Here are 6 strategies to recession-proof your finances at any age

Like many Americans, you may be worried that we are headed for a recession. More than 6 in 10 Americans (62%) believe there will be a recession in the next year, according to the latest CNBC All America economic survey, conducted in early July.

Americans age 50 and older feel better prepared than younger generations to handle an impending recession, according to another report from MagnifyMoney. Overall, though, 68% of US adults don’t feel financially prepared for one, the survey found.

Here are some strategies to protect your finances from the recession, at any age.

In your 20s and 30s: Strengthen your assets

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The first step in securing your financial future is creating a plan to reach your financial goals, from building an emergency fund to paying off student debt to buying your first home. Uncertainty about the economy can make you hesitate, but be determined.

Build your emergency fund

Make sure you have enough cash reserves to pay for unexpected expenses, like a car repair or a medical issue, especially as these costs continue to rise. Directly deposit 10% of each paycheck into a high-yield savings account to build your cash reserves.

Financial advisors say your emergency fund should cover three to six months of living expenses. However, in a recession you may want to have more cash on hand; if you lose your job, it could take up to a year to find a new one.

Savings rates remain low, but are slowly rising. You may be able to earn 1% or more by saving in an online bank account. Check rates at or

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Strengthen your resume

If the economy fails, you’ll want to make sure your biggest asset, your income, stays as stable as possible. Consider your marketable and transferable skills that can help keep you employed even in turbulent times.

An overwhelming majority of employers, 93%, say “soft skills” also play a critical role in hiring decisions, according to ZipRecruiter. It found that the top “soft skills” on job listings include communication, customer service, scheduling, and time management. List these skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Technical skills, or “hard skills,” are also important. Software development, data analysis, and digital marketing are among some of the most in-demand “hard” skills on job websites. Learn or upgrade these skills. LinkedIn and other online platforms offer free classes.

In your 40s and 50s: Play defense

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At this point, you should be approaching or already in your best earning years. He likely has more financial responsibilities than ever: owning his own home, raising his children, saving for retirement. You need to put some protections in place in case the economy, or life, throws you a curveball.

Get adequate insurance coverage

Having comprehensive insurance is one of the best ways to protect your financial life in times of uncertainty. You must have an auto policy, renters or homeowners insurance, as well as comprehensive health, disability, and life insurance coverage.

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Check your homeowners policy coverage to make sure it covers rebuilding, not just the home’s current market value. Home values ​​can fall during a recession. Also consider purchasing an “umbrella” policy to increase your liability coverage.

Don’t forget to protect your income, your greatest asset. Research shows that you are more likely to become disabled than die during your working years. If your employer offers disability insurance, get as much as you can. If you are self-employed, purchase coverage on your own. It’s worth it.

At age 50, you can finally begin to think about what life will be like when you stop working in your current position or field, and start a new chapter. Getting through the first “pages” can be a difficult task in a recession. Start preparing just in case.

Make “catch-up” contributions once you are eligible

At age 50, you can make additional contributions to your retirement savings accounts. It may make sense to boost your retirement accounts now if you already have a large emergency fund.

With a “catch-up” contribution of $6,500, you could contribute up to $27,000 to a 401(k) or workplace retirement plan this year. You can also save up to $7,000 in an IRA with an additional $1,000 “catch-up” contribution.

If you have a high-deductible health insurance policy, you can contribute up to $3,650 for individual coverage and $7,300 for family coverage into a health savings account. Those 55 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 to a health savings account.

From the age of 60: Secure retirement plans

Retirement time is almost here, or you may already be enjoying it. A recession could disrupt or postpone your plans for life after work.

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Test your financial plan

See if your financial plan can withstand the stress of an economic downturn. Spend your next vacation from work testing your retirement budget. What would you do every day? How much money would you need to live? If you can put together a budget that can work when the markets are down and the economy is faltering, you should be in great shape when they get better.

Protect your wallet

Financial advisers often advise younger investors in their 20s and 30s to hold most, if not all, of their long-term investments in stocks, as they have the benefit of time. Those in their 60s and nearing retirement, on the other hand, should be less aggressive and add bonuses and cash for a little more security.

Tax diversification is also important. Having a mix of tax-deferred, tax-free retirement assets (traditional and Roth IRAs and 401(k) plans or workplace accounts), as well as taxable accounts, can be a good strategy for more flexibility as economic conditions change.

However, no matter what the economic condition, you shouldn’t have money tied up in the markets if it’s money you’ll need in the next five years. That should be the case whether the market is bullish or we are in a recession.

For more tips on managing your money no matter your age enroll in money 101 a free 8-week learning course for financial freedom, delivered weekly to your inbox. For the Spanish version Money 101, click here.


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