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I wrote about this on the blog (available here) but a few months have passed and much water has flown under the bridge, so it is time to reprise the topic again. I'll kick off with my personal situation: overall, our family has been very lucky and I'm thankful that we've been okay so far. Still, there has been minor effects:

  • We've had two rounds of layoffs at my day job. It is devastating to the people laid off and it saps the spirit of the people still left. So, count this as a psychological wound. At least, investors seem to be happy with layoffs. Each time, there is a layoff, the stock pops!
  • No bonuses for the second year. No salary cuts so far but no increases either. This would pass off as good news considering a number of companies have cut pay.
  • We are having forced shutdowns though -- 5 weeks spread out through the year. I look at this as a blessing. On my own, I never seem to take the time to slow down but this way a decision is made for me. With a new baby and wife at home, it is a nice time to just stay home and spend time with the family. Money comes and goes. Time with our loved ones is precious.
What about you? How is the recession affecting you?
 

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This only reminds me that self-employment and having your own business is the way to go.
I wouldn't say that! It depends what kind of business you own; many small one-person or few-person businesses are extremely vulnerable in the recession. It depends on what services or products you're providing.

My girlfriend works for a small law firm that handles bankruptcies among other things (they also work for credit card collection agencies and have to seize property when people don't pay their bills), and unfortunately her business is booming.

My brother, on the other hand, works for a two-person software company that develops plug-ins for one of the animation programs used by Hollywood studios. They haven't gotten any orders in months; the owner is closing down the office to save the rental fees and my brother's going to have to work from home. Not a good sign.
 

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I responded to your original thread and nothing has changed since then - except that my investments have increased in value! We're still doing great. My company is extremely busy (and has had no layoffs) and I've even been headhunted for a couple of good opportunities recently. My husband's part-time bartending job is really slow - not too many office parties happening - but his day job is going well too. So far so good.
 

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This recession has (thankfully) been a non-event for my wife and I.

Of course, we both work in healthcare and people probably take more meds during economic downturns ;)

Then again, patients generally don't "pay" for their medication. A large majority of medication is paid for by our taxes in the form of ODB (Ontario Drug Benefit).
 

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Are there books to help with how to take advantage of a bad economic situation? I know anti-depression pills manufacturers, psychologists, fast-food restaurants do!
 

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I've been forced to take a small number of unpaid leave days during the year. This amounts to about a 1.5% pay cut to my base salary. Other than that, the recession hasn't really had much effect on me aside from reducing the value of my investments. My level of personal consumption is about the same as it was before the recession started. Of course, I don't know how things would have turned out if the recession hadn't happened.

I do know some people who are out of work. It's a tough environment for them. One of my co-workers got laid off, but the recession was more of an aggravating factor than the cause.
 

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In the past year, I've been unemployed for 25 weeks total. I work in construction. It's very slow.
 

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I've never been in a better financial position than I am right now. Never in my life have I saved money at the rate I am now. And this makes me nervous... I'm in construction, working for a family business - so as long as the company survives, my job is very secure. But contracts are becoming hard to come by these days.
 

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I earn exactly the same incomes as before, and even get a pay raise once a year. It must be great living at your parents with no rent or food to pay. Other than the inconvenience of being treated like a kid, it's all great. You lose your job? No big deal. Take a vacation of 2 months and find another one.
 

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I haven't found that the recession is affecting me personally (yet) - but definitely has been affecting people around me. Several very close friends laid off, others have been cut to 3 days / week of work, down from 5, etc.
 

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I didn't think it was affecting me at all , the buisness I am in still seems pretty good , I'm still keeping busy servicing clients from last year.

This year it seems the work is still out there , problem is I am losing jobs due to trying to keep my quotes reasonable and profitable.

Seems there are a lot of unemployed people out there willing to perform my sevices for a lot less.

I will just wait it out , I refuse to work at a loss just to attract buisness , I have put a lot away over the years just to handle situations like this downturn in the economy.
 

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No effect on my job as I am in healthcare as well.

I decided to finish my basement a year earlier than originally intended to help out a friend who is a contractor in construction and to take advantage of the home renovation tax credit.

I have held off on replacing my 1998 Camry which I had originally intended to do - decided to spend the money on the basement instead. It is a net plus to the local economy as most of the supplies/labour are Canadian for the basement while the Camry is built in the USA.
 

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I got my first job just before the recession started, so personally I'm in much better financial shape than I have ever been (Roughly doubling my net worth within a year.)

However, signs of recessions are still there. Like everywhere else, we are on a hiring freeze, and the management has asked us to take some pay cuts (which we refused - They have no authority to do this, btw.) Nobody has been laid off, and even contract workers had their contracts renewed. The sentiment among my colleagues is that our financial trouble is rather trivial (and the numbers we looked at seem to confirm this), and the management is trying to take advantage of the recession to blow it out of proportion. My job is very secure :)
 

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We are still fairly safe with our employment and we currently don't have any major investment portfolio (I prefer to pay down my mortgage and other debts first) but we definitely have cut back on a few items, most notably among them is eating out. I like to discover new restaurants in town, to sample different ethnic cuisine and also to support the local businesses but we only eat out maybe once a month now, if any.

I have also taken on a new hobby of gardening. We have some bare spots on our lawns and lots of weeds so in a way, I have to do it regardless but I have also found it a great way to relax and exercise after work, planting trees and perennials and tending to the garden in general. In years past, we did a few road trips in the summer but this year we will be going to a friend's cottage at the end of the month and a wedding in Belleville in July but that's about it.

Saving our coins for an European trip at the end of this year.
 

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My employer is in very tough times, but they are huge, and will survive. Lots of layoffs here. Not fun, but they were all professionals who made good money, none will starve.

I'm the only administrative person left in my division (I'm the accountant), and so now do everyone else's job. I'm actually enjoying the new work, it's interesting and keeps me busy. I received a large raise, and am even getting a bonus. They have to, they can't afford to lose me now.

Wife is an RN, so quite secure. We live off her part time income already, so even if I did lose my job, we'd survive.

In broader terms, the recession has meant lower mortgage interest costs for us, cheaper gasoline and natural gas, lower taxes (government stimulus), and cheaper prices on some products and services we use. Also, I borrowed heavily early in the year to buy stocks, and have been fortunate to see a nice return on that.

So the recession has been good news for me, personally, so far. This isn't much comfort to me, though, as I see devastation all around me. Family and friends who were already in bad shape are now in worse shape, and still have further to fall, potentially. We are trying to help them out as best we can.
 

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My employer has done OK in Canada thus far. We have hung on to some large contracts and are sharing the work amongst different offices. Even got a raise in January. However, we do rely on capital spending from private sector firms, and that has pretty well gone dry for the last 8 months. Some of our competitors are not doing well at all, and there are a lot of my peers on the street simply by virtue of being in the right place at the wrong time. It could just as easily be me pounding the pavement, and I am not so foolish as to imagine that it will not happen to me at some point in the next 30 years.

My wife is in the financial services industry. They have seen modest staff reductions, primarily through attrition. They are also looking for volunteers for job-sharing, reduced hours, leave without pay. No raise for her this year.

All in all, where I have always been financially conservative, I am now more conservative with respect to size of emergency fund and keeping expenses to a minimum. As we both work in the private sector, it's really not that hard to imagine a situation where both incomes could be lost.
 

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I'm in Oil & Gas and my partner is in the trades.

At my job I'm seeing:
- layoffs (very regularly unfortunately)
- pay cuts
- hiring freezes
- pay freezes
- contract terms are chaning, my contract used to be up for renewal on 6 month intervals its now up every 2.
- the office culture has also changed a lot, which is really unfortunate
- additional scruteny over everything
- benefits have been reduced/changed

Per my partner
- business is booming for them
- they can't find enough skilled quality people to hire
- lots of jobs lined up for the future (1-2 years in advance)
- things are business as usual given the summer pick up.

We're in two very different industries, so its light night and day between the two of us.
 

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Bullseye said:
Wife is an RN, so quite secure.
I hear this all the time, and I think it is in reference to the economy with healthcare being in stable demand in good and bad economic times. However, governments tend to cycle through different healthcare policies decade to decade, and sometimes there are severe healthcare cuts and wage cuts. That is the nature of being at the mercy of the government. Therefore, I wouldn't classify healthcare as "secure". The only thing secure is money in the bank (and even then, with the recent bank failures, one could make an argument about that ;)).

See this article foreshadowing things to come in Alberta for example:

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Health/Nurses+hard+cuts+health/1668601/story.html

An old family friend who is a retired RN told me of very difficult times in the early 80's, and again in the 90's when RN's (and other healthcare workers) were being fired, and wages were being cut. In general everyone is useful, but no one is indispensable.
 

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I hear this all the time, and I think it is in reference to the economy with healthcare being in stable demand in good and bad economic times. However, governments tend to cycle through different healthcare policies decade to decade, and sometimes there are severe healthcare cuts and wage cuts. That is the nature of being at the mercy of the government. Therefore, I wouldn't classify healthcare as "secure". The only thing secure is money in the bank (and even then, with the recent bank failures, one could make an argument about that ;)).

See this article foreshadowing things to come in Alberta for example:

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Health/Nurses+hard+cuts+health/1668601/story.html

An old family friend who is a retired RN told me of very difficult times in the early 80's, and again in the 90's when RN's (and other healthcare workers) were being fired, and wages were being cut. In general everyone is useful, but no one is indispensable.
No sure thing, of course, but nursing is about as secure as you can get these days. There is a global shortage of highly skilled nurses, a large percentage of older nurses nearing retirement, and an ageing population, this should provide job security for at least as long as it takes for young people to choose to enter the profession, train for it, and get skilled enough to replace the current experienced nurses.

That is still many years off, in my opinion. By then, we won't need to work anyways.
 
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