We asked people facing financial hardship to tell us their stories and share how they're coping. April 30, 2009 Many have been affected by the recession -- but not in the same way. Some face mortgage troubles and owe more than their house is currently worth. Others face a job layoff. And in a tough economy, budding professionals face a land of less opportunity. To provide the most valuable insights and resources for surviving this recession, we take a look at the most common hardships -- and offer steps you can take to lighten the burden. The result is this five-part series below. Each page has two components: a real-person profile and a practical advice section from which anyone can benefit. Plus, you can take our Recession Survival Quiz and listen to the writers in our audio Covercast. And remember, we welcome your comments and questions -- please add them to the Comment Boxes on the following pages. Survive This Recession "I Lost My Job" Networking is crucial. So is smart money management. Advertisement "I Owe More Than My House Is Worth." A homeowner looks for ways to stay afloat. "My Retirement Savings Are Gone" The solution: Trim expenses and keep socking away cash. "I'm Buried in Debt" To dig out, cut spending and get counseling. "I Can't Get Started" Striking out on your own takes a well-laid plan.