Last year at this time, one writer -- and only one -- in the entire Chicago Tribune features department was either brave or foolish enough to bare his family finances for all to see: yours truly.
In a two-page spread, I outlined 10 steps to a better family budget, using my own experiences with debt, savings and spending habits as the template. This led in short order to a roller coaster ride I could never have anticipated:
taunts from twisted readers who bombarded me with mean comments about how dumb my wife and I were.
a gig as the Tribune's recession columnist.
getting laid off by the Tribune about a month later.
hundreds of well wishes from fans who couldn't believe the Tribune would lay off the Recession Guy.
and finally: an immediate invitation from WalletPop editor Beth Pinsker Gladstone to move my "Recession Diaries" column to AOL, which I did.