With the bleak economic outlook predicted for the post-Covid19 world, like me, you may be wondering how to recession-proof your life.
At least, I hope you are.
Friends, avoiding whatever makes us feel scared, worried or anxious probably will not make it go away. In my own experience, it feels so much better to confront the source of concern.
Let’s do that together.
I hope that these tips help you address any recession-related worries or concerns and get you started on your own journey towards resolution.
Full Disclosure: Friends, this is what I am doing to figure out how to recession-proof my own life. I’m not a financial advisor, a finance professional, psychologist or counsellor. I’m just a woman who thinks, and likes to share her thoughts, in case they are helpful to you. By continuing to read this article, you agree that if you act upon this advice, you do so at your own risk. I’m not being paid to endorse any person, service or channel. I post links if I think that they may be helpful to you.
#1 — Do a Financial Audit
Your first step to recession-proof your life should ideally be a financial audit, which is a fancy way of saying that you should figure out –
- how much money you owe;
- what debts or one-off expenses will probably arise in the next 12 months; and
- your average monthly expenditure.
Assessing all these factors will help you determine your minimum monthly income for survival. This knowledge is critical for all the other tips in this post.
# 2 — Keep your financial umbrella handy
Using your minimum monthly income for survival, assess your rainy day fund/savings to see how many months it will last you if you lose your source of income.
If you don’t have a rainy day fund and you still have a job, there is no time like the present to start one.
No job or rainy day fund? Consider whether you qualify for any assistance from the government in your country or what you already own that can be easily liquidated.
#3 — Reduce your food bill
Another way to stretch your income is to reduce your expenses, such as your food bill.
Some tips that I am implementing to reduce my food bill are-
1. Creating a garden using scraps from the vegetables you already bought.
2. Going meatless more often
Peas and beans are much cheaper than chicken and beef. I buy them dried. Dried peas and beans also last longer and don’t have the preservatives present in canned peas and beans.
3. DIY free range
Do you have a lot of outdoor space and patience? If you’re not vegan, you could also consider keeping a hen for eggs or a nanny goat for milk.
#4 — Determine if debt restructuring or consolidation is a good option for you.
Restructuring or consolidating your debt if you’re in over your head may be a real game changer for some people in tough economic times. But it’s not for everyone.
Do your research and speak to a qualified financial professional before you agree to any debt management or consolidation plan. Check out this general post, this Canadian post and this post from the U.S., in case they are helpful to you.
#5 — Examine your tax
Are you owed any tax refunds/credits from previous years that you can cash in or apply to reduce this year’s taxes?
Are you taking advantage of every possible option to reduce your current tax burden?
Taxation regimes can feel really complicated and out of your league. But they are not. I think that you can accomplish almost anything with a bit of grit, some common sense and an internet connection.
First things first, do your research before you file your taxes. If you really feel overwhelmed, consider hiring a tax professional (if you can afford it) or finding out if you qualify for any free tax assistance.
For example, in the United States, certain persons qualify for free tax preparation assistance by the government. Similar government programmes exist in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia for certain categories of persons. You may qualify for assistance in your own country.
#6 — Update your resumé
…(though I hope you don’t need to use it)
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca
I couldn’t agree more with this statement. So update your resumé and your LinkedIn profile as part of your way to recession-proof your life. And hope that you don’t need to use it.
#7 — Know your insurance coverage
Know exactly what insurance is available to you, what coverage is given and when that coverage is triggered.
For example, some private insurance policies cover your mortgage payments in certain instances; for example, if you get sick and cannot work. If you have life insurance or annuities, refresh yourself on conditions for surrender (if available), which can be another cash flow if you lose your source of income.
If you don’t have any private insurance and you don’t have a job, some governments have national insurance schemes for which you may be eligible to claim. Do some research to determine your options.
# 8 — Don’t take your eye off retirement
While investment income is likely to rebound long-term, you may still collect less money from your 401k/pension plan if your employer decides to temporarily suspend or reduce its contributions to the plan to help it get out of a tight financial spot.
Before you get your panties in a twist about that decision, in some cases the suspension or reduction of employer contributions is the only alternative to the plan going belly up. Of course, that’s fact dependent. You should be aware of the circumstances of your own 401k/pension plan before you make an assessment.
Nevertheless, if this describes your situation, you may need to consider other long-term investments that can supplement income that you were counting on during retirement.
# 9 — Keep your mental health as a high priority
Please don’t succumb to doom and gloom, friends.
This, too, shall pass.
In a nutshell, I have found that incorporating this daily routine has made a huge difference for me—
- sunshine every day (from your window, if you can’t go outside)
- lots of water and healthy food (as far as possible);
- at least 10 minutes of exercise everyday
- at least 10 minutes of meditation/prayer
- a shower (I never cease to be surprised how much a nice long shower improves my outlook)
- dedicated work periods(whether working remotely or housework or looking for a job)
- moderate news consumption (so that it doesn’t become overwhelming)
- at least 10 minutes of hobby/relaxing time e.g. drawing, gardening, playing games
- telephone calls with family and friends(daily/weekly check ins); and
- at least 6 hours of restful sleep.
Please seek professional help if you are feeling particularly anxious, depressed or are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Almost every country has hotlines with people on the other end who want to talk to you. Call them. Please.
Stay healthy, friends.
Originally published on Wukkin (and adapted by the author (me!) for this platform).