Worried about economic slowdown? Here is your survival kit
The possibility of getting a pink slip is very high during slowdowns, especially if you are employed in one of those vulnerable sectors.
This uber powerful quote by Reinhold Neibuhr is the guiding light for the current times (actually all times): “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
With India’s economic growth numbers hitting a six-year low of 5% in the first quarter of the current fiscal year and fears that the growth numbers may slip below 5% in the second quarter, the slowdown now seems inevitable.
Your best bet in these uncertain times would be to mind the basics. One of the surest ways to combat external uncertainty is by controlling the controllable: that is, managing your sphere of influence and not bothering with the rest.
Here are a few pointers that can see you through the rough times.
Build an emergency fund
The possibility of getting a pink slip is very high during slowdowns, especially if you are employed in one of those vulnerable sectors. An emergency fund is one of the best ways to sail through the period between getting a pink slip and finding another job.
Medical insurance cover for self, family
You don’t want to pay huge medical bills when you are out of work or going through an uncertain period in your workplace. It will add extra pressure on your fragile existence. An adequate health insurance cover may be of great help here. You must buy a health cover for yourself, spouse, children, and elders in the family. You should get individual covers even if you are covered through a corporate policy. If you lose your job, the cover will not be available anymore.
Write a will
Life is uncertain. It makes sense to have a will in place. It is a simple document which can streamline a lot of future conflicts/friction on money matters between relatives or dependents. Our scriptures say that those souls are great which do not leave any loose ends before they pass away.
Budget your expenses
Cut down on feel-good and avoidable expenses. Spend money only on critical and essential stuff. Money well spent is money saved/invested. Jim Rohn is very pertinent when he says, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
Invest as per your goals
Consult a financial planner, share details of your financial information like assets, liabilities, cash flows and goals and let him draw up an investment plan to address your future goals. Through this process, your past investments will be reviewed, your future goals prioritized and your regular expenses budgeted.
Diversify your investments
The financial planner will allocate your monthly and annual investments across different asset classes as per your various future goals. It will help you nurture your surplus, ensuring that they stay ahead over inflation and taxes by at least a couple of notches.
Retire your loans
In these times when inflows could get uncertain, it is always a good idea to minimise outflows. Loans are like heavy backpacks; they can easily become a bottleneck when climbing uphill (akin to slowdown in economy). The surest and most irreversible way of isolating yourself from these cycles of recession and economic boom is by being financially free.
Go that extra mile at your workplace
Employers like nothing better than people going beyond their call of duty to deliver. Be that person who addresses responsibilities beyond their circle of expectation. And trust me, this path is not too crowded.
While preparing yourself for a slowdown keep reminding yourself of this quote by Dave Ramsey: “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”
(Deepali Sen is a certified financial planner, founder partner of Srujan Financial Advisers LLP and author of ‘Why greed is great!!!’)