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Saving and investing tips for surviving a recession

Survive a recession with these expert saving and investing tips. Learn how to protect your finances and thrive during tough economic times.

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Increasing speculation is that the global economy could be headed for a recession in 2023. This comes as governments around the world continue to grapple with rising debt levels and sluggish economic growth despite massive fiscal stimulus packages. 

Meanwhile, companies are facing headwinds from changing consumer preferences, technological disruption, and escalating trade tensions. All of these factors have raised concerns about whether the current economic expansion can be sustained over the long term. 

Below we explore the likelihood of an upcoming economic downturn and guide you through how to protect your savings and investments should you be faced with one.

Are we headed for a recession in 2023?

According to economic research conducted by Bloomberg, economists have predicted a 70% chance of a recession next year, up from their 30% prediction in July last year. While not the technical definition, recessions typically take place after two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, which was seen last year. 

Despite the interest rates and inflation, consumer demand has deteriorated. After two years of bulked-up hiring, job search activity is now also waning. The stock markets have declined approximately 20% in 2022 with speculations indicating that further drops in 2023 are likely to follow suit.

While these stats might cause panic, know that recessions are part of the natural economic cycle. In fact, there have been thirteen recessions since World War II, each lasting an average of 10 months, all of which recovered. With the right preparations, an economic downturn can cause minimal damage to your financial goals.

How to ride out a recession with minimal damage (hint: emergency fund)

First and foremost, build your emergency savings fund before the recession goes into full effect. This involves saving money to build up three to six months’ worth of expenses that can be used for any unforeseen costs that might pop up over times of economic slowdown. Building an emergency fund is a surefire way to protect your investments and recession-proof your finances.

On top of this, experts recommend putting off any big purchases, especially luxury items, and creating (and sticking to) a budget. Look for valuable money-saving tips and implement these into your day-to-day life. These tips might help you to save money beyond the economic uncertainty and help you to offset the rising costs of living. Consider creative ways to beat the economy and cut costs.

How to manage debt in an economic downturn

If you have a steady job, starting today, increase your payments to eradicate your debt. Don’t underestimate the freedom that comes with being debt-free, not only financially but emotionally too. Once you’ve paid this off you will have more room in your balance sheets to navigate the interest rate hike and increased cost of living typically associated with recessions. 

Should you lose your job, try to minimise your unessential debt repayments and focus on having enough money to cover your four pillars: food, utilities, shelter, and transportation. If you have funds left over, put them in a savings account, particularly if you don’t have your emergency fund set up yet.

Whatever happens, do not get into more debt, high interest debt will only make a bad situation worse. Consider speaking to a certified financial planner if you are unsure.

How to recession-proof your savings

Assuming you still have your job, continue to save money and build your cash reserves. Don’t let economic downturns stop you from moving toward your economic goals. Ideally, you have your emergency savings fund set up to buffer any personal losses and cover your living expenses. This allows you to put your usual amount of savings into an interest-yielding account without any concern for “what ifs”. 

Now is also a great time to review your budget and allocate every cent to a purpose. If there is any extra money left over, incorporate this into your savings or retirement account. If not, revise to see where you can cut spending and fill up your savings jar.

How to manage your stock market investments during a recession

The golden rule of managing your investments and maintaining your financial position during a recession is not to sell at a loss. Time and time again we see investors make trades based on fear, and ultimately make terrible losses while peers that left their funds in the stock market account see impressive returns once the economy has returned to normal.

Remember: losses are only realised once you withdraw the funds from the investment vehicles. Leave them in there, as with every economic cycle in history, it will get better. And if you have the funds, consider investing a little more - stock market prices will be at “discount” lows. 

Other valuable advice is not to make any sudden changes to your investment strategy, consider investing as a long-term approach. 

Some long-term investors look to incorporate shares in consumer staples companies into their portfolios as a strategy to overcome market slumps. By investing in funds like the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund or the Vanguard's Consumer Staples ETF, the hopes are that the success of these funds will offset the losses from other stocks within the portfolio.

Avoid FUD and be prepared

Despite whatever economic situation might arise, rest assured that it shall pass. After all, if you are reading this now then you have most likely lived through several recessions before and come out on top. Don't let any worries stop you from being prepared in case of a recession, after all, these tips above on how to recession-proof your finances are your best chance of coming out on top, again. 


This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice or a recommendation of any kind whatsoever and should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the content of this article (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content), or any content of any other material referred to or accessed by hyperlinks through this article. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up-to-date.


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