Here are my five ideas for how people might deal with the current financial situation:

1. Do not lose faith. Do not lose faith in yourself and do not start to doubt yourself. Our nation's economies have always been cyclical and this cycle will turn. If you are engaged in a job search, keep searching. If you are worried about your job, put those worries to the back of your mind and focus on doing the best job you can do.

Our nation's economies have always been cyclical and this cycle will turn 2. Shift to saving. One of the long-term ailments of the US economy is our very low national savings rate. We have relied on repayment of debt to recycle funds into the market. As we learn from the story of Joseph and the dreams of Pharaoh, in times of shortage it is important to have a surplus to fall back on.

3. To the extent you can, pay off debt to protect your credit standing, but by all means, do it strategically. Pay off high interest debt like credit cards. Many people think it is best to accelerate mortgage payments, but it makes no sense to speed up paying off low-interest, tax-deductible debt if you have any other kind of debt.

4. Use the current situation as an opportunity to sharpen skills or to explore new areas. Think in terms of professional education to either advance to a higher skill level against a positive shift in the cycle. Alternatively, consider this recess as an opportunity to prepare for a change, perhaps to another talent you have. Do not stay idle. Look for opportunities to volunteer your services. So many non-profit institutions face budget cuts, that your time and energy might help them overcome their challenges.

5. Review your budget, but do it judicially. There are always some way to reduce spending on what I call marginal areas—subscriptions for magazines that you often put aside without reading, extra channels on your cable structure that you do not access that often, web sites that you may have subscribed to and do not visit. Re-examine everything you have on perpetual billing. However, do not forget your obligations to charitable causes—this is not a time to damage the institutions you care about by reducing your support. There is always someone who is not as well off as you are.