Everywhere I look online and the news I keep hearing about the recession that is looming. Seems a little cruel since inflation is in full swing and Covid is still hanging around. But here it is, closing in. No breaks.
And I keep thinking to myself, how is this recession going to affect me? Yes of course the stock market is acting up and there are big ugly negative $$$ percentages showing up under performance. But I’m not looking too closely at that right now because I’m not about to cash it out.
The more I thought about it, I realized that this recession really isn’t going to affect me. And you know why? Because the last few years I have transformed from a spender with no budget, signing up for an endless stream of credit cards, letting debit pile high – while I aimlessly ‘dealt’ with my financial picture. It was a disaster.
Fast forward a few years, I have been on the offensive when it comes to money. The shit of my past is not welcome back. I have changed deeply and my financial reality is proof.
This recession may come or maybe it will not, but because I am on solid financial ground I’m not the least bit stressed.
So what are 3 ways to recession proof your life once and for all?
1. Create and Follow your Money Plan
Money Plan = how are you going to spend or allocate the money that you have coming in. Where is every dollar going to go?
I’m not a big fan of the word budget, because I think for some reason it has such a negative vibe for so many people. When some hear the word budget they immediately think that they need to stop enjoying their life. That all the fun in the world is coming to an end because you are going to add up your income and minus your expenses – and maybe, just maybe try to balance it so that you are spending less than you bring in.
A budget is bad, boring or not needed? Au contraire my friends. A budget sets you free. It shines the light on waste and opens the door to having more money on hand to save. And by save I mean do positive things for your future with your money. Decide where your money should go, what it should do for you. A plan for your money.
How does creating and following a money plan (aka budget) recession proof your life?
Implementing and living with a healthy money plan will eliminate the anxiety of the unknown. You are armed with all the valuable information you need if times get tough. You already know all of your numbers so there is no guessing here. When economic times take a dip, you just keep following your money plan and everything is going to be alright. Sounds like a song, doesn’t it?
2. Pay Off Debt / Do not take on any New Debt
If you don’t have debt payments then you have a lot more of your income that you can use to build wealth and truly make yourself recession proof for the rest of your life.
Imagine all the extra money you would have in your money plan if you had no car payment? No unsecured debt like store credit cards?
I had about six figures in debt several years ago. I would beat myself up so much that I just started ignoring it, pretending this nightmare didn’t exist. I made minimum monthly payments and pretended nothing was wrong. Except these monthly payments were over $3,000 month including cars.
Can you imagine how recession proof I would have been if I didn’t have this $3,000 noose around my neck every month? Those 3,000 dollar bills are equivalent to a salary. A fucking salary people. I was spending $36,000 a year just to maintain my debt. I used to beat myself up bad about this.
Since I paid off this debt it’s like I received a raise every month and the heavy emotional burden was lifted. I’m lighter on my feet, I sleep better and I know the sky is the limit. Not only am I recession proof but I am continuously building wealth because I have no debt payments. Whatever money I bring in, I get to decide where it goes.
A word of warning. Whatever in the world happens to you, do not go back into debt. It will be tempting at times. Air miles, promotions, don’t fall for it. Debit is a soul crusher. It takes your dreams away. It affects your future in so many negative ways. Which brings me to my #1 way to recession proof your life.
3. Create an Emergency Fund
I probably sound repetitive. But creating an emergency fund is hands down the best thing you can do to recession proof your life. Just knowing that this pile of cash is there will create a sense of calm. Will unexpected things still happen? Absolutely. But you will not react the same.
The emergency fund does not need to be massive for you to start feeling secure. Start out with a $1,000. Put that aside just as soon as you can. And remember it is just for emergency or that unexpected expenditure that hadn’t been accounted for in your money plan.
Once you pay down your debt, then start increasing this emergency fund to 3-6 months of expenses. I have 6 months in my emergency fund because we do not have steady predictable income. Because we are self employed I like to err on the side of caution and have a fully funded bumper. A recession or a pandemic could be right around the corner. So knowing that I have this amount of money set aside just gives me the peace of mind to survive just about anything.
I know that we are all in different places on this financial journey. Some of you have just started learning more about your money and what you would like to do with it, others are well on their way to financial freedom.
But wherever you are, don’t bee too hard on yourself. If you are struggling and need some help, ask for it. If you think you are alone you aren’t. Give yourself grace and know that we have all made mistakes, failed or needed the courage to ask for guidance.
I could write a book on all of my disasterous money stories and financial regrets. But here we are. Ready and (mostly) willing to change our path and begin to create wealth like never before.
Recession proof your financial life give yourself the gift of freedom. Trust me you will not regret it for one second.