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Returning to Work, and Picking Up the Pieces

Mar 01, 2014
One of the ugliest features of the Great Recession and its dreary aftermath has been the high rate of long-term unemployment, which the Labor Department defines as being jobless for 27 weeks or longer. In 2010, the number peaked at 45% of the unemployed, adjusted for seasonal factors, far higher than at any point since the Great Depression. In January it was 36%.

It isn't just young people who've been sidelined. Some 37% of 35- to 44-year-olds, and 41% of 45- to 54-year-olds — about 1.4 million people altogether (seasonally unadjusted) — were long-termers as of January.

Today, the economy is improving and the jobless rate is falling, to 6.6% in January from 7.9% a year earlier. But that leaves lots of newly employed Americans picking up the pieces of their financial lives thrown off the rails by the recession.

If you're starting over at 30, you have plenty of time to recover. But what if you're 50? You don't have as much time to make up for lost earnings and forfeited retirement contributions. But there are steps you can take to get your retirement plans, and your finances in general, back on track.

Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, a [CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP Board Ambassador] in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., says to start by building an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses in a money-market fund. "Defer discretionary spending until this fund is in place," she says. Read more >
The Wall Street Journal
By Veronica Dagher
March 1, 2014
Speaker's Bureau
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