Recession? Maybe. Protect Yourself in 2008


The drumbeat of recession talk continues to grow louder in the media and amongst financial analysts. The housing crisis, the credit crunch, high energy prices, the falling dollar, inflation, and slowing consumer spending are all contributing to a troubled economy. While no one can see into the future and know for certain whether or not there will be a recession in 2008, it’s not unwise to take a few steps now to protect yourself in case a recession does come to pass.

The biggest problems people face during a recession are layoffs and inflation. Both put a strain on the family budget, but neither is insurmountable, particularly if you do a bit of planning and saving beforehand to protect yourself. Here are some simple steps you can take that will help you ride out a possible recession without too much damage to your financial picture.

First, retool your resume, start networking, and pick up some additional skills to increase your marketability. If the economy tanks, companies will have to cut spending and this often means layoffs. You should be prepared for a job hunt, particularly if you work in an industry or for a company that is particularly shaky. Having an updated resume and a rolodex full of contacts gives you a head start should a layoff happen. Use this time to learn new skills such as new software programs, business management, a foreign language, etc. The more skills you have the more valuable you are, both to your current employer and a prospective employer. When layoffs happen, companies usually let the least skilled, least valuable workers go first. Additional skills may act as an insurance policy for your job if the worst happens.

Second, start putting more money in your emergency fund, or start one if you don’t have one. If you get laid off, you’ll need to rely on your emergency fund until you find a new job so start pumping some extra money in there. Keep your emergency stash in an account with no withdrawal penalties, and make certain you’re getting a good interest rate.

Third, start curbing your spending now, rather than waiting until you’re forced by circumstance to do so. Cut down on unnecessary spending and use that money to fund your emergency fund. Maybe you want to put off some travel (particularly international travel since the exchange rate is so poor right now), home remodeling, a car purchase, moving, or other big expenses and instead save that money in case you need it. The less you live without now, the more money you’ll have saved if you have to go without a paycheck for a while. Those who wait until the layoff happens to slow their spending are starting from behind.

Fourth, refinance or pay off any debt that’s at a variable interest rate and don’t incur any additional debt. This includes credit cards, adjustable mortgages, home equity lines of credit, etc. Interest rates are probably going to go up and this will increase your payments. In the case of credit cards, if you are laid off or have other financial problems that cause you to miss a payment or pay late (on any bill, not just the card in question), you are subject to their “universal default” policy which basically means that if they see something on your credit report they don’t like, they are free to raise your rate sky high. For this reason, don’t take on any more credit card debt, particularly if you feel like hard times may be ahead of you.

Fifth, learn money saving and frugal skills now. Learn how to cut your grocery bill by using coupons and shopping the sales. Try stockpiling food bought at low prices to avert price increases and to have a stash in case you need to cut spending even more. Learn which stores have the best prices on which products. Become familiar with the consignment and thrift stores in your area and their offerings and prices. Learn how to do more for yourself such as lawn care, home maintenance and repair, and cooking. Cut your utility bills by conserving power, water and fuel. Cut your gas bill by driving less and consider trading the gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient model. Every bit of money you can save by doing something cheaper or on your own is more that you can save in case you need it. You’ll also curb some of the effects of inflation on your budget.

Sixth, get the advice of a professional financial advisor that you trust to help direct your investment strategy. I’m not a stock market guru so I can’t tell you where you should be investing money at this time. But there are plenty of professionals out there who can help protect your investments in a troubled economy. If you have a lot of money in stocks or bonds (this includes 401k’s), get some help from a professional. They’ll advise you as to which “safer” areas are good bets for earning decent returns during a recession.

We don’t know for certain that a recession is coming and, if so, how bad it might be. But there are indicators in the economy that we might be heading that way. Don’t be caught by surprise. Take some steps now to protect your financial future. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll save up a bunch of money, be prepared to look for a new job, become more self reliant, and take some steps to protect your investments. Not a bad strategy, even if we don’t have a recession.

Image courtesy of wallyg

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10 Responses to Recession? Maybe. Protect Yourself in 2008

  1. Pingback: Monroe on a budget » Blog Archive » Layoff recovery plan: Saving Advice’s tips for 2008

  2. sonavi says:

    Thank you for this good article. I really can’t imagine how bad our economy will be in the future..Thank you so much for this article…atleast, now I can start preparing for recession

  3. Brenda says:

    Very good advice. Thanks.

  4. Sapient says:

    Good advice. I would like to add– another solution is quit buying products that support other countries.

  5. Richard L. Whitford says:

    Dear Editors:
    This report and the associated link was interesting. It repeats advice that has it roots in the early Bible which are still valid. It also reveals that our economists and financiers don’t really understand economics. They follow a lottery and slot machine philosophy.

    You should know that there is no value or production in either of these schemes. They are simply designed to transfer your money to their pocket but, in order to get you do do that transfer they offer an incentive. With the slot machine it is called the Jackpot. This is always enhanced by the dribble of small payoffs as you play the machine.

    Take a hard look at the stimulus package that seems to be cut an dried at this time and you will see what I mean. It is all focused on money just like the lottery and the slot machine. It is not based on service or material which is our economy. If you have nothing to trade we can’t do business and when we do business we expect to earn a profit high enough to make it worthwhile for me to trade with you. Finance or money is only a measure and method that makes trade much simpler and easier but has no other function.

    A recession is caused when we run out of paying customers. We are not running out of people who want what we produce but we are running out of the profit that makes it worthwhile. The parasites that suck the blood out of our commerce is often caused by politics where we try to shortcut the laws of physics that govern commerce.

    Commerce is not the movement of money but the movement of goods and services. When the freight costs as much as the product’s profit there is no incentive to produce. If you can’t sell there is no need to work to produce. Hence productions stops and depression follows. Today’s wage in comprehended as money rather than profit. Therefore politics tries to produce money but they can’t print money. It must be produced and it is the production that makes the wage, not the money which is the measure of the value of the wage.

    The advice in the link,,
    is good but it also reduces the demand for the goods and services you are cutting back on which will have an effect on employment. As we cut back on the unnecessary we remove some of the inflation in our commerce. I think this is good and proper.

    When we consider the drain from taxes do we see that a large portion of that tax is the result of trying to get too much fuel economy from our trade — That is, we expect our trade to yield more profit (horsepower) on less fuel. I hope you can follow what I am trying to illustrate.

    I have a Dodge van that averages about 16.5 miles to the gallon of gas. If I try to make it run 17 it will run out of gas somewhere along the road because I have not provided the necessary fuel that it must have. This is the political solution to our economy and it won’t work. Therefore we need to review our political solutions and adjust them by reality.

    The poor are not entitled to the property of the rich. Neither are the rich entitled to the property of the poor. For either to take from the other is stealing. A person does not have to steal to become rich but many have become rich through theft. I do not begrudge the rich his wealth but I do not support theft, whether it is by the rich or the poor.

    Le 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
    Jer 22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;

    This isn’t something that has just happened under President Bush but well established long before Bush. This is the primary cause of our recession at this time. By the slot machine of politics we have let the government take our earning, just like the slot machine, under the pretense of a jackpot and a few nickels along to keep us playing.

    Just as this report advises. we cannot prepare without cutting back on our spending and rearranging our finances. This will have an effect on commerce but should not cause a loss of jobs where they are most needed to produce the things we need first instead of the things we want first. Note that we have been paying a high price for entertainment and that without complaint. This is usually things that we can do without. We just need to learn to enjoy and be thankful for those things that are the more important and this is very possible.

    We do not need to go into a recession but we will unless we rearrange our priorities and political thinking. We need to put more emphasis on producing the things we need and less on producing the things we want, One person can’t do this but one person can do whats right and if enough do this it will be like a flood of rain that comes just one drop at a time. We also need to put our environment in its proper order rather than use it to curtail production.

  6. John Svid says:

    Wow great site! Some really helpful information there.

  7. Mark Pris says:

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  8. Robert says:


  9. susie says:

    I also find this article very informative. I have always been one to think about tomorrow. I do sometimes spend more than I should, but will be changing my ways. I must add, the So Called “Stimulus Check” was a waste. I to feel it will only be spent to survive the gas prices or to get the public out of Credit Card debt. So, therefore sending the money overseas or stimulating the Credit Card companies because of the lowering of debts, when in fact every citzen in this country should have been given a Gift Card to be spent only at a American Company or retailer…..TO STIMULATE OUR ECONOMY !!!!!!!!!!

  10. Sarah says:

    I liked your article, and as a frugal person by nature, all of these things should be done every day. Saving your money into an RRSP (if you’re in Canada), not only helps you when you get older, but can be used in desperate times if you, for example, lose your job!

    A friend just informed me that she splurged her entire tax refund on a new 52″TV and sound system (she already has a 52″ Sony Bravia ,so now she has two!), and understandably I was speechless.

    The point I’m trying to make is that YOU can be unlike many others, sit back as they spend crazy amounts of money (at least it helps the economy), and you can have financial peace 24/7 because you’ve chosen to save your money and you’re happy without surrounding yourself with STUFF. I grew up poor, so I know the value of a dollar and the importance of a University education.

    Save, save, save!!! Let others spend and brag, while you cut off your cable and grow your own vegetables to save money for an emergency fund. Teach your kids how to live with less, spend their time doing fun things besides movies, TV and shopping to get a real life!…like cooking, reading a book, visiting the elderly etc…stop being a zombie!

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