Richard Maize: US Middle-Aged Must Be Proactive, Use Confidence To Survive Recession

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Richard Maize, one of the world's most successful businessmen and a respected philanthropist, advises the middle aged in the US on how to survive the recession.

Richard Maize on how to survive the recession.

First off, write down on a piece of paper all of you strengths. I mean all of them. From the most sophisticated to the most menial. Then write down all of your interests.

In an interview with the United States News Agency, Richard Maize responds to US industrial output falling 0.2 percent in September and an increase in unemployment and forced retirement. Maize, who serves today as a business consultant and mentor to young entrepreneurs, provides critical advice to middle class Americans on how to survive the present recession.

"The downturn in the US economy has affected almost everyone in the country and most throughout the world," says Richard Maize, one of the world's most successful businessmen and a respected philanthropist.

A historic record financial collapse, this recession from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and New York to Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Atlanta has been more severe than any since the Great Depression. At the current rate of job creation, the US would need at least nine more years to recapture the jobs lost during this recession.

"The group that will have the hardest time recovering providing the economy recovers as we all anticipate, is the middle aged. Many, who were once considered middle class had been hit with a set of circumstances they had not been faced with since the time they started their lives in the work force," says Maize.

An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by AARP's Public Policy Institute shows a dramatic 331.4% increase in the number of unemployed Americans age 55+ and over from January 2000 through December 2009.

"What do they do? How did this happen? Could it have been avoided?" asks Maize.

Maize states that there are concrete solutions for Middle-Aged Americans to beat the recession.

Middle-aged Americans must avoid adopting a "victim" mentality and relying upon good luck or the actions of others to get them through this recession.

"The way to survive a recession is to be strategically proactive, hard-working, and versatile. Confidence is key," says Maize.

"I want to share three real life stories of three men in different careers about the same age sharing one thing in common; all either out or work or their occupation had minimized to greatly reduce their income. Two of them are struggling and one is doing well," says Richard Maize, who was for many years the leading mortgage banker in the US.

"Mr. Jones (a fictitious name but real events) had a very good life. He owned a modest home in southern California, went to dinner at elegant restaurants three days a week with his wife. He had many friends and two very expensive cars he paid for (either financed or cash, not certain). His business was reduced by way of technology and the downturn of the economy. Fast forward two years. He lost his house to the bank, he is about to lose his apartment and has burnt bridges with his long time friends by borrowing money from them that he knew he would never return and now is drinking daily to avoid dealing with the pressure of being homeless and having one of his last allies leave him - his wife. Now what? He is 60 years old living the good life most of his adult life and now wondering where is next meal is coming from," says Maize.

"Mr. Smith was in the financial field. He never saved money nor ever grew up with money," says Richard Maize. "He was always lacking motivation. He is extremely smart (book smart). During the 'hay day' in the finance business, he was making between 125 -150 thousand dollars a year. Perhaps enough for him to pay taxes and live higher than he was used to living in the past. With the financial collapse, he was unable to even make a living. Again, no savings to live off. What does he do? He is living with a long term girlfriend who is working and making a modest income. How long will she be able to or want to support him? Not long is the answer. He took a job that is much less in income and much less than he is capable of doing. Just to bring in some income. That is known as 'frictional unemployment'. Being employed but settling for a job that is less than one is trained for - i.e. - an attorney settling for a job as a manager of a grocery store. Not a success story for him either, but not a complete disaster either."

Maize continues: "Now, here is number three. He lost his business by way of poor choices. He had large savings that were used to pay for legal bills and lawsuits that are sometimes the result of owning a business and losing a business. This guy is familiar with being a winner. He is used to acting well under pressure. He has good logic and good sense. Many wealthy people had made most of their wealth during the bad economic times. Great opportunities in bad times. 'Use your head and don't panic' are words that be uttered by this third guy."

"He bought an investment group and they are buying distressed assets from individuals and banks. Then reselling. This guy is buying foreclosures on the court steps at lower than market. He is fixing up the properties and selling them for a reasonable gain. The 'trophy' properties, they are keeping and renting them out for a cash flow. He said there are tons of opportunities in this market. 'Are you kidding?' he said to me. "I am making more now than during the time when I had more business". By the way, the third guy owned a few retail stores that produced a very nice income for himself and his family. He also had a few small shopping centers that did very well for him. Lost them all," says Maize.

Maize asks: "What does Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith do? How do they get out of their situations?"

Maize states: "Jones and Smith first of all have to sit back and look from the sky down and not to panic. They should look at the global markets and see where there a need. We all recognize the fact that there basics need to taken care of. It is debilitating not to have work and somewhere to go each and every day. I perfectly understand that."

"Here is what they should do," says Maize. "First off, write down on a piece of paper all their strengths. I mean all of them. From the most sophisticated to the most menial. Then, write down all of their interests that perhaps up to now they could not do based upon the pressures of their current circumstance. This could be a new lease on life."

Richard Maize adds: "Having confidence is a very important ingredient as to taking the next step. This one single element holds true today and will always remain a valid move upward."

"At middle age recognizing that you have very little savings and without work is a very humbling experience and can weigh heavily on your own self worth. Take out that pad of paper again. Ask yourself why is your value and experience more valuable than a college graduate with little or no experience? What can you add to your industry that is unique and more productive than almost anyone else?," says Maize.

"You have to believe in yourself. Think big and global. Your best ally is you and your notes about you and the business industry that you either want or previously involved with. You might have to modernize your thinking in this fast moving, Internet Facebook Twitter world we live in. If you are having trouble doing that on your own, take an extension class about your industry. This will often stimulate your thought of where you can fit in and make a difference. Think positive thoughts and go out and improve your ideas."

Maize concludes: "Make a plan and move forward."

The Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation is a philanthropic organization that supports and contributes volunteer and financial resources to local and worldwide causes. By providing financial support to focus on art, culture, family services and healthcare, the Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation helps ensure that those in need and their families can live more fulfilling lives.

The Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation generously supports foundations and causes such as the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, the American Cancer Society, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Hurricane Katrina, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Board of Governors, and the Jewish Maccabiah games, one of the world's largest annual summer sporting competitions for Jewish youth. "Team L.A.," supported by the Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation, celebrated silver and bronze medal wins at the 26th annual Maccabiah games held in Detroit in 2008. The week-long sporting event included teen athletes from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and Venezuela.


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