It’s Your Money Column – Recession is Over

It’s over! On March 7, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan announced that the U.S. recession had run its course. This signals new opportunities for workers who have been temporarily out of work.

Lifetime financial security for most people is based on the ability to generate income from a salary or as an entrepreneur; however, the world of work is changing. This means that the outlook, skills and strategies of workers must expand to stay relevant. For a number of years, experts in the area of workforce preparation have been telling employees that most jobs will be structured in a more varied, flexible and entrepreneurial fashion.

An article in the March 22 Wall Street Journal suggests that the future is here. The article said that the reason the economy has bounced back so quickly is due to a newly mobile and flexible job market. Companies are shifting salaried workers to hourly clerical jobs that pay different wages for each job assignment. Some train all of their workers to use all of the equipment. These strategies ensure a rapid response to a fluctuating market place.

Companies say that they plan to continue using job flexibility during times of economic prosperity. Reabsorbing and retraining employees works better for companies and their workers than laying people off in down times and rehiring as the economy picks up. Workers sometimes earn less and sometimes more, but they retain their pensions, health care and other benefits.

So what can you do to be work-competitive and financially healthy in these changing times? The work skills that will be most highly valued are flexibility, a knack for identifying multiple solutions to problems, energy for completing tasks and the ability to think like a company owner. Take stock of your personal workforce skills and work with mentors, take classes and read professional publications to be competitive in the new world of work. Investing in your personal work skills is the best investment you can make for future financial security.

To stay financially strong in this new environment, stop using credit if it causes you to live beyond your means. Avoid financial catastrophe by finding the best value for health, homeowner, auto, disability and life insurance. Commit to living below your income and saving the difference so that you are prepared for any up-or-down change in income.