For those starting over

Last week we received the following email:

Just wondering if you might address the issue of those of us who have recently lost everything financially when our long-time industries took a dive, and are starting over? It’s clear as a bell what “enough” is now. If you have cautions or suggestions as we start over, we’d love to hear your advice. Your book is such an inspiration!

Vicki and I were both moved by this message.  The idea of having someone lose all the money they’ve worked so hard to save is a trial we wish no one had to endure. But the bright tone of the email above suggested that this person was going to overcome the setback just fine. I reflected on what I would do in such a situation and recommended the following ideas:

1) First of all, I would not rush to any risky investments to try to make up for lost time. I have read several articles recently suggesting that this is one response people have taken after the stock market collapse and it is almost always a path to disaster;

2) If you’re anywhere near retirement age, I’d become very knowledgeable fast about how much you’re going to make in Social Security and when exactly you can claim that money;

 3) I’d think hard about the things that make me deeply happy that cost very little money and then give those things to myself as often as possible while adjusting to this significant change in circumstances;

4) I’d keep careful track of my attitude and surround myself with others (even just one other person) who are also trying to amass savings to give me inspiration and good ideas;

 5) I’d keep the mantra “Want What You Have” taped to my bathroom mirror or some other prominent place;

6) I’d get the highest-paying job I could which was still in alignment with my values;

 7) I’d track every penny as recommended in Your Money or Your Life and read/sign up for the free blog posts at

What would you recommend?  Please share your comments with us.

1 thought on “For those starting over

  1. I have increased my savings rate more by questioning each expense than by trying to increase my income. “Is this expense in line with my values and beliefs?” and “Did this expense bring me satisfaction equal to or greater than the cost?” has helped me time and time again to identify expenses that I should either avoid or reduce.

    Those questions have challenged me to find creative and intelligent methods to reduce my taxes, utility bills, food, and transportation costs. Even after years of following YMOYL practices, I still find expenses that creep in or discover a new way to reduce costs by asking those questions each month.

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