What would you do in the worst case?


Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
from the Freakonomics blog:

Imagine you just lost all your possessions and money, and you were suddenly living in the streets.

1. What’s the first move you would make?

2. What’s the first organization you would turn to?

3. What would your extended plan look like?


Turbo Monkey
Mar 19, 2002
Copenhagen, Denmark
Ha ha that is easy - walk up to the Danish consulate, begin to cry, have them fly me to Denmark, have the state take care of me.

Now way I would stay in the US with no money.


Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
other options raised in the original article:

- join the army
- seek help from the mormons, promising to convert... until back on one's feet :D
- go from sleeping on a floor of a shelter to running that shelter
- picking fruit from trees and writing nonsensical poetic lines on the coast
- cashing in on society's natural compassion for white males from the midwest by hitting up random strangers

Serial Midget

Al Bundy
Jun 25, 2002
Fort of Rio Grande
I've never given this kind of scenario any thought at all - I moved out of my parents home at 15 and have never been without a income or dependent on anyone since. Uncle Sam helps those who help themselves. :)


ease dropper
Jun 19, 2005
military would probably be my first choice...the only problem with that, is it maybe hard if you've lost your ss card, birth certificate, and other forms of id


Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
media blackout
military would probably be my first choice...the only problem with that, is it maybe hard if you've lost your ss card, birth certificate, and other forms of id
They're desperate, they'd figure out a way.

As far as what I'd do, probably head south to a warmer climate. work odd jobs under the table picking fruits/vegetables, etc. Dumpster dive for food (mastered this art already) until I could scrounge some **** together. Or maybe just steal an ax and a shovel and become a crazy mountain man.


Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
I was pretty close to this scenario when I graduated college. I had a truck (which I lived in), 5 changes of clothes, and a bike. My friend loaned me a suit, I took the first professional job I could (American Express at $18k/yr). Once I got my securities licenses I quit and started working for a financial advisor ($23k ->32k over two years). I then took my knowledge and got a job at a real investment bank ($55k -> really? wow.) and stayed for two years until I burned out, made a $500k mistake, and was let go (oops). Stepped out of true finance and went into financial software sales (hoowah!- >??).
Five years, four jobs, life is rolling.

If it happened now, I have skill and knowledge. I would try to get a job working for companies that need that knowledge/skill at rock bottom salary. Once you prove yourself, your income will reflect it.


Turbo Monkey
Oct 27, 2001
Avondale (Phoenix)
Depends the scenario doesn't say if you also lost your identity... if I could still prove my identity but went belly up financially and lost my job, it would be relatively easy given my education, experience, family and friends.

Now if by some freak science experiment' you couldn't prove your identity and all your friends and family were suddenly gone --BUT I had the same level of life experience... I would take one of two paths..

Path 1) Go to almost any brokerage and intern for free in exchange to get a series 7 license (Securities license) or hit up a Real Estate company to become a real estate agent. Lots of hard work and within a few years your good (note I am neither of these although almost went down that path)

Path 2) Hitch hike to a beach town and get some odd jobs and say F-it all, just live completely off the grid. There is always odd jobs to be done under the table


Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
- no family
- current state of good health
- what caused this was not an event to which i need to be legally held accountable
- this is isolated to me, & not an apocalyptic event

get to an urban area & do day labor for a few weeks, networking all the while for a stable gig. sleep in shelters til i get the cash to strike back out on my own. use public services for access up the ladder. as soon as possible, open a bank acct. money will be spent only on survival; anything extra will get saved/invested. eventually use my engineering degree to regain previous momentum

just a relentless attitude itself will get you very, very far


Plastic Santa
Jan 6, 2005
I'd make signs for other homeless people. Hell, I'd design a whole new campaign that would put "Will Work For Food" to shame.