Job markets are bleak Unemployment on the rise Layoffs, downsizing and terminations are commonplace Hordes of wide eyed college grads wondering how they were duped into thinking that degree = job Gas, food, electric prices rising Medical costs rising Out of control debt Many folks have lost nearly everything, including their homes The Slow Burn cranks up a notch (or 2) As many of you know, prior to 2008, I made my living in construction and real estate development. From ~2000 to late 2007, my wife and I bought land, built vacation homes, placed them on overnight rental programs and then sold them. We had 10 homes under construction at one time during the peak of the log cabin rush in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. In late 2006, we saw the beginnings of the cracks in the economic structure (with a lot of help from my daily consultations with @Bear ) and began to downsize. In 2007, we built only one home while most of my Contractor/builder colleagues were still plunging blindly ahead. Most of them went broke and lost everything they had by late 2008. The continued economic stress in that area has taken it's toll over the past 4 years and has actually claimed the lives of 3 of the top Real Estate Brokers from stress. One whom my wife used to work for, one whom my wife used to work with and the last a good friend of my brother (also a General Contractor). We managed to get out after living on savings for 7+ months without income. We also managed to sell our home and acreage at a profit (which may have been the last profitable sale in the Region as the home is on the market again at ~35% less than we sold for). I have to thank @Quigley_Sharps for this as he was persistent in his ideas for my new career. @phishi and @Clyde also had positive feedback that ultimately helped us make a decision to recreate ourselves 2600 miles and 3 timezones away from friends and family. Our @Moderators were also wonderfully supportive of my plight. I know he doesn't want this mentioned but Bear also helped me with a small bridge loan at the very end which was critical to our seamless transition and move. I have had 8 addresses over the past 4.5 years if I count hotel stays of greater than 30 days. I've worked for 2 companies and switched from self employment to the corporate world. Today, I'm as happy as I've ever been. My income equalized with where it was in my old business and the position I've secured is about as secure as it gets. Not boasting, just illustrating that it can be done. I know that things are tough for many of our members right now. I want to encourage any of you who are feeling the screws tighten to seriously consider your needs and if your current locale can support those needs. I did not want to move so far for a new career but I think that I'd still be in trouble if I stayed in my old AO. Remember the rule of 3s. Remember what's important and don't listen to the TV for advice on happiness. Don't even listen to most of your friends, neighbors and family. It's not really their fault as most are just following the programming for how they are supposed to think and what they're supposed to believe. Don't trust investment advice from anyone who is selling you something. Consider your skills and assets. Look around you and see if you can continue to survive in your area. Moving from that family home you've been in all your life is tough but now is the time to make some tough decisions. I see the look on peoples faces while checking out at the grocery store. I see the stress on people with obvious fixed incomes when they see the price for their meager bag of food. I watch families leave the gas pump after pumping $10 worth of gas. I see children who are quite likely hungry and watch their stressed out parents scowl and yell at them with agitation. Everyone want to know when the S will HTF. I contend that it began in 2006 and I believe that things are going to get much worse before they get better. I don't want any of our Monkeys to continue to believe that recovery is right around the corner and face the ill and often fatal effects of stress. Now is the time for action and those who continue to wait could be left behind. I'm not sure what prompted all of this but I had some dreams last night and much of this has been bouncing around in my head all morning. Survivors look ahead at the big picture. Survivors make decisions before they are necessary. Survivors aren't afraid to go against the grain to better themselves. Good Survivors plan to survive and thrive. Stay safe and God Bless.