There is an emerging socio-economic class which I call Fifty and Broke (FAB). FABs are post- babyboomers, from a generation of divorce, serial relationships, corporate restructuring, multiple career changes, consumerism, and increased longevity. Many people suffer at least one crisis during their lives, such as relationship breakdown, redundancy, business failure, bankruptcy, mental health problems or a serious illness such as cancer. Such crises are a test of resilience. Those who are resilient soon bounce back; those who don’t fall behind or never really recover. FABs may have a low level of resilience or may have suffered multiple crises in their lives that would crush even the most resilient of people. They may also be people who have suffered a crisis late in life, leaving them little time or opportunity to recover. They are typically single or in a second relationship, have no savings, do not own a house (or have a big mortgage), have a low paying job or intermittent work, have health issues and are living from week to week.
FABs face a difficult situation. If depression and stress have not already been present as a factor, they are a likely outcome of being broke. FABs can face a downward spiral where the hopelessness of their situation causes them to lose confidence in themselves and to get stuck in negative thinking, thus lessening their prospects for recovery.
The best way to avoid becoming a FAB is to work on improving your resilience, which is your ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity. The attributes that underpin resilience include:
- The ability to make realistic plans and to implement them
- Self confidence
- Communication and problem-solving skills
- Emotional self-control.
Being highly resilient will help you bounce back from adverse situations, but even so, sometimes the challenges are just too great.