Two months ago, Israel TV aired the story of a woman who owed one of the big banks NIS 4,000. The bank came down on her with all its weight, threatening to seize her assets and slap a lock on her bank account. The woman sounded stressed out, which is a shame. If she'd followed the financial press, she'd have known that there is more than one way to skin a dead-broke cat. The talks between other people in serious debt and their bankers sound totally different. For her, and the tens or hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the same leaky boat, we have decided to offer a few pointers, to help them decide their financial moves in the new Jewish year of recession about to start, 5763, may the Lord stand by our side. Suggestion 1: Re-evaluate your assets. Otherwise known as the "Yarden-Koor-Dankner" ploy, this is good for people seeking more credit from their banks. This is the method adopted by Y. (an alias). Having signed rights to all his worldly wealth over to the banks - car, apartment, his wife's savings fund, the bar mitzvah fund for his son Y discovered he needed NIS 20,000 more. Y scratched his head and as his last hairs bit the dust, the eureka moment arrived! Suddenly, he discovered that his Mazda, bought three years before and now worth NIS 60,000, could be worth NIS 80,000 it was all a question of perspective. The difference between the market price of his machine and the "fair" price Y calculated it to be worth could help him wring the juice from the stony-hearted bank. "Let me explain why my car is worth more," Y told his bank manager. "First of all, six months ago I bought it new tires and gave it an overhaul. That adds at least NIS 6,000. Secondly, the car has a betterment potential of NIS 5,000, if you add gas to the air conditioner. "And anyway, it isn't even a car - it's a platform," Y escalated, thumping his fist on his thigh. "With practically zero investment, you can attach a refrigerator and music box, and presto! you've got an ice cream automobile. Meaning, you have hidden assets worth a cool ten to fifteen thousand shekel. "So to be ultra-conservative about it," Y leaned forward, "clearly the car is worth at least NIS 80,000. Yeah, I know the market says sixty, but the market is weak as yesterday's dishwater and isn't pricing the Mazda correctly for the long term. And don't forget I'm the original buyer, which means that if it's sold to a strategic investor we can get a control premium!" Suggestion 2. Call your parents. This, called the "Yes-Tevel-Barak" method, will actually only work if your parents are rich as Croesus. The principle is dead simple. You've run out of lolly and can't cover your overdraft. Yes, you're a full-fledged adult, but mommy and daddy didn't put you through school and piano lessons to see you falter at the starting gate. They even bought you your first apartment, which you hocked to gamble the whole thing on the stock market the week before it crashed. Happily, mom and dad are still in the pink. They live frugally and always maintained excellent relations with their bank, paying all their debts to the penny. That's the main reason why the bank put up with your financial acrobatics. Okay, their health was better before they hit the eighties, and now they need to save every agora they can to buy a whatsit breathing machine and sustain them in hay until they leave this vale of tears. But so it goes: Good parents will always dry off their kids after getting soaked, if only to maintain the family's good name. Suggestion 3. Extend your supplier's credit. This method has served many companies in Israel and abroad well. For instance, you could induce your Filipina housemaid to agree to a raise from say NIS 30 an hour to NIS 35, as long as she agrees to defer payment for a year or two. Meanwhile, tell your grocer that you'll pay at the end not of the month, of next year. You'll be amazed how well this works! A year is a long time for people living in a recession. Anything can happen maybe the immigration authority will expel your maid, or the grocer's business will collapse. Meanwhile your house will be clean as a whistle and your fridge stocked with the fat of the land. Suggestion 4. Re-organize. Reorganization, as any good CEO knows from the last year of recession (Jewish year 5762, if you're counting) is the fast-track to sweeping cost cutting. Why confine it to hi-tech companies? Households, get to it! You could sublet out the kid's room and have him sleep in the bath. Or instead of cooking at home (how extravagant!) you could outsource and order pizza, skip the toppings. Looks expensive at first, but look at the time you save shopping, slaving at the stove, and washing the dishes and time is money, dontcha know. Didn't work? Get serious, friend. Stop all investments. Tell your daughter no more ballet lessons between us, a prima ballerina she won't be. As for the boy, no more basketball coaching. He stopped growing in 8th grade anyway. At least now he'll have the energy to get up with the birds and do a paper route to help finance the family. And don't put up with that grousing that sleeping on the bathroom floor gave him a chill. He won't? Sell his bike! Remember, a good education starts at home. Salvation has not arrived? Despair not! Spin off this is the "ECI Telecom method" your family. Tell your wife and each of the kids that they're on their own, responsible for their own P&L statements. If they want to survive, they'll have to appoint their own CEOs and manage their own finances. You'll support the survivors (especially the gifted son, who skipped third grade twice) because maybe they can be floated. The less successful units (such as your faithful 14-year old dog) can be put down. Suggestion 5. Declare Chapter 11. This is the "Starband-Tevel" technique. If none of the above suggestions helped, all you can do is petition the courts for protection from your creditors. You're dead broke let them go hound somebody with money. Not that it changes a thing for you. You keep getting up in the morning and go about your usual routine. The difference is that now, every time somebody stalks you in the street muttering "What about my hundred dollars, you ____", you won't have to squirm. Just say it's out of your hands, go ask the court. And you? You aren't responsible for anything, nothing at all.