In recent times, concerns about a looming economic downturn have gripped the minds of investors, even as inflation shows signs of cooling. The prevailing sentiment seems to be one of apprehension, with a majority of respondents in a recent Nationwide survey anticipating a recession within the next six months.
Moreover, a significant portion of those surveyed believe that the impending recession could be as severe as, or worse than, the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. These findings highlight the financial strain felt by many Americans, as they cut back on expenses, defer major purchases, and increasingly rely on credit cards.
While the economic landscape remains uncertain, there are steps individuals can take to fortify their financial security.
Control What You Can Control
Kamila Elliott, a certified financial planner and CEO of Collective Wealth Partners, advises her clients to focus on what they can control during these uncertain times. While external economic factors and employment stability may be beyond one’s control, there are proactive measures that can be taken to safeguard personal finances.
Reduce Spending and Pay Down Debts
Elliott recommends starting by scrutinizing recent transactions to identify areas where unnecessary spending can be curtailed. By freeing up additional funds, individuals can make headway in reducing their debt burdens, which positions them favorably in the event of a recession.
Building up emergency savings is crucial for enhancing financial liquidity, according to Elliott. This reserve can provide a safety net in the face of job loss or unexpected financial emergencies. Financial experts generally suggest setting aside at least three to six months’ worth of expenses to weather such situations.
Be Opportunistic with Investments
For those nearing retirement, consulting a reliable financial planner becomes paramount. Evaluating the adequacy of retirement plans and ensuring they are on track is vital. Conversely, individuals with retirement goals that are further out—ranging from 10 to 30 years—may consider taking calculated risks to capitalize on market volatility. Historical trends indicate that markets tend to rebound over time, offering potential long-term gains.
Embracing the wisdom of Warren Buffett, Elliott advises being cautious when others are excessively optimistic and seizing opportunities when others succumb to fear.
As concerns about a potential recession persist, it is crucial to adopt a proactive approach toward personal financial security. While the economic landscape may seem uncertain, individuals can navigate these challenges by reducing spending, paying down debts, increasing emergency savings, and taking advantage of investment opportunities.
By focusing on what they can control, individuals can position themselves to weather any potential economic downturn and build a stronger financial foundation. Remember, it is during times of fear and risk that opportunities often arise.