“Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.” – Ursula K. Le Guin (Dancing at the Edge of the World, 1989)
Almost every business I know is struggling. Most are in decline. Retail stores are closing in record number. Bankruptcies are up. Banks are being forced to refinance loans. For the first time in years, smart and capable people are out of jobs. I know half a dozen people personally — people I’d hire myself if I had the work — who have been pounding the pavement for months without results.
There’s no benefit in denying the obvious: The economy is in recession. How long it will last and how hard it will hit us are the important questions. I can’t pretend to know the answers, but it seems prudent to prepare for the worst.
What if the tax cut doesn’t work? What if things don’t get better? What if — as some credible experts have said — this lasts another five to seven years? Can you survive that? Can your business?
Here’s what you should expect:
1. People will lose their jobs.
2. Some of them will not find work.
3. Those that do will make considerably less than they do now.
4. Entry-level salaries will decline drastically.
5. Businesses will shrink or fail.
What should you do about it?
1. If you’re an employee, make yourself indispensable to your boss.
2. Quietly create a second, side income.
3. Learn to live more frugally.
4. Refrain from any big, new investments.
Not happy advice, I know. But think about it.
[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]