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How to thrive in the 2012 economy

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Thriving? Yes, you read it right. Despite the depressing statistics regarding New Mexico, unemployment, and the lack of a dollar's value, you can do better than before with a few tips ingrained into your daily routine. But, be realistic—we do have some sobering realities to absorb first.

Nationally, over 14 million rely upon unemployment. Those nearing retirement watch their savings continue to plummet by practically 31%; meanwhile the American banking system is levying mass stress with patrons leaving in droves for alternative options. On your home-front, New Mexico Business Weekly culled a variety of sobering statistics, including the following:

New Mexico has lost 16,100 professional and business service jobs from Sept. 2007 to Sept. 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics...The percentage change of almost 15 percent drops the state to No. 50 in the numbers. (Arizona is at No. 51 in percentage drop).” Those industries hit the hardest include specialized soft-skill disciplines such as accounting, law, human resources development, and scientific research. And now, with the ubiquity of Bachelors' degrees, university accreditation in the Arts and Sciences is just too common.

While no magic formula exists to insulate the working professional from difficult financial periods, we can take steps to ensure better times ahead. Yes, they are common-sense, but in fiscal crisis, many give way to panic in lieu of rational reasoning and calm. If there were ever a time to remain level-minded and proactive, well, this is it.

1. Heighten Job Performance: In a recession, keeping your job should be a main priority. While job protection is not promised, it can certainly be heightened by working extra hours and consistently improving your skill set, much like any Doctor or Pharmacists renews his continuing education credits to keep licenses active. Remaining employed during a recession obviously keeps you ahead of financial crisis, and lowers dependance upon alternative or additional resources.

2. Prepare For Layoffs: While we many work our fingers to the bone, statistical layoffs are inevitable and may have you in their trigger-hairs. Even part-time and contractual workers must no believe they are cheaper labor, thus untouchable, so everyone should prepare. Therefore, update your resume to include most recent tasks and obtained professional knowledge, awards, and other relevant credentials. Scout amongst your social networks those friends and colleagues you might contact regarding ready positions. Update cover letter templates so as to be information-specific and ready to edit for target specificity. Lastly, sharpen your professional skill set by subscribing to business-focused sites and blogs. Many, like the Albuquerque Business-News Examiner treat a variety of specialty soft-skills needed, hard sought-after, and expected in today's marketplace.

3. Pay in Cash: Take a good look at your savings, and your wallet. The best rule of thumb I've ever acquired is to always pay with the preferred currency, money. If I don't have the ready funds to pull or with which to purchase, I never buy. The result of adopting this philosophy early-on in one's fiscal responsibility equates to owning a car, and yes, sometimes even a reasonable home outright. While this may have been seen as a risky gamble prior to the economic crash, now such assets are nothing but a boon as bills are considerably lower and far more manageable minus the additional monthly payments.

4. Refinance Credit Cards: Naturally, most Americans have lived on credit, so snipping the cards in half and renegotiating on cash only is not an option at the moment. Therefore, whenever possible, make certain to move your outstanding balances over to a 0% APR balance transfer card, keeping in mind the following: a) typically balance transfer cards extend a limited zero APR offer that expires as its consumer lure. Keep your eye on this window and b) use your card for deferred payments only. For other purchases, refer to rule #3 only. Otherwise, you 'll find yourself slumping into old bad habits, with a large, looming balance and high interest rates.

5. Keep Saving: Even if you've switched to a ready cash only system, cash has a nifty way of burning a hole through one's pocket. And if spouses aren't opening communicating or tracking their free spending, it'll go twice as fast with few traces. That stated, an excellent rule of thumb if you can swing it is this: for every penny spent, put an equal amount in savings (in other words, divvy your paycheck in half between checking and savings the moment it clears). Not possible? Fine: for every two cents, save one, or for every three. See what reasonable ratio you can achieve. It's far easier to do should you combine and liquify unnecessary assets like additional cars and everyday garage-sale items. Flip that idea and buy used rather than new. Grab all store-label food items and generic brands. Go to BuySuzy.com and download a few coupons. Some old-school common-sense goes a long way in making those pennies last.

6. Make More Money: Second jobs can be a time-expensive, mind-numbing experience, unless you love the job. Consider both your hobbies and unique skill-set, then merge them and list the myriad services or products you can supply. Writers have led the market with the phenom of blogging, which now pays a good buck upon its own right if you learn the industry. Like sewing? Consider a home-line of clothing exclusively available through the internet, while fixing a free site to display and sell your wares. Crafty with computers? Create a home-based IT repair service particular to your neighborhood. People feel save buying from those they already know. Not feeling too artful? Provide a professional concierge service for home or office and simply perform the chores of others for a fee. There are scores of clever means to shape a decent second income and pay off debts or save a second dollar while enjoying the process. Work your that second income hard enough and it could well bypass or replace your first in times of layoff crisis.

As I've said, nothing provides the cure-all for the disease of economic free-fall. Hard times are upon us without a specific end-date, so in lieu of panic or despair, objectively assess the situation and dedicate yourself to a few reasonable means of stretching (and multiplying) your dollar. In the end, nothing is more rewarding than, not surviving fiscal instability, but proactively thriving in it.

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