time to turn things around. But the economy has taken far longer to pick up … and will never get back to “that” normal, but instead to a “new” normal. Ironically, the people who did not throw in the towel and declare bankruptcy, but tried to honor their financial obligations, are the ones still hurting the most … and who find they don’t fit into the supposed “assistance.” You know where to reach me …

  • Lynn O’Connell

    Always wonderful advice.

  • McMansion limbo

    I don’t care about keeping up with the Jones’ at all any more. But I can’t figure out how to get out of my situation. Long story short, the 2001 recession hurt one long-time business, I started another one which took off like a rocket until the 2008 crash killed both businesses. Like too many small business owners, I didn’t realize that fast enough, didn’t lay people off soon enough, didn’t give up office soon enough, and drained our savings, including 401Ks, thinking we would be able to rebuild the business. I mean, we’d been making 6 figures a month, surely we could get back to $10 or $12K a month. Uh… no.

    Yes, we have a McMansion, which we could easily afford when we bought it. Unfortunately, in our denial, we refinanced it, leaving us underwater. In a strange twist of fate, we did that with Countrywide on a declared income loan, and, although we were truthful about our income, their bad track record bought us a complete write-off of the second mortgage, and a restructuring of the first through HAMP — which we weren’t able to keep up with even at the reduced rate. Meanwhile, my husband (the main salesman) has fought crippling depression and basically falls apart every time a deal doesn’t go through. And, I’ve suffered a series of health problems and some depression as well, though not as crippling.

    The positive side — one deal could put us back in a position to restructure or sell and downsize. The negative side — well, the obvious is the chasing of that one deal. Plus, the bouts of depression, combined with the fact that our niche continues to be rattled by sequester and shutdowns, meaning we don’t ever have enough deals in the pipeline because the industry we specialize in has shattered.

    SO… we sit today in our McMansion that we’re not making payments on, driving our 8 year-old car which is held together with bobby pins, and sell possessions on Craigs’ List to pay the (high) utility bills, health insurance and other essentials. We’re so broke we actually qualified for food stamps last year for a while, and still go to a food pantry… bringing the food back to our McMansion. We had the humiliating experience of getting Christmas gifts for the kids (not ours, we had temporary custody of nieces due to other family problems) and having the people at the donation site think we were there to give, not to take.

    We are basically waiting for the bank to declare foreclosure again, at which time we’ll go bankrupt one at a time to delay it 6-8 months. (Basically bankruptcy lawyer has said to go bankrupt on either good news (a contract) or bad (foreclosure).) The house value has gone up, but not enough to pay off loan, back payments, and broker. We’ve come to terms with the fact that we will will be leaving the house, but we have no idea where to go or how to rebuild. We’ve been self-employed for 30 years, are in our fifties, couldn’t pass a credit check, and as we’re seeing our employed friends our ages lose their jobs, we don’t think there is much chance of getting someone to hire us. (Especially in our field which has a big bias towards youth.) So rebuilding the business or a new business to a level that will support a downsized lifestyle seems like the best move. But then we hit the obstacles. How do we pay for the bankruptcy? How do we get an apartment or a mobile home with no credit and no money and no income? How do we find a place where our animals can come with us? (Because they are the one thing we feel we can’t leave behind.) How do we present ourselves as worthy business partners when we can’t afford new shoes or haircuts or new business cards? What do we do when our computers give out?

    We know we’ll be fine wherever we end up — we put ourselves through college, were poor in our twenties, we bootstrapped our businesses, and you would be very surprised if I told you my name as I’m actually still considered very influential in my field. (One of our problems actually — our business did six- and seven-figure contracts and people don’t think of us for smaller jobs and we really can’t handle the big jobs right now as we can’t show a full team.) That’s one area where we do live a lie and try to keep up with the Jones’ because if we share our failure with the community, how do we get hired again?

    We’ve talked about giving up the business chase and going after simpler jobs, or online business, but we come back to same problem… how do we get from here to there? Literally. We couldn’t even rent a truck today. We don’t have family that will or can help, and, perhaps due to all those years of working 80-hour weeks, we don’t have the kind of friends we could move in with.

    I know there are answers. And, I know that when push comes to shove, we’ll have to find them. But I finally understand the paralysis that leads people to sit in their homes until the day they are kicked out. How do we break through that fog and find the answers to put ourselves back in control? We can’t afford to hire you, much as we’d like to. And, we can’t afford the co-pays to go to counseling because every dime is going to keeping the electricity and internet on.

    In closing, I think the single biggest problem is that we were/are unprepared for failure on such a massive scale. We’re both bright, hard-working, self-made, self-starters, Type A… whatever label you want to put on it. We’ve always been able to make things happen. And now we can’t. And that’s the one thing we don’t have the skill set to manage.

    • McM, your note breaks my heart because, like so many other achievers, you undoubtedly were following the triggers that society (and the economy) were sending out. Little did we know how big the lies were and how leveraged the entire economy truly was. Nor did we know how inequitable the “fix” would be going forward, leaving lots of people who were playing by the old perceived rules in devastating situations. The one thing I would suggest is that one or both of you may have missed an opportunity to get a toehold somewhere along the line … and that’s evidenced in this sentence: “That’s one area where we do live a lie and try to keep up with the Jones’ because if we share our failure with the community, how do we get hired again?” Being able to “see” an opportunity may require that you get honest on all fronts, especially because it may look totally different. And, for people to help you, they need to know you need help. However, because you’ve bootstrapped before, you can do it again. But it may require facing and embracing the rest of the very difficult reinvention process …

  • robindavidman

    Another wonderful article that generates much thought and many good comments by your readers. I always find something valuable in your writing. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Robin, for stopping by. I’m glad you find it valuable!

  • Martha Giffen

    Great article! Faking it in ANYthing never works! What I noticed beginning in 2008, was how everyone WANTED to talk about money all of a sudden. It was the old “misery loves company” thing. You are right, though, humans don’t learn from our mistakes. Many are going right back to believing the ads saying financing is cheap, so do it now. People are starved to “go back to the way it was” and are taken in by all the hype. Sad but true. For folks who read your blog, THEY will stay “in the know.” Thanks!

    • You mention “People are starved to ‘go back to the way it was’ …” Since it didn’t work for most before, it’s unlikely to work now. I guess the real lesson that was NOT learned was that of personal responsibility which, as you know Martha, is the foundation of financial success and peace of mind!

  • I’ve always been a frugal person who was never into keeping up with
    the Jones’. I bought my house almost 20 years ago as a single
    solopreneur, and I managed my money very well. My husband was laid off
    just as the recession started. Despite submitting an incredible number
    of resumes, he got nowhere. Age discrimination, long term unemployment
    and competition in the marketplace turned out to be formidable enemies.
    Like many, we’ve lived on the edge of a scream – uncertain of tomorrow,
    sometimes even shaky about today. That’s about as ‘real’ as it gets. If
    it wasn’t for our firm belief that God did not bring us this far to
    drop us on our heads, I’m not sure where we’d be. I know one thing
    though – we’re made of tough stuff. So we follow the advice of Harriett Tubman, and we KEEP GOING. Every day. Thanks for your thought provoking post.

    • So many of the people who were hurt by the 2008 crisis were what were considered “salt of the earth” hard workers and responsible spenders. I don’t need to tell you that what let you survive the shake-up were more than likely your original frugal nature and your faith. Even if you think you’re doing everything you can to move your business forward, do the little exercise I proposed anyway. You just may have overlooked something you should let go of–or something you should stretch to adopt–that would help take the pressure off.

  • Terri Jones

    Great overview of what happened in 2008. I am a “Jones” and I thank God that my husband had discernment and integrity. He was a mortgage broker at the time and saw the handwriting on the wall. He chose not to give people loans that he knew they could not afford. Because of this, he was able to sleep well at night. You are right people need to have financial survival skills now that we are coming out of the water. I pray that the lesson was learned otherwise, this road will be crossed again.

    • As often as I use that expression, Terri, I’m happy to have finally met a Jones! 😉 I share your concern: rather than truly “learn” from the shake-up, it feels as if we’ve simple aggravated what we had before: (1) one mass that scurried back onto the business-as-usual, “let-me-pull-the-wool-over-your-eyes-and-mine” train; (2) one mass that is still on its knees, hardly even feeling part of the country’s economic dialog; and (3) one feisty mass that’s kicking and scratching to get some traction in new or struggling businesses. Not as healthy a picture as I wish it were …