While we have not technically entered a recession just yet, millions of Americans are feeling nervous about the future of the economy. In fact, around 56% of U.S. adults say they’re not financially prepared for a potential recession, according to a recent survey from Insight Global.
It’s uncertain when or if a recession might happen. But there are a few steps you can take right now to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for whenever a recession may strike.
1. Increase your emergency savings
One of the best ways to prepare your finances for tough economic times is to build up your emergency savings.
Ideally, aim to have enough savings to cover at least three to six months’ worth of general living expenses. If you’re especially concerned about losing your job, you may try to save even more than that. In general, the bigger your safety net, the less you’ll need to worry about the impact of a recession.
Even if you have little to no savings now, every dollar counts. Saving even a little in an emergency fund is far better than doing nothing. If you can’t get to six months’ worth of savings right now, just try to save as much as you can.
2. Consider how much you can invest
If you have a solid emergency fund, next consider your investments. Recessions can actually be smart opportunities to invest, because stock prices are often much lower — giving you the chance to buy quality stocks at a discount.
That said, it’s important to only invest money you’re comfortable leaving in the market for at least the next few years.
If we face a recession, nobody knows how severe it will be or how long it might last. There’s a chance that the stock market could fall further, and the last thing you want is to be forced to sell your investments when stock prices are at rock bottom. But if you leave your money invested until the market recovers, you’re less likely to lose anything.
3. Avoid getting caught up in day-to-day movements
When the stock market is shaky and the economy is sinking, it can be tempting to check your portfolio every day or constantly stay updated with the latest news.
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping informed, closely tracking these day-to-day movements can be overwhelming at times. And that can sometimes lead to less-than-stellar decisions — like pulling your money out of the market in a moment of panic.
Instead, try your best to maintain a long-term outlook. Historically, the economy and stock market have recovered from every single recession they’ve ever experienced. Given enough time, it’s extremely likely they will bounce back from this downturn as well. When you avoid getting hung up on these daily movements, it’s easier to focus on the future.
Nobody knows for certain when or if we’ll face a recession, but it’s wise to start preparing anyway. When you have a plan in place, you can rest easier knowing you’re ready for whatever may happen.
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