Bernard Madoff’s attorney said today he will not appeal his 150-year prison sentence. The Wall Street Journal had a moving piece last week called “Downsized Lives and Shattered Dreams” that profiled some of Madoff’s victims.
I was inspired by the story of Jesse Cohen, who lives in Summit, NJ, a few miles from me. He’s a 50-year-old former bond trader who built a successful business, sold it and gave the money to Madoff to invest. He lost it all, and his parents lost their savings as well. Cohen, the story said, recently took a math exam to apply for a university program that turns former finance professionals into math teachers in three months. He past the test but is still looking for a position.
In other words, he has picked himself up, dusted himself off, found a new direction, and is pursuing it vigorously. He’s focused on how he will overcome a horrific situation over which he had no control.
In today’s Yahoo!Finance column, I interviewed Daryl Conner, an organizational development consultant who has been studying change for 35 years. He finds that people who successfully overcome negative situations and move gracefully through transitions have a number of character traits and behaviors in common.
As he writes in his book Managing at the Speed of Change: “Assimilation is the process we use to adjust to the positive or negative implications of a major shift in our expectations. Assimilating is costly – reduced intellectual energy, increased psychological stress, and diminished physical health and stamina. Resilient people have learned how to increase the number of their assimilation points and how to stay within their personal assimilation budget.” Click here to read my interview with Conner find out more about the strategies of resilient people.
Meanwhile, if you needed yet another good reason to pay off your credit cards in full, see today’s Wall Street Journal (sub. may be required.) Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase have notified a number of its customers that it will now tie their credit card interest rates are no longer fixed and will be a variable rate tied to the prime rate. Read the story here. Personally, I’m still get 0% rate offers in my mailbox. Has your credit card company changed the terms of your agreement? Comment here or email me at laura at laurarowley.com.