Hard times come again: how are you dealing with them?

Hard times come again: how are you dealing with them?-attachment0

If you’re feeling the hit of the hard economic situation, Xpress wants to hear from you.

While the pace of economic decline has slowed, Asheville (along with the state and nation) still faces some pretty hard times, and — past all the statistics and talk of trends — there’s the lives of countless individuals trying to make ends meet.

Asheville’s cost of living remains one of the highest in the state, and demand — from both public agencies and private nonprofits for assistance on the basic necessities — is at a record high.

This post is an invitation, Ashevilleans, for you to share you stories of how the recession has struck you, your friends and loved ones. What’s happened? How are you adapting? What do you see in the future? What aspects of the situation aren’t getting reported on?

Feel free to share your thoughts below, or e-mail them directly to dforbes [at] mountainx.com.

— David Forbes, staff writer

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20 thoughts on “Hard times come again: how are you dealing with them?

  1. Donna McMinn

    I am living on one salary, have meical issues and although I have medical insurace my co pays for doctors visits, medication average about 300.00 out of my pocket. That is 24.00 less than I clear in one week. My rent is behind, I can’t buy groceries, I have no money for anything extra and no savings to fall back on. I need to find a second job and have been looking since October of 2009 and still have not found one. The high cost of food, gas, heating oil has broken my sprit. I used to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel but all I see now is blackness. My one thing that I am most thankful for is my job. It took me 5 years to find the job, I worked at temp agencies off and on for those five years while looking for a job. I am thankful to the company that hired me. I also fear for my children that the future will be even more expensive and that they will not be able to cope with the high cost of living and raising their families.

  2. Frank Florianz

    I moved here in Oct 1996 from upstate NY, and liked the area for its better climate, new age influence and mountains. I bought a home here in June 1998, for just over 60K, then expanded it to triple the size, for quite an investment.
    Paid the house off within 3 years and got married 2 years later. Since then we have done fairly well with a self-employed subcontracting inventory business, but in the past year 80% of our business has dried up, and we can’t find new clients. My wife lost all her work a month ago. We have never been able to get affordable health insurance since my wife has asthma & bipolar disorder. We have been getting ready to sell our home and due to the market we may only get half of what it’s worth, and with our credit card debts, we are now only able to get a cash loan of under $70000 to get a new home elsewhere while this one sells. The only choice we seem to have is in NE Pennsylvania where we could find a few for around 60K. We may find some success there, but it seems all the time here did not really help much and was quite a disappointment.

  3. Piffy!

    [b]We have been getting ready to sell our home and due to the market we may only get half of what it’s worth,[/b]

    Whatever you get for it is ‘what its worth”. What you mean to say is, what you feel it’s worth, or perhaps, what you put into it.

    [b]and with our credit card debts, we are now only able to get a cash loan of under $70000 to get a new home elsewhere while this one sells. The only choice we seem to have is in NE Pennsylvania where we could find a few for around 60K. We may find some success there, but it seems all the time here did not really help much and was quite a disappointment. [/b]

    Gosh, only able to get a cash loan of 70,000. Hard times, indeed.

    Tell you what, you could buy a house in Spartanburg SC (or just about any small town around here) for a fraction of that, and it’s a lot warmer than Penn.

    Good luck!

  4. Thomas Todd

    In the late 1990′s the New York Times wrote that Y2K would NOT be computer gliches but more likely to be a scenario where our collective national wealth would be squandered by:

    *blowing our wealth on wars and other useless forays overseas
    *ongoing corporate scandals due to deregulation
    *exporting all our jobs to countries now making useless plastic garbage for re-import
    *getting walloped by terrorist attacks and natural disasters repeatedly
    *deepening our debts to other nations to fund wars and
    *then having no money then for our own people…

    …pretty much everything Cheney & Bush did from Day One to land us in the situation we’re in. This very day we heard we’re being attacked by “American Patriots” from the inside, trying to bring on Armageddon…as if these attackers are somehow better than the Islamic terrorists they claim to hate. Pretty dark times in America.

    Still – I had the BEST year of my business, ever, tripling my income in 2009 because I learned we were having a daughter and I whipped it into overdrive, held a vision and made it happen IN THE FACE of naysayers. I expect to do as well or better in 2010 – and I’m into natural resource conservation…not your ‘boomer’ industry.

    The power of a new life depending on you will make you do things you can’t imagine…and I also bumped up from four weeks to 8 weeks vacation time while doubling my 2008 to 2009 income. Thats not bad…free time to me is more important than work though my work happens to be roaming around east coast forests & wetlands.

    The point is: 1) develop and hold a vision of your ‘dream-job’ and ‘dream-life’ in your mind; 2) exert the willpower to manifest that vision; 3) manifest your vision – physically take the steps to see it through and make it exist.

  5. Greetings, No doubt these times are tough indeed. I decided to start a business a couple years ago and have not regretted the endeavor since the start. I am learning to survive during a great depression and having heaps of fun doing so! I contribute our success to being able to do the work we are passionate about in a beautiful part of the world. Heirloom Timber Framing has been operating for 2 years now in Brasstown, North Carolina and looks forward to having fun for many more!

  6. Aaron Brown.

    This is the wake-up call for local-currency,so far our leader in city state and beyond is well on a global way a thinking,like having a house and saying to yourself i really need to clean that room,but i don’t have the time.
    And this is the effect of a deformed system.

  7. Marlie

    You’d asked, in your invitation to this blog, about the things ‘not being said.’ One of the unspokens is the reality of underemployment. Even if one is fortunate to find work, many people are striving to make ends meet and have likely given up the ideal of the work they feel they were ‘meant to do.’

    At one time, Western North Carolina thrived with opportunities for a work force of skilled laborers, technicians, and individuals with varied formal educational experiences, as well as a wealth of life experiences.

    When I moved to WNC in 2005, I was shocked to learn of the textile mills closings — often without notice. These jobs provided livelihoods in the old-fashioned sense of the word — not just a paycheck but a way of using one’s skills and talents.

    I believe that all work is meaningful; but I also believe that individuals are often better suited to some forms of work rather than others.

    Both unemployment and underemployment can lead to depression and high levels of stress.

    I am not a Marxist, but I believe that Marx was right when he theorized that people need to have work that they can call their own.

    There seem, to me, to be two options, which are not mutually exclusive: as Mr. Todd writes, hold on to your dream of the work you wish to do and the life you wish to make and then persevere; the second is to connect with other Americans and begin to force our elected representatives to bring work back in to the U.S.

    Sometimes ‘creating’ isn’t just about making or bringing about something new — it’s also about reclaiming and renewing. I think that the solution to our high unemployment and underemployment rates will take not only the creation of ‘new jobs’ (as we are half-heartedly promised) but also the re-invention of our traditional sources of meaningful work for many Americans.

  8. My husband was laid off from his job in the magazine publishing industry in NYC last January – as dozens of magazines shut down. We worked hard and were lucky to sell our house in NJ and very fortunate that we were able to follow our dreams and find a new home we could afford in Asheville. This community is beautiful and vibrant and we are glad to be a part of it, especially to be able to support local businesses here. My husband found a job in a field he enjoys and we are thankful for it, although the pay is far lower than we were used to, and below what is considered a “living wage” in this area. I agree that local currency and the efforts of all of us to pursue our dreams of meaningful work will help. To that end, if anyone is in need of my services as a professional organizer, photo archivist and family historian, please let me know. The way I am dealing with these hard times is to work hard and take every opportunity to keep work coming!

  9. A.B.

    I have been in Asheville only since 2006, and I know it is harder now than it was then. Yet, I have never perceived it as “easy”to earn a living wage here.

    Cost of living is higher than in other cities, yet wages remain MUCH lower, even for professional jobs (one easy way to verify this is the salary tracker on Monster.com, there are surely other sources too). We really do sacrifice certain comforts we may have in other places in order to live here. That has been said before, but it is true.

    I currently work three part-time jobs. My record shortly after I moved here was six. What I lack in material goods and financial security is more than made up for in the community of amazing people I have found. Hopefully that is enough to sustain us here for awhile longer.

  10. Piffy!

    [b]I am sorry for your woes folks. Apparently pff feels the need to make light of your troubles. [/b]

    My most sincere apologies for not having sympathy for someone who was unable to make a killing by moving somewhere, flipping their house, and then moving on. This is most certainly comparable to people standing in bread lines for hours, or living in tent cities.

  11. Aaron Brown.

    Dear,Fellow-Citizens
    If someone win a election are get re-elected, is it not common to hear that “They are going to Clean House”.”For The Love Of Capitalism”,the demand of Human-Labor has been reduce,to the point of,living in your car,camping out,eating outdated food,and more.You have to take care of home first,and that is not taking place,Fellow Citizen,to much In-House Fighting,which leads to the area of that House that need a Spring Cleaning overlooked and under-served.

  12. A.B. and S. Mitchell,

    Thank you for looking for strength in our community and recognizing the systemic causes of the hardships we’re all facing now. Blaming ourselves and judging each other only creates divisions when what we need most is to organize and rebuild our local economy. What will it take to meet our basic needs again and become productive members of a sustainable economy? Living wages, local currency, small business, universal health care, what else? How can we get there? Let’s keep talking about strategies and solutions.

  13. dpewen

    pff … you have a reading comprehension problem.
    They are not flipping their home, they are trying to get rid of it. They cannot make a living here … get it? Who is standing in bread lines … you?

  14. dpewen

    Aaron said “Dear,Fellow-Citizens
    If someone win a election are get re-elected, is it not common to hear that “They are going to Clean House”.“For The Love Of Capitalism”,the demand of Human-Labor has been reduce,to the point of,living in your car,camping out,eating outdated food,and more.You have to take care of home first,and that is not taking place,Fellow Citizen,to much In-House Fighting,which leads to the area of that House that need a Spring Cleaning overlooked and under-served.”

    Huh?????

  15. I never heat my home more than necessary to keep the pipes from freezing, so if the low is 32F, the heat stays off. I drive into town less and keep shopping lists to consever trips, and eat mostly the free bread from the shelters. All while cutting the price on my farm so I can move to Nevada because WNC is nowhere near as progressive as it’s reputed to be. It’s still the south and still contains no intelligent life. The only silver lining is that homes in Nevada are down even more than homes here, though perhaps not more than the exurban farmland I need to sell in order to bid censorious Asheville good riddance.

  16. Worker

    When my wife & I moved here in fall 2006, there were tons of jobs. We immediately found work, a home, a great core of friends and community. Everything about Asheville was perfect, except for the awkward panhandler issues downtown. We were nearly mugged on more than one occasion. I do know of people who are very capable of working but do nothing but mooch off unemployment and pretend to look for work, which makes us sad because we work really hard to take care of our own. We know of plenty of places that are hiring, mostly in the hospitality field. Easy if your a college student, tough to do if you have to support a family. Truthfully, if you really want to succeed you’ll do everything you can to get hired. A nice haircut and a suit certainly help, but lord forbid anyone try to look respectable amongst the tragically hip of Asheville.

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