This is clearly one of the worst economies in United States history since the great depression. There is massive unemployment and individuals are losing their homes left and right. Most Americans just don’t feel good about the economy as a whole. People are trying everything that they can to survive the current economic downturn. You can not only survive the current economy but come out of it in better financial shape than you went into it.
Follow these simple tips and you will find yourself on solid financial footing in the future.
1. Boost your savings rate.
Personal finance experts talk all the time about having an emergency savings account. The current economic malaise has demonstrated just how important it is to have one. If you were saving 5% of your pay before, increase it to 10%. If you were saving 10%, then increase it to 15%. If you were saving nothing, start by saving 5% of your check. It may hurt to increase your savings rate in the beginning but you will be glad that you did. You never know what unexpected event may occur.
2. Update your resume.
Layoffs seem to be happening everywhere. Government employees, construction workers, auto workers, lawyers, and other professionals are all having difficulty finding employment. Just because you are currently employed doesn’t mean that it could never happen to you. Start updating your resume today. Include new job duties and responsibilities. If your job situation is shaky then you may want to float it around. Contact headhunters and employment agencies so that they know you may be available. The best time to start looking for a new job is when you already have one.
3. Contribute more to your 401(k).
Most individuals do the exact opposite of what they should do with their retirement plans. When times are good and stock prices are high, they max out on their contributions. When times are bad and stock prices are low, they stop contributing. This has the cumulative effect of buying high and selling low. The best thing to do is to do the opposite of what you are feeling. The time to max out your 401(k) contributions is when you are afraid and feeling nervous about the marketplace. That’s when you get the best buys.
4. Pick up odd jobs.
Every dollar counts. Just because you didn’t get that raise that you were expecting on the job doesn’t mean that you can’t increase your take home pay. Think of creative and innovative ways to generate more income for yourself. This money can help you pay down some bills or increase your savings. You just may find that someone is willing to pay you for a skill that you have been giving away for free.