For those who just can't seem to make enough cash to get by, a growing fellowship in New York suggests the economy may not be the only issue.
Underearners Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship of people who help themselves overcome an addiction to underearning.
Underearning doesn't only involve cash. It also is described as “the inability to fully acknowledge and express our capabilities and competencies.”
“It is about underachieving, or under-being, no matter how much money we make,” the website stated.
Yahoo! Finance said that at a recent meeting 24 people gathered in a room, praying and introducing themselves as underearners much like a group of alcoholics would start out an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
They talked about the symptoms of underearning, such as undercharging for services and neglecting to follow through on new opportunities. They also said they need help from a higher power to control those behaviors.
Yahoo! said one woman had a master's degree from Columbia University. She was earning $10,000 a year doing freelance work and fell behind on the rent.
Her solution was finding a job at Staples. She said what she had to realize was that she got the job because it came with few expectations and responsibilities.
She has now embarked on an acting career and is making 10 times her old pay.
Underearners Anonymous's website said the program uses the Twelve Steps tools of recovery. The group provides other tools to recovery such as time recording and help organizing a savings plan.
Symptoms of underearning include time indifference, idea deflection, clinging to useless possessions and the giving away of time, defined as compulsively volunteering for various causes or giving away services without charge when there is no clear benefit.
The program is seeing growth as the national unemployment rate remains around 10 percent. Yahoo! said membership in New York City has doubled to roughly 300, and meetings are now held in Los Angeles, Miami and London.
Success is not necessarily measured in earnings. It is also measured in such things as having more dignity and peace of mind.
Underearners Anonymous isn't the only 12-step program to tackle addictions other than alcoholism and drugs. Others include Overeaters Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, Emotional Health Anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
Serenityfound.org provides a full list.