One thing is fairly clear on the financial front these days - the worst is not yet over. I've known this for a while, but now even CEOs and the most optimistic of journalists are agreeing: more bad news is yet to come.
Why? Even though there's movement in Congress, nothing yet has been truly done to slow the arterial bleeding caused by the foreclosure mess. Layoffs are increasing. Many people are overleveraged on their credit cards and car payments - never a good thing in a rapidly slowing economy. And all of it is becoming not just a series of waves, but turning into a tsunami of epic proportions.
The reality is, there's not much most of us can do about keeping our jobs except to work really hard, volunteer for things, and, quite frankly, pray if you are so inclined.
But in the meantime, prepare. Stop unnecessary spending. Save. Save some more. Cook in. Invest in things that will save you money.
Will we all ride this market out unscathed? I doubt it. But since I can't control the future, I'm putting my energy into the things I can control. How hard I work. Saving. Spending time with friends and family. Cooking in.
The current economy is a scary place. Anyone who thinks we're just going to get over it quickly and move on with our lives is probably delusional. Things have changed. Maybe ultimately for the better - but it's going to hurt while we're on the way to this new place we're going.
Hang in there.