5 Ways I Plan To Survive The Recession

by Ron Haynes

This article was included in The Festival of Frugality #118 over at My Dollar Plan. Thanks Madison!

Recession talk is all around us and the recession is on virtually every news cast. Paul Harvey even says we are in a recession because 9 out of 10 CFO’s believe we are. Whether we are in one or not, we won’t officially know until July or August of 2008 at the earliest. But, assuming that we’re in a recession, here’s how I plan to survive.

1. I will survive the recession by living within my means. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product growth. There are several ways that negative growth could affect me personally:

  • I could experience higher costs for regular daily items such as food and fuel. Check.
  • I could see my paycheck being worth less and less. Check.

“Living within my means” translates to having a safety net of cash left over every month. It means I have to hold the line on expenses. Saving ONE dollar is like earning TWO because dollars saved are “after tax” dollars. “Living with my means” is constantly seeking out ways to save on my electricity bill, ways to save money on my car, ways to save money at the grocery store, and finding ways to save money around the home. It means being frugal. Frugality comes from a Latin base frugalis which means virtuous, but it is also very close to the Latin word frui which means to enjoy. It literally means to virtuously enjoy the economic use of resources.

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Living within my means is best accomplished by a budget and living within a budget allows me the breathing room to live life without the constant worry about bounced checks and empty cupboards. It means watching out for retail strategies that will separate me from my money!

2. I will survive the recession by increasing my value to my company. A high value employee is target for retention and promotion. I’ve recently finished my MBA and have constantly worked to increase my likeability factor by being trustworthy, hardworking, creative, and positive.

You might try attending a free online college. You might try attending different courses through Skillpath Seminars.

Other important factors to get promoted are:

  • Maintain your health so you can handle stress and have higher energy levels. Stressed out, sluggish employees don’t get promoted.
  • Always perform your work higher than expected. If you only perform to expected levels, you don’t stand out.
  • Keep your integrity level high and your character clean. Management will be more comfortable promoting someone they trust.
  • Learn how office politics work and then work within that system.

3. I will survive the recession by generating alternative income streams. This is probably my weakest point since 96 percent of our family income comes from my job. Several other bloggers have listed multiple ideas for generating additional income.

Pinyo from Moolanomy lists 30 alternative income ideas and resources and Jeff at My Supercharged Life lists 50 ways to legitimately raise your income. Both of these articles are fantastic resources I plan to read in depth over this coming weekend.

The current issue of Businessweek suggests that real estate may be a prime opportunity to generate additional income. Given the current economic situation, investing in real estate sounds counterintuitive, but that’s what makes it an attractive investment. If you “zig” when other people “zag,” you can reap benefits that others miss and find the profits that others overlook. Right now, it is definitely a buyers market for real estate.

4. I will survive the recession with a fully funded emergency reserve. Currently, I have about 4 months of expenses in a liquid account. If you don’t have an emergency reserve fund, start out by saving up $1,000 to $2,000 for emergencies. Having these funds readily available helps me sleep a little better at night!

5. I will survive the recession by paying off as much debt as possible. My credit card debt will be gone in May of this year, my oldest daughter’s braces will be paid off shortly after that, and my car loan will be paid off within another 6-8 months. After that, I’ll have a little student loan debt and my mortgage to attack. If the recession lasts any significant length of time, I could be close to debt free by the time it’s over. :grin:

Surviving the recession isn’t what I really want to do. I want to thrive. When it comes to and end, I want to be in a position to snatch up deals and steadily increase my family’s wealth. But first, I have to survive the recession that the media seems to be clamoring for.

What ideas do YOU have for surviving the recession? List them here by commenting below! :)

[tags]survive, recession, debt, income, real estate, save[/tags]

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 997 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.


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{ 17 comments }

Jeff@My Super-Charged Life

Ron – These are great suggestions. I think that if people did these things we probably wouldn’t be concerned about a recession. If a recession does come, at least some of us will survive! Thanks for the link!

Jeff

Ron

@Jeff@My Super-Charged Life:
Thanks Jeff. You put together an awesome list. I’m STILL working my way through it!

LP

Thanks Ron…we need do those you listed and add….not listening to the news and taking in all the negative, and not clicking on every headline you see, is one way to survive a recession. Because there is an attitude that comes with this dread event.

We always told our relatives that live in another state, “recession attitudes never struck our bright city”. And I still say this!! Because they considered themselves in a recession prone area all the time! If you talk to them today, you will learn how bad they consider their state’s financial health. But we had building and new construction and new businesses, new homes and subdivisions….all the time. We never knew when it hit, or when it was over. :-)

Not to say “recession” didn’t happen….we just weren’t aware of it. And we weren’t affected to much degree.

Thank you again!
And God bless you and yours!

LP

Ron

@LP:
That’s how it is in my area as well. The construction business is still going strong here, slowed a bit, but strong. The only reason it’s slowed is because banks have decided to limit builders on the number of outstanding construction loans they can have. The market is still there, the funds from the bank aren’t.

Frugal Dad

I think this list beats anything put out in the mainstream press recently (and there have been quite a few “doom and gloom” stories on the recession). If people followed your advice we would all be more recession-proof because we would be less reliant on primary jobs for income and stability, have less debt, more savings and a better toolset to work with should be find ourselves out of work. Great article!

Ron

@Frugal Dad:
Thanks Frugal Dad! I think most of what’s going on in the press is a poor attitude.
Rates are still low, unemployment is still low, inflation has crept up a bit at 4.3% but it is still relatively low. If we were to begin to transform ourselves into a nation of producers and savers instead of consumers and spenders, we would be a LOT better off.

Aaron Stroud

Long ago, my wife and I made the decision to keep one of us home with the kids. When you live on one income and you have an emergency fund, losing a job isn’t the end of the world. Both parents can seek out work and work part time jobs if need be.

Ron

@Aaron Stroud:
That’s a great strategy. We made the decision before we even got married that one of us would stay at home with the kids. Ours are stretched over 6 years and the youngest is 8. So we’ve been on one income for over 14 years.

My wife is talking about going back to work next year if she can find something that can accommodate the kids schedule in school. That will be tough!

Aaron Stroud

I hope your wife can find something enjoyable that also meets your time constraints. A second paycheck is a wonderful thing.

Five years ago, I was a bachelor. Now I’m happily settled down after a very hectic five years (marriage, adoption, grad school, building a house in the woods, and probably some other things I’m forgetting).

Our oldest is 15, then 16 months, and the little one is 3 weeks.

Pinyo

I planned a similar article for next week and I’ll be sure to include this in mine. Thank you for linking to my alternative income post.

Frank C

I like what you’re saying except for point #2.

If you work for a mid-sized to large company there is very rarely any way for you to prove your worth to the real decision makers. The suggested steps won’t have any impact when the “Powers That Be” in the corporate HQ decide to layoff 100+ people in your department just because it’s the right thing to do for the business. In fact, pursuing educational opportunities, particularly when it comes as a cost to the company, may put you on the outs since you’ll be considered a greater expense and perhaps even less loyal to the company.

The political game is all about connections, about the number of people who see you as a valuable ally and asset to their aspirations rather than their competition. You need people who feel like you’re backing them rather than the other way around.

Ron

@Frank C:
If that’s the case, then there’s no incentive to do good work. You can prove your worth to decision makers but it isn’t accomplished by doing an okay job and hoping someone notices. It’s accomplished by doing outstanding work, making REAL progress and contributions to the bottom line, instituting money saving ideas, and then promoting yourself to everyone. You also have to establish a couple of allies through networking that can help pull you up.

My father in law worked for AT&T back in the 80′s. They were a HUGE company back then and were experiencing layoffs right and left. He was in middle management and twice was targeted for “early retirement.” He wasn’t financially ready but he was operationally ready for the challenge of keeping his job! He, on two separate occasions, had fully formed and written business plans for saving the company millions of dollars. When he was called in for “the talk,” he produced his plans and was put in charge of both projects. It lengthened his career by almost 11 years and he retired on HIS terms.

The political game IS about connections, but it’s up to you to be promoting yourself and establishing allies. If you haven’t proven your value through work or education, no one will want to be your ally.

Frank C

Hi Ron,

I’ve worked in Information Systems for 25 years either as a consultant or employee. That’s why I take a very cynical view of it because we are always on the chopping block when cutbacks are discussed. We have more than our share of Lumberghs and Pointy Haired Bosses making our lives difficult as compared to someone, say, in sales and marketing.

It gets even worse when there is a physical, geographic, separation between upper level management and employees. When you’re a remote ‘cost center’ your a__ is grass when something hits the fan in the economy.

I’d also say my cynical take is that most people will want to be your ally because you aren’t a threat to them politically in the company and that you support them and their goals and, well, that you aren’t a total loser who pisses other people off. It’s a lot like the reality shows Big Brother and Survivor in many companies. Maybe yours isn’t that way. The one I work at now isn’t. But, unfortunately, most I’ve worked or consulted at have been, including the one your father worked for.

Ron

@Frank C:
Just judging from what you’re saying, it sounds like information systems isn’t given the value it deserves. Do you think that’s a problem with corporate culture? I’ll add that the marketing groups are usually disdained as well, though sales departments are not because they help create that top line number.

I can understand what you’re saying regarding the geographical separation and I DO agree with you there. The farther a home office is away from a cost center, the more unlikely the people there will have the opportunity to develop allies at the home office. I see that happening even where I work now.

One portion of my post suggested that people develop their likability factor. It may not help if there is a round of blanket cutbacks, but it could help you network to another job. I have a friend who has worked at three different hospital groups as the director of reimbursement. Each one of those three were bought out, but he was 1) likable and 2) competent. It sure came in handy for him because he got a 6 months severance package each time and went to work for the other companies just a few weeks later! He made out like a bandit. :D

LP

I wanted to add this as a follow-up on what I had posted earlier.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23718527/

“Your future is as bright as you think it is.” :-)

God Bless you and yours!
LP

Andy Wood

I’m going to be working on a series that starts this Sunday titled “How to Recession-proof your life.” I’ll also be blogging about it at the site above. This provides a great referral source. Thanks!

EarnermTraura

Hello
Great post very good and useful information

Bye

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