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Top Threats to Your Career and Finances in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

caution

We’ve all heard plenty of bad news recently, but the bad news now is that there is more bad news to come. While we must think about the opportunities in front of us, it’s also important to consider the threats to our careers and our finances so we can prepare appropriately.

Recession

Consumers, businesses, non-profits, and governments, all over the developed world, are learning a hard lesson about leverage. We will climb our way out of this recession but it will take some time. Before it’s through, it will be one of the, if not the most, severe recession since the Great Depression. 

Layoffs will continue. In most recessions, layoffs occur mostly at the bottom of the earnings / education spectrum. Expect this recession to be more evenly distributed, if not hitting higher end jobs harder.

Outsourcing

Companies will continue outsourcing, but here’s the difference. Manufacturing jobs have been getting shipped overseas for some time now. As fuel prices rose, there actually seemed to be a resurgence in companies bringing manufacturing jobs back on shore.

Now more white-collar jobs are at risk thanks in part to technology that allows information to be shared instantly from any place in the world with internet access. We found a great article that discusses the characteristics of jobs that can now be easily outsourced and jobs that can’t. It also lists what you can do to make yourself less vulnerable and provides a list of jobs by their level of risk to offshoring.

Deflation

Expect deflation to continue as everybody keeps a tight lid on spending, the credit markets remain relatively tight, and inventories of everything from housing to cars remain comparatively high. The good news is lower prices will remain, but …

Inflation

Governments in the developed countries have poured money into the world economy at unprecedented rates. At some point, once the credit markets loosen up and demand returns, inflation could become a problem.

We’ve just witnessed prices on everything from gas to groceries rising quickly. We could see it again. It will take wise leadership to know when to slam on the brakes on economic stimulus without tightening so much that another recession ensues.

If this happens, that cash stash will quickly lose its value. Investments in hard assets have typically performed well in times of inflation.

Delayed retirement

A number of retirees are being forced to look for work after the freefall of their portfolios. Even more people who planned to retire soon are putting those plans on hold because they need to bulk up their assets again before they stop working. This will create even more competition in already tight job markets.

Benefits

Employers are under intense pressure to cut costs. It’s reasonable to expect them to cut benefits. Even if it’s promised now, don’t count on having health insurance provided to you as a retiree. Even while you’re working, expect to cover a greater share of the premiums.

Also don’t be surprised if your employer cuts back or eliminates the matches on your 401(k). These aren’t the only benefits at risk, but they’re two of the most significant ones.

Access to credit

It won’t show up on your personal balance sheet, but your credit score will be an incredible asset. Cash will be king as long as prices remain in a deflationary state. At some point, cash along with the ability to access credit will open doors for opportunities that most of us will never see again in our lifetimes. 

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Two Proven Keys to Happiness

happyThere’s a rising call for developed countries to track happiness, rather than just income and wealth. Economists say that the goal of a “rational actor” is to maximize his or her “utility” – their fancy term for happiness – over the course of his or her life. Perhaps governments are trying to catch up with the economists!

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Leicester University in England has tracked happiness for the past 30 years. Consistently, Denmark – not Disneyland – has topped their list as the happiest place on earth.

We wondered why … why are the people in Denmark so darn happy?

Is it the weather?

Average temperatures in Copenhagen are about 68 degrees in the summer and around zero in the winter. We don’t know about you, but that’s not our idea of great weather!

Is it the taxes?

Like her sister Scandinavian countries, Denmark has some of the highest taxes in the world. Now, granted those taxes are matched with some of the highest benefits for any citizenry.

Is it their lifestyle or their habits?

Danes are some the heaviest drinkers and smokers in the world?

Is it their diet?

One of the staples of the Danish diet is herring – this is a country that eats a lot of herring!

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marylynnSo it can’t be the diet, because … maybe it’s just my personal taste, but ick!

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georgeNow there a lot of theories about what makes the Danes so happy. One of my theories is that they drink so much, they don’t remember whether they’re happy or not!

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Seriously, theories are fine, but we thought we should look at what the research shows is driving this happiness.

Professor Kaare Christensen at the University of Southern Denmark found that Danes have low expectations. Because of this culture of expecting less, the people are happy when good things happen.

This made us think of something Tony Robbins said – if you’re not happy, you have a choice. You can either change your conditions or your expectations. But what if you don’t want to change your expectations?

Tal Ben-Shahar, who teaches the most popular class at Harvard University, found that the single most significant predictor of happiness is close relationships with friends and family. We found it interesting that 92 percent of Danes belong to some sort of social club.

Maybe that’s why social media has become so bigg! What do you think?

Sources

University of Leicester Produces the first ever World Map of Happiness

Why Danes are smug: comparative study of life satisfaction in the European Union

Denmark: The Happiest Place on Earth

Denmark ‘happiest place on earth’

The REAL Happiest Place on Earth

And The Happiest Place On Earth Is…

(Image by nookiez)