Tips for hard times #1: Patience, Priorities, People

Speaking is 10% preparation and 90% listening to the audience – which is what I’ve been doing on tour. You’ve told me so much through your questions, and I’ll be blogging a lot this week to catch you all up. The meta question of course is “What do we do now… investing, saving, earning, spending, whatever?” What seemed stable – the growth economy – is still roiling, shedding jobs, toppling the Dow from over 14,000 to under 8,000. What’s a sane person to do? Some strategies are practical, some philosophical. Here are prescriptions for what to do that I wrote three months ago as the liquidity crisis hit.
1. Patience: as my mentor Joe Dominguez often pointed out, even with 25% unemployment in the Great Depression we had 75% employment, and even though some lost their shirts others made money. Don’t panic. Be patient. Stay put for a while in your job (making yourself even more indispensible) and in your investments (if you are diversified some will go up) and you’ll weather this wild ride.
2. Priorities: notice your non-material wealth and protect it during hard times. Increase gratitude for small things (that’s a keeper attitude even in exuberant times). Take care of your body, especially since you might be short of money for doctors. Take care of your mind – read, learn new skills – and you’ll be prepared for better work later. Have fun – in hard times, people dance more, go to more movies, have parties.
3. People: There are reportedly over 100 non-monetary exchange systems in the US right now (people trading without money) and during the depression there were over 1000. When the Soviet Union collapsed, barter networks called veksels accounted for 25% of the economy. Hard times are when we turn to one another. In community we trust.

More ideas in the next post. What are you doing to take care of your mind, heart and soul?


  1. Yes, it’s difficult to experience and see on a large scale so much
    falling apart, but what you and Joe are so right on about is looking
    at the bigger picture, being grateful, pulling together with others, and staying optimistic. Fear and panic lead to a downward
    spiral–look at Wall St–it’s the picture of fear and over reactivity.

  2. For a guide on common sense investment advice, read anything written by Warren Buffet. He has always invested in stocks in markets like these. Buffet makes his perch from middle america in Omaha, NE not wall street. His letter to his shareholders (which is widely read and will be all over the internet) is due out today February 28th.

    Tim Bedient

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