While the global recession is unpleasant for everyone, you should worry more about your personal financial situation. Suffering from a personal financial disaster is more painful than reading about recession in the news. What you can do to avoid it? Certainly a lot of things: save money, avoid getting into debt, secure your income, and make sure you can survive low times.
Let’s get more specific. Here are the top 22 tips to avoid personal financial disaster:
1. Always put money aside. Easier said than done? Maybe. But it’s really not that hard to put some money aside instead of buying the latest dress or iPad. Life is so much happier when you have money which can cover your living expenses for few months even if you stop working. It’s well worth the effort.
2. Build multiple streams of income. Whether it’s a website earning you $50 per month or a consulting contract on the side for a couple of hundreds, every additional stream of income matters. If you lose your job, you’ll still have something. Yes, it requires work, but having multiple streams of income is the best possible protection against financial crisis.
3. Avoid taking debt. While it looks like common sense, most people just don’t get it. Each time when you get a loan or lease you are turning into slave of your creditors and are getting closer to financial crash.
4. Reduce existing debt. If you are already in debt, do everything possible to reduce it. Paying debt has a high fixed ROI over time, better than the ROI of many high risk investments. And best of all, the profits are guaranteed. Check out the effect of paying debt in advance with a debt reduction calculator.
5. Buy assets. Things that put money in your pocket will always help you in hard times. Instead of buying a more powerful car perhaps you can thing about investing in solar panels?
6. Have an emergency fund. No one is immunized against every illness, car accidents, personal disasters and so on. Keeping some cash to cover you in case of accidents can help you survive them with less stress and avoid getting emergency loans with very high interest. It’s same like insurance but you won’t need to wait for anyone’s approval to get the money.
7. Have or increase your life cover & take health insurance. While insurance is an expense, it’s also a way to get money exactly when you need it most.
8. Start investing now. Maybe you don’t want to think about spending more money, but if you are not in a financial disaster right now, you should do it. Investing, when done right, is even better than just putting money aside because it’s supposed to bring you additional income over time.
9. Invest in what you understand and know. If you are investing in stocks, prefer ones in industries that you understand and know. Following the trends is usually a bad idea and often leads to financial crashes. On the contrary, if you understand the industry you should be able to judge yourself which companies are good long term.
10. Be ready to sell your property and move. This is a harsh way to get out of financial collapse, but it’s also very powerful. If you are ready to sell your property and move to a smaller one you may aquire a large amount of cash which to solve all other problems.
11. Improve and expand your skills and knowledge. One of the best investments you can ever make is to improve your skills and knowledge and expand your professional expertise. Stocks and properties can quickly lose value during recession but no one can take your skills. And being the best in your field, or being able to work in different fields is a sure way to avoid being jobless and losing your income.
12. Work for your name or brand. Other’s perception of your skills is just as important as their real value. If you are known and established you will never suffer a lack of job or customers. Sometimes it’s worth to work for your name or brand rather than for money, because your name will work for your when you need it most.
13. Focus on long term benefits in work and business. It’s easy to focus on short term benefits but it’s not very efficient against financial shocks. It’s better to work on projects that will bring you long term income, name/brand recognition, and repeat business rather than on one-time projects that will bring some quick cash. For example better work on your blog that establishes you as expert, even if you are not making money from it now, instead of taking extra work that will bring you few hundreds which will be spent for a couple of days.
14. Do DIY and improve your DIY skills. Nowadays most DIY projects aren’t very lucrative if you put your own time into the calculation. But the result of doing things yourself is not only personal satisfaction – the skills you acquire along the way can be very useful if you get into financial trouble.
15. Buy some land. Land is not just an investment. A piece of land can secure your living and feed you. Staying in a motor home and growing some veggies may sound too far from your current lifestyle but many people are happy to spend some time this way, especially if they know it’s temporary.
16. Take care for your health. Being healthy reduces the risk financial troubles and helps you overcome them when they happen. It’s far better to be rich and healthy rather than sick and poor
17. Take some reasonable risks. I don’t mean to throw your savings into a managed forex account. Taking small reasonable risks means to put some money that you can afford to lose into a project which can bring a lot of long term income. With small amounts you can buy websites, penny stocks, intellectual products, education… If just one of these things work well you can be secured for life.
18. Plan your budget. This is the most common tip and yet so many people miss it. If you plan your expenses carefully you are reducing the risks of financial troubles. Knowing how much you are earning and spending every month and what is expected in the next one you won’t make risky emotional financial decisions.
19. Repair things. Develop the habit to repair things instead of buying new ones. Long term this will help you save a lot of money.
20. Consolidate your debt. If you have several debts you can consolidate them into a single mortgage loan. This often helps to avoid collapse. Be very careful with consolidation however as it increases the risk to lose the property in case you can’t pay this single large loan.
21. Try selling assets if needed. If you are buying assets when you are in good financial shape, as advised earlier, you will additional income at any moment. You will also have the option to sell some of the assets and get some quick cash in case you urgently need it.
22. Socialize with the right people. If you hang out with people who live on credit there is a big chance you’ll live like them too. If you socialize with too rich people you may want to try looking like them and spend too much on everyday stuff. Financially-wise the best company you can have are successful people with positive attitude living within or below their means.
How many of these ideas are you using right now? Can you quickly adapt some of the other strategies?
Author Bio: Bob Shark manages Shark Investor, a site about personal finance and risk investing.