PERSONAL FINANCE

In The Looming Recession, Focus On What You Can Control

How to not freak out.

Erik Bassett
3 min readJul 27, 2022

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Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

It looks for all the world like we’re heading into a recession.

I realize that GDP numbers don’t tell the whole story. As the NBER notes, “each of the three criteria — depth, diffusion, and duration [of declining activity]— needs to be met individually to some degree.”

Whether or not the “r”-word applies, we’re clearly in the middle of a prolonged rough patch.

Whenever a full-blown recession officially hits — and one eventually will— then this article will still stand. Next quarter or next decade, it’s all the same.

With some prudence and preparation, you can set yourself up to weather the storm, rather than feeling like a ship tossed about in a choppy macroeconomic sea.

The key?

To focus on two things you can control.

I’m not a financial professional. This is purely opinion and entertainment, not advice. Do what’s right for you, and if in doubt about what that is, then it’s important to find someone who’s legally able to tell you.

Get your spending in check

If you’ve struggled to rein in your spending, then get on it now.

As in, today. While you still have a choice in the matter.

If truly hard times hit, the last thing you want is still to be mired in spendthrift habits while your portfolio shrinks and pay raises vanish and employment look shakier.

Even in a comfy lifestyle with a generous cash cushion, remember that recessions (broadly speaking) are a golden opportunity to buy the dip.

Every bit of cash you redirect to productive assets during down years will come back severalfold in the decades that follow.

To be clear, keeping your budget on track doesn’t mean turning into a stingy, lifeless Scrooge who whines about the price of everything. It means spending and saving in support of your long-run best interest.

During long bull markets, it’s easy to become complacent with less-than-intentional spending. Let the recession, or slump, or whatever…

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