We have an admission to make. On a professional level, recessions don’t scare us. Of course, we hate the potential for lost jobs, families struggling to pay the bills, the uncertainty we feel as a nation and all the bad stuff.
But what really scares us is how people react to recessions. It’s the way people respond to them when they aren’t sticking to a financial game plan. Here are five ways you can make the recession worse for yourself and what to do instead.
Pulling out your investments
Investing in your retirement isn’t a luxury. You are putting aside money now because you know you will need it in the future. If you pulled out of your 401k after the stock market crashed earlier this year, you lost a big chunk of the money you’ll need in retirement. If you pulled out after the stock market crash in 2018, the story is even worse.
You hear us say it again and again. Don’t try to time the markets. We don’t do it. We don’t tell our clients to do it. Simply put, you are trading a historically solid rate of return for a roll of the dice.
Not seeing the doctor
We wish this didn’t need to be said, but delaying care and recessions go hand in hand. Beyond the very obvious reason that your money doesn’t do you much good if you’re dead, putting off routine care and doctor visits takes a financial toll.
Don’t let a co-pay our modest bill keep you from getting the care you need. Doing so can avoid an extended hospital stay or expensive surgery, missed work or worse down the road.
Not knowing when you plan to retire
Should you postpone retirement? Should you increase your contributions to ensure you have the amount you need? How you approach your financial situation in a recession has a lot to do with when you plan on needing to access your retirement funds. Knowing your ideal retirement age will help you determine what your options are.
Not having an emergency fund
This is one of those mistakes people tend to make, rain or shine. When times are good, a rainy day fund hardly seems necessary. When the markets are down, it can feel impossible to make it a priority.
Not having an emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses means you will be racking up credit card debt, failing to invest for the future, or even losing your home. Start with a small amount that you can set aside consistently and grow from there.
Not having a plan
All of the above are generally symptoms of a broader problem. You don’t have a plan to approach your finances.
Playing the guessing game is scary even when the economy is roaring. It can be downright terrifying during a recession. A financial advisor can help you set your plan toward taking the fear out of an economic downturn.
This article was originally published in the Pioneer Press. You may view the article here.