When inflation is raging and the scent of a recession is in the air, what is the American household to do? First, remember that if a recession does occur, it won’t signal the end of the world. And also remember it is not too late to chart a plan of action – preparing now may give you a buffer zone.
Americans across the country pay close attention to weather patterns in their region; they know when to prepare if Mother Nature stirs up trouble. Coastal citizens keep a close eye on tropical depressions and know when to board up and lock down. Midwesterners are very familiar with thunderstorm and tornado drills. Long-time residents of the north give advice to newcomers on how to cope with snowstorms. No matter how well anyone is prepared for a specific storm, there are ones that can sneak up on them – such as a flashflood.
Consumers can relate to weather-related scenarios and see the importance of planning – buying extra water and batteries just in case. But not all are as well prepared in the financial realm. Even the best laid plans can be upended, as has been evidenced by the level of pain they’ve experienced due to inflation. But that doesn’t downgrade the importance of being prepared.
Here are 9 survival steps you can take now as you prepare you for a potential upcoming recession:
Pay down debt
Ask anyone what they would do if they inherited a vast sum money. Or struck gold in a Powerball drawing. A popular answer is to pay off bills. Being debt-free is an admirable and attainable goal that gives individuals a great sense of peace. As you work toward that goal, make every attempt to stay current on your monthly payments. It’s normally a smart decision to pay extra each month – especially on high-interest, revolving credit cards. But if you are in a financial bind, you may want to consider paying only the minimum each month.
Avoid knee jerk reactions
If you own stock, or have money in a mutual fund, resist the temptation to sell everything when the market is in freefall. Similarly, resist the urge to buy at bargain basement prices. Wait until the waters are calmer before you take a plunge.
Push the pause button
Resist impulse buying – especially big-ticket items – as this can destroy your budget. For example: if you are thinking of purchasing another vehicle because yours needs repairs, get some estimates from reliable mechanics. If the quotes are substantially lower than the price of a new or used one, delay the purchase until the economy settles down.
Hands off your retirement accounts
That nest egg is for your golden years, so let it alone and it will grow. Also, if you are having money automatically withdrawn from your paycheck for a 401(k), it’s best to continue making those retirement contributions. Note: taking an early withdrawal from a 401(k)-retirement account may not even be possible, as you must meet certain qualifications. If you do take an early withdrawal, the Internal Revenue Service will charge you a substantial penalty.
Track your expenses
When you categorize your expenses, such as mortgage/rent, utilities, food, and bills, you will get a better sense of where your money is going. If you have a large list of expenditures that are miscellaneous, decide what needs trimming. This exercise will help you stretch every dollar further.
Consider picking up a side job
Recession or not, people will still pay someone to babysit, walk their dogs, or maintain their lawns. Retailers and restaurants typically hire seasonal workers and may offer flexible schedules. Delivery drivers are also in high demand.
Monitor your thermostat
Instead of raising the thermostat this winter, bundle up. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by adjusting your thermostat down 7°-10°F, from your normal setting for 8 hours.
Develop a savings plan
When you are pummeled by the tsunamic-like waves of inflation and are desperately trying to get to the safety of the shoreline, you may think it’s not a good time to save money. This step builds on the ‘track your expenses’ step. Once you conduct your money scavenger hunt, you will probably find some extra dollars. And if you don’t save them, you may purchase non-essential items. It may be a good time to take a look in the rearview mirror; if people had been preparing for dark days by building an emergency fund, a recession would not be so painful.
Obtain a personal loan
Most households have more than one credit card and have accumulated more debt that they realized. And now that Fed Chair Jerome Powell hiked rates again on November 2, 2022, the interest charges on these cards will continue to creep up. This is one reason why a personal loan is so attractive: If you qualify, your interest rate is locked. It will not increase for the duration of the loan. Further, a personal loan will allow you to payoff other debt, so you have only one bill to pay instead of several.
DISCOVER HOW TO SYMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Symple Lending exists to help consumers find an easier path to achieving financial freedom. We have had the pleasure of helping families navigate storms when clouds eclipse the sun by offering fixed-rate loans. Contact us today to learn how we can help you stabilize your financial situation so you can focus on building a bright future.