Catholic Digest's Economic Survival Guide: Tips for Coping with Stressful Economic Times; Recession Survival Tactics

New London, CT, June 24, 2009 --( Turn on any television news program and you'll see the dozens of stories about economic crisis, downsizing, looming personal debt, and an epidemic of foreclosures that have become standard features. Not surprisingly, anxiety is at an all-time high.

According to studies, about 20 percent of the population will suffer anxiety that is troubling enough to require professional help. In the present economic climate, worry has quickly become the national pastime.

But while some degree of stress is normal when you're facing the prospect of job loss or financial insecurity, it doesn't have to take over your life. Catholic Digest enlisted the help of Gregory K. Popcak, Ph.D., and Chuck Maher, CFP to help readers navigate the troubled financial waters.

Popcak advises breaking down big problems into smaller, more manageable pieces, citing a couple named Eric and Gina as an example. "They had never been very good at financial planning, and each month they ended up putting little extras on their credit card," said Popcak, an author and executive director of the Pastoral Solutions Insitute. "Over time, these 'extras' added up to over $10,000 in credit card debt."

Completely overwhelmed by the large numbers, Eric and Gina argued constantly before eventually seeking help from a debt counselor, who helped them break down the debts into manageable segments. "They decided on a budget, canceled credit cards, and, with the help of the credit counselor, began negotiating a payment schedule with their largest creditors," said Popcak. "They have some work to do, but they have a plan that is letting them sleep nights while they pursue a final resolution.

"When facing an actual or potential crisis, one of greatest contributors to a sense of powerlessness and anxiety is the feeling that one must find the answer to the big problem right now," Popcak said. "Often this isn't possible, but that doesn't mean you're powerless. For instance, you might not be able to do anything about the big problem of getting someone to hire you, but you can do something about the smaller, related problems of, for instance, a) needing an up-to-date resumé; b) searching classifieds and Web sites for possible openings; c) putting out feelers among friends, relations, and colleagues who might be aware of new opportunities; d) beginning to review your budget; e) praying. Any one of these activities alone will not solve "the big problem" but they will help you take the small steps that are necessary to retain your sanity and move you toward the ultimate answers you are seeking."

Maher, a certified financial planner, tackled some of the most common questions he's been asked since the economic downturn began, including questions about investing during the current economic downturn.

"In markets like this, the urge is to sell everything and move to cash. Yet that is probably the worst thing you can do. Not only do you end up selling near the bottom, you have eliminated any possibility of taking advantage of the recovery when it comes," said Maher. "A better approach is to maintain, through all markets, a well-diversified portfolio - allocating your investment dollars between cash, bonds, stocks, and alternatives assets like gold or commodities. The amount you invest in each should be determined by your attitude toward risk, timeline, and the returns needed to achieve your goals."

Both men stress the importance of using faith and optimism to make good decisions and kick financial anxiety to the curb. "Historically, every time our country has faced adversity, we have not only survived, we have thrived," Maher said. "Our future is, in fact, bright."

Catholic Digest is America's most popular Catholic magazine. Since 1936, Catholic Digest has used the stories of real people to demonstrate that a life guided by faith can be exciting, challenging, enlivening, and joyous. Catholic Digest is owned by Bayard, an international publisher with more than 100 periodicals in Europe, Africa, Asia, and America.

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For more information, contact Dan Connors at 800-321-0411 ext. 121 or via email at

Catholic Digest
Amy Wiseman
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