Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

How do I cope without a job?
I would like to know how to save when you don't have a job. I am fed up with people (who do have jobs) that say financial planning is the answer. Financial planning is for working individuals. What are those people who are living below the poverty level, homeless, don't have enough money for food, clothing, etc. supposed to do or how are they supposed to save for their future. You even have investors saying, ”Invest in real estate; the market is great.” If you don't have money for food, how are you going to buy a piece of investment property with no money down and no money to rehab it?

By the way, I was injured on the job working for the Postal Service. I was separated due to disability--a disability that occurred on the job. I was not allowed to access my disability retirement, workers compensation, etc. I have been denied all of my benefits to help me get back up on my feet. Because of the overwhelming legal problems and my health issues I am so depressed that I cannot even decide which direction I am supposed to be going half the time. I have children who have suffered immensely at my demise.

Please tell me how to earn money w/out a job, invest in my future w/out a job, meet my basic needs w/out a job, care for my health (emotionally and physically) w/out a job and plan for my future w/out a job.

It seems like it should be common sense that income is an inevitable prerequisite for savings. But given the nation's low-to-nonexistent savings rate and incredible addiction to debt, perhaps it's a fact that warrants elaboration.

Kris Freeberg:
expert info »
If you can't find a job, invent one. The best authority I've found on doing this is Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to Work you Love.

Even if you can find a job, you may want to invent a better one anyway, for the job you find may be toxic, and you may wind up making more of a dying than a living.

Chip Conley in his recent book Peak makes a distinction between a job, a career, and a calling, and he suggests that ultimately, a job isn't enough. True, when you're at survival level with no income, a job is a wonderful thing, a definite improvement. But there is life beyond a job. The next step up from a job is a career, and the step up from a career is a calling. To learn more, read the book.

The good news about economic downturns when jobs are scarce is that the opportunity exists to make a quantum leap from unemployment to a calling, skipping the job and career stages. To be eligible for this quantum leap, however, requires a positive attitude. I have found the cliché "Do what you love and the money will follow" is generally true, provided a market of willing and able buyers exists for what you love. Kind regards.
Shauna L. Roberts:
expert info »
Find out what resources are available to you through local non-profit organizations.

Find out if you can take classes to learn a trade that you could get a job that would not hinder your disability.
Rebecca Schreiber CFP®:
expert info »
Are you eligible for public benefits like SSI, SSDI or Medical Assistance? If you are unable to work you may be eligible to receive income, medical care and vocational programming. If you live near a local library try going to and learn about their programs. You can also go to a Social Security office to enroll.

You are correct that financial planning is not for people in survival mode. Financial planning assumes that you can survive the short term and "plan" ahead. It seems that you are not there right now but may be in the future. Once you are out of survival mode financial planning may give you the structure you need to move forward.

Beth Frazier:
expert info »
Your priority should be your physical and emotional health. Take care of your health, as you will not be able to work without it. As for a job, you should be focusing on finding any type of work, such as working in your local supermarket or the neighborhood cleaners. This is not the time to be choosy, as you need income to start coming in right away.

You can also start off by volunteering. It will take the focus off of your problems as you start to help someone else. You can ask a local company if you can volunteer a few days a week. Show up early with a smile and work harder than anyone else. Get the word out to everyone in the company that you are looking for work, and perhaps the first job that opens up will be yours. You can also try and make money over the Internet. There are thousands of opportunities, such as selling on eBay, that have been successful for many people. Be optimistic, as I am sure you will make it.
Martha Fortune O'Brien:
expert info »
First, you will need to set your mind on success. It sounds like you have suffered many setbacks, and the result may be deep doubt and skepticism about anything good ever coming your way. Before anyone can help you, you must first help yourself. Here's how:
1. Develop and Maintain a Positive Attitude
2. Believe in Yourself
3. Make Wise Choices
4. Develop Positive Habits
5. Set and Achieve Goals
6. Use Creative Imagination
7. Be Persistent
A person who is mentally prepared for success notices new possibilities where previously they may have only seen difficulty. Having your mind geared for success allows you to use positive energy and creative imagination to make each opportunity count for the maximum benefit possible. Reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale will expand your understanding of how powerful your thoughts are in creating your personal reality.
Editor's Note:
Vocational rehabilitation services are available for persons who are unable to prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment due to a mental or physical disability, but wish to pursue meaningful careers. VR assists such individuals secure employment corresponding with their abilities, through local job searches and awareness of self-employment and telecommuting opportunities. Services vary by state but may include: vocational evaluation, medical assistance, psychological and psychiatric intervention, counseling and guidance, personal and work adjustment, job training and placement, interpreter and reader services, transition services for students with disabilities, rehabilitation technology services and devices, and supported employment.
In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be authorized to work in the US, you must have a disability that prevents you from holding a job (full-time or part-time), and you must be under-employed (working for very low wages), unemployed or about to become unemployed.
You can find a list of State liaisons for the vocational rehabilitation program at