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The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey.

By on August 10, 2009
The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey.

I’m finally sitting back at my desk, at home, after my week long tour of the Northeast U.S., talking to people about the economy, money, credit, and debt. My travels took me from NC through VA, WV, PA, NY, VT, NH, MA, CT, MD.

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I traveled through some of the hardest hit counties in the Mid-Atlantic from these difficult economic times and one message rung true in each corner of this part of the country.

If you go back and listen to my interviews I recorded during the trip you will hear one overwhelming message thread through the advice given by people from all different walks and stations of life.

The advice is so simple and if I had followed it when I lived through my money problems and bankruptcy it would have greatly helped me to recover from those difficult days. The secret, and the message is hope. Hope of brighter days and hope that things will improve is the secret that helped many to find the strength to make across the dark and desperate times.

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Almost as if a sign from a higher power, as I was sitting in the passenger seat, headed down the highway on the final legs and contemplating what I had learned from this trip, the truck above passed me by with the message you see on it’s back window. The exact message of hope that many had shared with me, “Things are getting better…just hang in there.”

Now this magic and free hope is not a wish that your life as you know it will be unaffected by your money troubles. It is instead an acceptance of your current reality and then an enthusiastic embrace that while tomorrow may be difficult, the days that follow will be better and take you one step closer to a better life.

Everyone I talked to has lived through painful times in their life and yet their advice for you was that hope carried them through. Hope provides energy to make it through today and tomorrow and it positively encourages you to power yourself forward to the better times that will come.

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The loudest second bit of advice to share was not to suffer in silence. That it is important to reach out to friends and family and to lean on them for emotional support. The time honored tradition of community provides a scaffolding to prop you up when you are struggling. This community isn’t going to bail you out or make the problems disappear. But a community can help you buoy hope and carry you over the tough times and to shore where you can gain your footing.

What was also encouraging was that the two most powerful emotional and supporting messages of hope and community and both tools that are totally free and available to you this very instant. You don’t need to buy anything to start applying hope to your situation right now.

But I will admit, it is enormously difficult to flip a switch from feeling hopeless to hopeful. Not everyone can do that in an instant. But if you can remember to hope it can become second nature.

Hope is the knowledge that while today might really suck, better days are ahead. With hope you can live through your darkest days with some excitement because you will know that as bad as today is, a day is coming for you when life will be the exact opposite.

Evoking hope does not have to be a complicated process. It is activated when you can look at your current situation and know that things will get better, you just need to hang in there.

So the message of hope is one that I will try to weave into my help and support that I give to people. And it is a message that I will try to fiercely hang on to the next time I face a hurdle in my life.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

6 Comments

  1. Nanci Posey

    February 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    After stressing for months I finally got rid of large debts due to a motorhome purchase that we couldn’t sell and couldn’t afford to use. I did a debt settlement of 53000 debt for about 20000 with about 9000 in fees. I no longer have the $700 monthly payments and I think we’ll be able to live on our drasticly reduced income. but my credit score is very low and I can’t refinance my car. The interest rate is nearly 10 % and the payment is 390. If I could just get this payment down I would be ok. What’s the best way to do this? I pay my bills on time every month, but the settlement keeps my score low.

  2. Nanci Posey

    February 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

    After stressing for months I finally got rid of large debts due to a motorhome purchase that we couldn’t sell and couldn’t afford to use. I did a debt settlement of 53000 debt for about 20000 with about 9000 in fees. I no longer have the $700 monthly payments and I think we’ll be able to live on our drasticly reduced income. but my credit score is very low and I can’t refinance my car. The interest rate is nearly 10 % and the payment is 390. If I could just get this payment down I would be ok. What’s the best way to do this? I pay my bills on time every month, but the settlement keeps my score low.

  3. Diane

    May 5, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I’ve been reading your post for a while now and I understand what you are saying about hope. On the other hand, our families would never understand our debt. They have always looked down on people who get themselves in this situation. We have no one we can talk to so we keep it bottled up. I sit up at night and cry a lot. I feel so ashamed. I’ve been looking for work for over a year now. I can’t even get a minimum wage job. Prayer and taking long walks helps some. I appreciate your advice and will continue to have hope. Thanks Steve

    • Steve Rhode

      May 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm

      Diane,

      You are very welcome. Just remember, be appreciative for the situation now. It could always be worse.

      Steve

    • Bridget

      May 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      Diane,

      I truly know exactly how you feel. My boyfriend are possibly facing bankruptcy, we’ve made contact with a bankruptcy lawyer and are awaiting a meeting, and in the meantime are doing everything in our power to renegotiate with our creditors. We’re also working to reduce debt by selling the more expensive car, cutting back on everything, and planning a massive garage sale to make money.

      My family is thankfully extremely understanding about debt, but his family is not. They’ve never suffered like my family did, so they just stare in disbelief or make rude comments about excess. Sure, we ate out and tended to go a little overboard at the garden center, but we weren’t reckless. We struggle, granted, but we work to remember that their opinion does not matter, what matters is that you’re alive, you have each other, and life goes on. If they’re not sympathetic, reach out to others who are, or others who have been in a similar situation. Look for people who’ve come out on the other side okay, look to them as proof that you’ll make it.

      No matter what, the sun still shines, you still have air in your lungs and life will go on. Keep your chin up and keep working for a better day, because it will come.

      Bridget

  4. Jim

    October 6, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Steve , Thanks for getting back to me I read the article on the secret to surviving I could use the encouragement I will keep hopeing and looking for a better day . Jim .

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