Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Tips To Get Ready for the Next Great Recession

By Timothy Gamble (Originally published April 12, 2019)

Avoid becoming this guy.
Regardless of if you believe the next economic downturn is imminent or not, one thing is certain - at some point, sooner or later, there will be another recession. Now, during a relatively good time economically, is when we need to prepare that that next Great Recession. Here are some ideas to help you prepare:

Realize that unless you own the company, you are not indispensable to it. No matter how great you think you are at your job, no matter how much you think your boss loves you, the fact is you can lose your job to downsizing during a recession. No one is immune.

That said, you don't have to make it an easy decision for them to fire you. Make yourself as valuable as possible to your company. Keep your skills up-to-date, and constantly learn new ones, even if they are not directly related to your current job. Downsizing often means that those who remain are expected to do their work AND the work that was being done by those fired. The more you are able to do, the more likely your company will choose to keep you on the job. 

Don't give your employer a reason to fire you. Keep your nose clean. Obey the company rules, spoken and unspoken. Don't cause conflict. Don't bad-mouth your company, bosses, or fellow employees. Don't be that problem employee they'll be eager to get rid of during a downsizing. Check out the Fifteen Commandments of Keeping Your Job.

Despite your best efforts, you may lose your job anyway during a recession. Get ready to look for a new job now, don't wait until you are fired. Keep your resume constantly up-to-date. Make sure you have updated contact info for all your references. Start networking - you will be more likely to find a new job through a friend or colleague than from the classifieds or even employment services. Building a network is essential career advice, good times or bad.

Please realize you may have to find a new job in a different field from your current job. Or you may have to go into business for yourself.  Learn new skills. Take some classes at a local community college. Take a marketing and/or public relations class (surprisingly useful to most jobs/careers). Learn to sell (read the book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham - considered a business classic). Brush up on your computer skills. Learn coding. Learn bookkeeping & accounting. Learn Spanish for the workplace. Consider learning a trade (electrician, plumber, welder, HVAC repair, etc.) as a back-up to your current career. The more you know, the more employable you will be. 

Prepare financially to the extent you can. This means getting on a budget, living within your means,  paying off debt, and building savings. Not fun, I know, but a whole lot easier to do now than it will be after the next Great Recession hits. Need some ideas? Check out my article Financial Preparedness: Back to Basics

My opinion: The top two financial goals for most folks should be setting aside an emergency fund, while at the same time paying off high-interest debt items such as most credit cards and car loans. Between the two, I would actually prioritize the emergency fund until you have at least $1,500 set aside. Don't stop making your minimum payments, of course, since late fees and penalty interest rates add up astoundingly fast. But put any extra money into the savings for now. Once you got an emergency fund, then tackle the debt with extra payments. 

Need help getting that emergency fund going? Have a yard sale. You can declutter your house and raise money at the same time. Or, brown bag your lunch for awhile, putting the savings into your emergency fund. At five dollars a meal (and you're probably spending more with tax & tip), that's $25 dollars a week, or $650 in just a half-a-year.  

Ready to pay off your debt?  Dave Ramsey's debt snowball plan is easy to understand and implement. You can find it on his website at

Food storage and other aspects of preparedness can really help you get through a crisis. I know a guy who was a prepper back before the Financial Crisis of 2008 (he was preparing for peak oil at the time). Then the Great Recession happened, and both he and his wife lost their jobs (with different companies) during the same week, leading to an extended period of unemployment for both. His wife was out of work for over five months and he was unemployed for almost nine months. He has said that the extra food storage (and other supplies), along with many of his other peak oil preps, made it possible for them to survive during that time.

My recommendation: As soon as possible, acquire at least two weeks worth of food & supplies, then work towards building a month's stockpile, then six months, and so forth until you feel comfortable. For more on stockpiling as a preparedness strategy, please read my 2016 article Survival 101: Stockpiling as a Preparedness Strategy.

If you are new to preparedness, You should read my 2015 article A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End for a good general outline of preparedness.
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