One marketing expert in his early 60s could lose his house. His full-time job, with benefits, ended when his employer went bankrupt. Stunned, he's stuck. Not since he floundered after college has he been down and out. His unemployment has ended.
Unfortunatley this acquaintance has lots of company among us Baby Boomers. Yes, the experience of being down and out is not only possible "at our age. It's increasingly probable.
The first challenge is to get over the denial. It really has happened that our source of income, which we still need, has dried up. It really is likely we will have to sell our house, no matter what the market conditions. It really is a reality that there is a glut of most of us in most fields.
So, what do we do? In 2003, I had to look this ordeal in the face. Had I done that sooner, when the unraveling of my business began in 2001, I might not have had to start over. I might have been able to shore up the business, not burn through my nest egg, and slip into a clinical depression.
Here are 6 tips for reducing the damage when we are down and out and opening up to producing income again:
Admit. Tell yourself that you are financially in trouble. No, you don't have to tell anyone else. This is our business, literally.
Cut expenses. It is imperative to conserve the funds you have. That may mean calling the lawn service and negotiating getting out of the contract. Be willing to sacrifice your down payment on that vacation. Consider selling the house and renting.
Get free help. With so much upheaval in the economy, faith-based, government, and professional organizations provide pro-bono assistance to those in transition. Search the Internet for what's offering what.
Do an inventory of what you can "sell." Most of us have more marketable experience and skills than we realize. Sit down and review your background. Then match up what you find to what's in demand in the help-wanted. Yes, study the employer requests on all kinds of job boards.
Create new resumes and cover letters. You have to move quickly. Based on what your research on the marketplace turns up, put together new sets of credentials. Then try them out by replying to help-wanted.
Do freelance assignments. They are available on Elance, Outscource, Craigslist and many others. Being a free agent may be your new career path. Initially, that way of earning a living may feel uncomfortable. Give it time. After all, when we began our careers it was through the full-time job route. The marketplace has changed since then.
Even after we stabilize our financial situation, there will be scary times. I had one of those early in 2014. This time, I didn't go into denial. I analyzed the situation and decided on course correction. That has had a happy ending, for now.