There may be fewer cases these days, but the effects of COVID-19 are still taking a toll on our nation, and the impact could be more severe than we may realize.
In addition to fear of sickness, the feelings of uncertainty in the future, a worsening labor shortage, and rising inflation rates have many experts concerned that we may be facing a potential economy dip or even a full-on recession, and it could be happening this year.
It can be unsettling to think about the possibility of a dip in the economy, but the good news is that with proper planning, you can weather the storm and provide for your family even when times are tough.
Whether you are a small business owner or an employee, we have tips to help you do just that.
Prepare Your Finances
If a hit on our economy does occur, jobs may be few and far between and your ability to make money may be impacted, so this is the time to ensure that your finances are in order while eliminating any looming debt.
The last thing you will want to worry about when money is tight is the fact that you owe thousands in credit card bills, so start making a plan to pay off the largest amounts and the accounts with the highest interest. The best way to start is to create a family budget.
Your budget should be a detailed listing of all incoming funds as well as monthly recurring payments that will paint a financial picture of your current situation.
If you have services you don’t use, such as that streaming platform you barely watch or a magazine subscription you don’t read, then stop those payments.
Also, this may be a good time to stop going out for lunch and coffee every day and buy what you need from a grocery store so it will last longer.
Now that you have extra money, this is a good time to work on increasing the funds in your savings accounts.
In addition to moving the money you have leftover from your budget, consider also setting up an automatic deposit from your paycheck so the transfer recurs every month.
While the economy is still chugging along, this may also be a good time to consider a side hustle, like driving for a food service or online tutoring so you can add that money to your savings as well and build a nice nest egg.
Staying Employed Will Be Key
If the recession hits, companies that are already struggling may be forced to turn to layoffs to make ends meet, so now is the time to make yourself indispensable, so if cuts do occur, you are too important to be let go.
The best way to do that is to put your best foot forward by volunteering for extra tasks, attending trade shows, and cross-training in other departments wherever you can.
Staying up to date on industry trends is a smart idea because if your company has to shut its doors during a recession, you know which businesses are growing and you can interview with them.
It is also important that you are keeping up with your professional networks, be it in person or online with sites like LinkedIn. Make sure that your online presence is up to date with current jobs and responsibilities.
You may want to beef up your LinkedIn profile by taking free online classes to improve your skills and make yourself more valuable.
No matter how good you are at your job, you may have to plan for the possibility that you will be let go or your current company could shut down during an economic dip.
If you are let go, you won’t want to waste any time getting back into the job market, so ensure that your resume is up to date. The key is to add keywords that describe exactly what you did in previous jobs so companies can automatically filter for your expertise.
For example, if you are in the nursing field, you want to list all the medical certifications you hold and any experience you have that matches the job description.
If You Own A Business
If your job happens to be running a business, then there are certain precautions you will want to take in the case that a recession does occur.
One essential step is to hire qualified candidates that you can count on, so if you do need to reduce your workforce, you can have a few great employees remaining to help keep your organization afloat.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to go overboard with hiring in the case that layoffs become a reality.
To attract the attention of the most qualified individuals, you will want to look at your benefits package and ensure that you are offering the perks that other companies may not, including flexible scheduling, great healthcare, and ample vacation time.
If your hiring pool has been hit by the recent labor shortage, look towards hiring new people across diverse demographics so you are expanding your reach and finding the best candidates across many perspectives and experiences. When you hire new people, provide a path for promotion so they will stick around to evolve with your company.
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, it is also important to consider cybersecurity and ensure that all of your online information is safe before a recession hits.
Cybercriminals often like to strike during times of unrest because they know that people are more on edge and willing to click links and fall for scams out of desperation. To stay protected, start by installing antivirus software on your computer and run scans every week.
Also, all programs should have strong passwords that include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
When using mobile devices, always be cautious with public Wi-Fi as many hackers can set up fake networks that are similar to the real network, and connecting means attaching to a hacker’s computer, and from there, they can install malware on your device.
This is probably a lot to take in for a recession that may or may not happen, but it is important to be prepared. Even if we don’t see an economy dip, the tips above can help you create a more efficient life overall.
Dan Matthews is a freelance writer with a penchant for financial wisdom and solid research. You can find him on Twitter @danielmatthews0 and LinkedIn.
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.