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Secrets of Financial Survivors

Almost everyone I know has faced — or is coping with — some financial challenge or adversity.

If it’s not a load of student debt, it’s unemployment, a mortgage crisis, foreclosure, staggering medical bills or worse.

I have observed over the years that not all individuals can handle financial adversity similarly. Some, whom I call financial survivors, hit it head-on, refuse to give in and invariably come out victorious. They refuse to let money troubles get the better of them. They have a sixth sense for how to bounce back and then go on to thrive and prosper. And I’m talking about even in the worst of times.

When facing financial adversity, financial survivors rely on psychological strengths to carry them through.

So, are financial survivors born that way, or is this a skill that anyone can learn? My response would be yes and yes. While some people seem to be more naturally inclined to know how to overcome financial adversity, I believe that anyone with a strong desire can develop a survivor’s attitude.


Hope is like oxygen for survivors. They profoundly believe that no matter how bad things get, their lives can improve. Hope is a combination of optimism and realism. It’s not naivete but rather a deep-seated, profound belief that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Survivors choose hope. It keeps them moving forward.


Faith means you trust that God has a plan for your life. Many survivors, when telling their stories, have shared with me that they came to a point where they just dropped to their knees and prayed, “Lord, I can’t do this. You take over.” Survivors rely on prayer and power greater than their own. Faith is the most powerful survival tool.


Financial survivors possess the ability to adjust. They don’t wallow in self-pity over the loss of a job. Survivors don’t balk at the idea of downscaling. They adapt.

They know there will be another house in the future, another job they’ll love. But for now, they do what they must, even if that means taking a second job working the night shift as a janitor or moving the children to public school. Whatever the situation, survivors instinctively know how to adapt to it quickly.


An ancient African proverb says that the wind cannot break a tree that bends. This describes the resilience of survivors. They can stretch without breaking. In difficult times, financial survivors don’t stay down for long. They pick themselves up and keep going.


Having a purpose is the booster rocket of survival. It gives the survivor incredible power to persevere, even in the face of great adversity. Survivors believe that life is a gift and that they are on this earth for a specific reason.

Because survivors believe so profoundly in their life’s purpose, they are willing to work tirelessly to reach those goals.


Survivors are strong and able to hang on even when it is painful. Tenacity is the super glue that gives survivors the strength never to give up. Survivors refuse to let go even when facing incredible hardships.


Survivors are not ashamed of their passion for the people they love. They would walk through fire for those who make their lives worthwhile. This kind of love reminds them daily that survival is their only choice in the face of adversity.

There’s no time like right now to have a little conversation with your inner survivor. Financial adversity may be heading your way. It’s never the wrong time to get ready.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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