Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Economy and Job Loss

Down but Not Out: Overcoming Job Loss
Rick Rose did just about everything right with his finances.

He worked hard. He saved well from the $85,000-a-year job he had as communications director for a nonprofit in Washington. He bought a home he could easily afford. In fact, he had saved about a year's worth of living expenses.

But in two months, Rose, 43, could be out of money. He lost his job last spring and has been living off his unemployment and savings ever since.

By contrast, Juan and Bobbie Wilson made many mistakes. When the couple earned $98,000 a year, they admittedly spent too much. They weren't extravagant, but they did what many families do. They ate out too much. They overspent using credit. They didn't budget.

Come May, both Rose and the Wilsons will be in the same position: They will barely have enough money to make their mortgage payments. Rose will also worry about coming up with the money to pay for the expensive medication he takes for HIV. The Wilsons will be wondering whether they can pay for health insurance for their family.

The fact that Rose and the Wilsons are faced with the same financial issues illustrates how cruel this recession has been and how none of us can arrogantly think we're better off than our down-and-out neighbor or friend or family member or former co-worker.

Full article at the Washington Post

Michelle Singletary is one of my favorite finaincial columnists. She puts a human face to many of the issues that we all face as the country (and the world) struggles with the economic recession. Over the next nine months, Singletary will chronicle the story of Rose and the Wilsons in the Washington Post as they struggle to find secure employment and a more secure financial footing.

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