Re: Worldwide economy discussion...
Sorry to here the recession has hit your family so hard.
We also live in Florida and as you well know it's worse here than most parts of the country. We too were living the good life, 1800sqft home on the 18th green of a four star golf course and a fifteen year mortgage, money in savings, retirement plans, good health insurance.
About three years ago I had the most important discussion of my life. It was a serious sit down with my girlfriend where I told her that things would need to change, "the economy is in very bad shape but nobody wants to believe it, our home value is insanely inflated, and our retirement plans are overexposed to this economy... which is a house-of-cards ready to collapse..." and so on. It was a while before we pulled the trigger on it but we took everything out of stocks and stuck it in bonds, a year later we sold the house and moved downtown near where we both work. The house sold to the first interested buyer for a good price... it had only been on the market for three days! We bought a 106 year old home that needs fixing up, which is where we're at now.
As they say, it's better to be lucky than good, and boy were we lucky!
I am also very fortunate in that I work for a good employer that as amazing as it sounds, laid off (terminated) the president of our plant, and retained as many hourly employees as possible (it still blows me away). We've been very busy for three months now and new accounts are returning... not as a result of the economy picking up so much, but because some of our bigger competitors have bitten the dust and we're getting their work.
Sometimes going with a gut feeling is all you can do.
And good luck to you, Werewoman, the economy will get better (it always does). I think you have the right perspective on things. Though you have a job I would encourage you to keep looking for a better job and work your way back up.