Riding a Slowdown


Uncertain times call for cautious approach to managing work and money. Focus on the basics, work to your strengths, curb wasteful expenditure and be prepared for any eventuality.
The future is never easy to predict but daily news and observing your work environment and the daily lives of people helps you take a macro and micro view and arrive at reasonable conclusions.

So, where are we today? Data tells us that there are clear signs of economic contraction and the Government is taking steps to boost growth. But, like businesses prepare for slowdowns, you also need to take care of your personal economy. Be prepared, proactive, and evaluate your expenses.

The best way to get started is to note things down. Follow simple rules about what you earn and what you spend. First, see how much you can cut back on what you spend, including fixed monthly expenses and essentials. Ensure that you have enough to cover absolutely necessary expenses for three to six months ahead.

Avoid big monthly expenses like eating out and entertainment. Home-cooked food is healthy and saves money. Curb your desire to go out and watch a movie. Small amounts saved will help you prepare better for a slowdown. Additionally, you can use the metro instead of driving and also, learn basic car servicing to avoid expensive maintenance. Look for places within driving distance and options like budget hotels or Airbnb when holidaying.

Evaluate your investments. Exercise caution in uncertain times – exit direct investment in shares. Reduce your monthly Systematic Investment Planning (SIP) amount to suit your needs and increase investments in government-backed instruments like Public Provident Fund (PPF).

Bottomline: check, reduce or remove expenses you can do without. Focus on essentials and save for them. Try and find time to do freelance work as it adds to your income and will help cushion the impact of job loss, if any and remember, bad times don’t last forever.

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