8 Ways to Bulletproof Your Finances Ahead of a Recession in 2023

  • Economists are sounding the alarm bells about a likely recession in 2023.
  • Insider spoke with five personal finance experts to get their tips on how to prepare for a recession.
  • Developing an emergency budget by changing your spending and saving habits is key, they said.

Alarm bells are ringing in the US economy and recent models by economists at Bloomberg found a 100% chance of a recession next year.

That means it’s probably time to take steps to protect your finances.

Insider spoke with five personal finance experts to discover the key steps that will help you protect your finances ahead of a rocky 2023.

1. Create an emergency fund

Experts advised creating an emergency fund to cover your expenses if you lose your job.

Ideally, it should be enough to finance three to six months of living costs, a sum that may seem unaffordable to most.

About two-thirds of Americans can afford a sudden $400 expense, according to the Federal Reserve, but saving between $16,000 and $34,000 for months of spending, according to BLS spending data, is quite a different perspective.

Jeremy Schneider, founder of the Personal Finance Club, a website that sells financial education courses on budgeting and investing, said if you don’t have expenses saved for three to six months, you’ll have to spend less and save more to get there.

Getting a budget app might be the best way to go, according to Steve Chan, founder of Call to Leap, an educational investing site. These can help you better visualize and prioritize your spending.

2. Cut your regular expenses

Thinking through everyday expenses can help you find savings. Such an exercise often requires the least effort and pays the most, said Cameron Huddleston, author and director of Carefull, a financial security service for seniors.

Combining your auto insurance and home insurance together, finding a cheaper cell phone or internet plan, reducing the number of streaming subscriptions you have, and making your own coffee and lunch instead of buying them every day can all prove to be a win. easy to reduce unnecessary expenses.

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Paying off your highest-interest credit cards at a time of rising rates may be the most effective way to pay off debt before it’s too late, Chan told Insider.

3. Control important expenses and get more out of your home

Cutting costs like streaming subscriptions can lead to small, valuable savings, but expenses like these nonetheless pale in comparison to major drains on our finances.

The cost of operating a car is often higher than necessary, Schneider said, and can be a key source of debt for many. If there are two vehicles in your household, now might be the time to consider getting rid of one and joining a car-sharing club, buying a bike or scooter, taking public transportation or walking, Chan suggested.

Emilie Bellet, founder of the educational finance site Vestpod and host of the Wallet Podcast, tells people to look at their spending habits: “When we recognize which specific emotions drive our impulsive spending, we can be more mindful of our decisions.”

Still, housing is the largest expense for most people and can seriously alter their financial resilience, experts said.

Huddleston advises landlords to consider renting out vacant rooms or opening them up to AirBnB.

Schneider added, “Your problem is your $650 payment for your truck that’s outside. Your problem is your $2,000 rent. So the options are things like getting a roommate or downgrading your car.”

Income can also be found from unwanted possessions in the home. “Look around your house and say ‘what can I sell for money?’ it’s another way to get some money for a little work,” Huddleston said.

4. Look for side hustle

Before a likely recession, it might be worth taking advantage of a strong job market that still has plenty of jobs.

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If you have time, finding a side job is the fastest way to generate additional income, experts said. For example, Schneider said, a $100-paying bar shift could bring in an extra $800 of income per month if he can do two a week.

“After a month, you’re already covering that important expense with new savings,” he said. Walking dogs, babysitting, taking paid online surveys and gardening could also help bring in extra money, experts said.

In an era of “overemployment,” remote work and quiet resignation, Chan said people can increasingly find time to take on extra jobs and side activities from home.

5. Find sources of passive income

Passive income streams are the holy grail of financial independence. But as Schneider said, it takes work to implement them.

“Drop shipping” (acting as a middleman between a vendor and customers), affiliate marketing, and earning advertising revenue from websites are some of the ways you can eventually start generating passive income with limited effort on the web. depending on your abilities.

Other people buy vending machines or rental properties, which may offer ongoing payments.

But Olamide Majekodunmi, founder of All Things Money, a financial literacy blog for millennials, says it’s important not to sink too many startup costs into passive income streams in the hope that they will pay off.

And Chan said a lot of work still needs to be done to get to a point where he can enjoy passive income. Earn money from old videos uploaded to social media that are still being watched now.

6. Top Skill

The negative effects of a recession, such as falling incomes and higher unemployment, may not become apparent until a few months after the recession. That leaves plenty of time to develop a new monetizable skill, Schneider said.

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Learning search engine optimization, content writing and user experience design, for example, are skills that companies demand and offer many freelance opportunities, Huddleston and Schneider said.

“There are so many free courses online now that allow you to brush up on those skills anyway,” Majekodunmi told Insider.

7. Transfer additional income to a savings account that is difficult to access

Once your finances are in better shape, you should start automatically moving your extra income into a savings account you can’t easily access to stop the temptation to spend, Huddleston said.

“Have that amount, the total amount you’re saving from all these ways to cut your spending in half, automatically roll over into a savings account,” he advised.

8. Don’t panic!

The worst thing you can do with a recession on the horizon is to act rashly, experts told Insider. Now is the time to make sure your financial fundamentals are on the right track. That means not taking money out of investments.

“If you’re already an investor, it’s important not to panic and keep your mind focused on long-term goals. Keep investing; remember investing regularly over a long period of time works,” Bellet said.

Don’t try to include all of these suggestions at once, or you risk becoming overwhelmed, Chan added. “Start by downloading a budgeting app this week, then in two weeks pay off a credit card. The rest will follow.”

Schneider said that households should try to keep their expenses below their income and increase their savings regardless of how the overall economy is doing.

“A habit of what rich people do is not to think about this week,” he said. “They think six months, or a year, or five years from now.”


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