Sometimes I feel a sense of hopelessness, because it seems that there’s nothing but bad news about the world’s economy. I wonder if things will ever turn around—some people believe that we are in a permanent downturn. My practical side tells me to be a realist, to accept the situation for what it is and to even find the silver linings underneath those dark clouds. But finding ways to cope practically is another challenge. I came up with some survival tips for you—whether you’re thriving, barely hanging on, or sinking.
Tips for Thrivers
Believe it or not, some folks are actually doing quite well in this economy, and if this describes you, breathe a sigh of relief. You may want to limit exposure to the economic news because of all of the gloom and doom reports. If you have discretionary income, open up your wallet and give support to the economy. Go out to dinner, support a local vendor, or hire someone to help out with yard work. This is the ultimate trickle down theory and in this kind of scenario it helps. It’s also important, though, to be ready for a potentially rainy day, because in this economy, if you lose your job, it may not be easy to get a new one. So, as is wise in all times, keep your rainy day account healthy.
Tips for Those Who are Just Hanging On
This is a time for caution and calm focus on your goals. Establish a clear budget and stick with it. Categorize your expenses and find creative ways to live within the amounts you’ve allotted. This may mean taking in a roommate, having pizza out instead of going to a fine-dining establishment, and cooking from scratch rather than picking up take out. Have a staycation instead of a vacation this year. And find ways to treat yourself inexpensively. For example, my husband and I have exchanged dinners out on Friday evening for a drink at our favorite neighborhood bar followed by dinner at home with our pups.
Tips for Sinkers
If you are not doing well financially and are in fear of financial ruin, seek help right away. Consult with a financial planner to come up with a clear plan of action. You might ask your banker for the name of a trustworthy money management group. Limit all discretionary spending. And most of all, don’t hesitate to accept tangible help from support systems, whether these be family, friends, community organizations, or the government.
A bad economy gives us all an uneasy feeling, but it’s also a time to realize what’s really important. Shifting our focus away from material things and onto relationships can result in the awareness that life’s most precious treasures are those that can’t be purchased.
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