One of the few constants in life is change. Whether it’s a global pandemic, natural disaster, or an economic recession, sooner or later something will come up for which you’ll need to be prepared. After everything that’s happened so far in 2020, let’s hope whatever it is happens much later. That said, the best time to prepare for a future emergency is today.
Here are three tips to help you do that:
1. Live Within Your Means
Ask any financial advisor how to best prepare for adversity and they’ll tell you to have anywhere from 3-6 months of cash stashed away in an emergency fund. That’s great advice, but next to impossible for most people. Why? The primary reason most people cannot save up a substantial emergency fund is because they live beyond their means. What does that mean? If you’re living within your means, you’re spending less money than you’re making each month. Or at the very least, your spending is equal to your income. However, if you want a shot at creating an emergency stash of cash, spending less than you make is the only way to go.
The best way to ensure you do that is by creating a monthly budget and track all of your spending.
When you hear the term diversify, you may think of investing and not putting all of your eggs in one basket. That’s sound advice, but not what I’m talking about here. What I mean is to diversify your income producing activities. One of the “secrets” of people who succeed at building wealth is having more than one stream of income. In times of national or global emergencies, it’s common for jobs and businesses to suffer. Having more than one income stream will help you survive unexpected changes in your job or business. There are many ways to do this, and which route you take depends on you and your skill set. You could create your own side hustle as a consultant, content creator, accountant, social media manager, or rent your spare room on Airbnb. The key is to focus on filling a need that will still exist in an economic downturn.
3. Reduce or Eliminate Debt
One of the most powerful ways to increase your financial stability is to decrease or eliminate debt. The less debt you carry, the quicker you’ll be able to take control of your finances, significantly reduce your stress, accumulate cash. Few things will help you achieve your financial goals quicker than freeing yourself from the shackles of debt. Make a list of all of your debts, and look for ways to pay them off. There are several things you can do to make it happen. Get a part-time job or side hustle, meticulously plan grocery trips and meals, fewer or no trips to the coffee shop, create and stick to a budget. Then direct some of your extra cash to paying off your debt, and the rest into your emergency fund.
Preparation is better than panic, and the more preparations you can make in advance the better positioned you’ll be to make it through hard times. Life is unpredictable, but with the right preparation you can turn a financial crisis into just a temporary setback.