What to do in a bear market? When the going gets tough, the tough get…in shape.
Regardless of the definition of what a recession is, we’re in one, and the outlook is grim for the job market and rising inflation. Now what?
So, you’ve reviewed your portfolios, you’re adequately insured, and you’re facing impending layoffs. Compound this by the fact that you’ve reduced spending and you may have to sell your home. The magic 8 ball tolls: outlook grim.
But experts say that we’ve been through bear and bull markets in a cyclical fashion since the nascence of the United States economy. That is to say, what we Americans are facing today, is neither unique nor original. Sure, the analysts and pundits will report the numbers and charts they want to report. But honestly I digress, because this entry is less about the macroeconomics, and more about each individual’s microeconomics.
There are places for improvement. Since there are myriad blogs and sites to reference for personal finance information, I would like to address another opportunity available to everyone in this recession.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I in shape?
- Could I be in better shape?
- How’s my diet?
- How could I improve my existing diet?
- Do I have any clutter in my house?
- How many unopened boxes do I have from my last move, still unopened?
- What are the top five hikes within a reasonable distance from my house?
- What about training for something competitive?
- Do I have ironing I could do?
- What about general repairs on clothing, shoes, household items that I could easily tackle myself?
Bear markets and recessions allow each of us the opportunity to dream and lay the ground work for the future. This is our time to lace up a pair of sneakers and go for a “free” run, try making the BEST cup of coffee from home, and read the $1.25 Sunday newspaper cover to cover.
Now, many people already do these things. But I will tell you in the San Francisco Bay Area, my unofficially sample observations indicate to me that people aren’t focusing on the virtuous “life after consumption.”
Any reasonable person can only work so many hours a day for so many days in the week. Even unemployment research, work, resume prep, and writing cover letters are tolerable for a few hours each day. But what about using some extra time to volunteer for a charity or cause? The charities I volunteer for usually gift free tickets to cool events where I work for half of the day and enjoy the rest of the day. Such events like a professional soccer game and icerair.com are specific examples of this.
So brush off that old, never ending to-do list, as in “to-do when I actually have a mystery week off.” Start to tackle those items, and heck, brew a pitcher of Crystal Light or other beverage I know you already have in your pantry and invite friends over. Have an “ebay selling” party. I’ve already copied all my CDs onto my external hard drive and I’ve been selling the cds on half.com. I’ve made profit before from selling books in this way, and I’m keeping track of my expenses for shipping and supplies in order to track when this endeavor will reach profitability (not including my time however).
If now isn’t the time, then when? Schedule that dentist appointment, physical, eye appointment, whatever your coverage will bear, do it! Have you research rates on your cell phone plan, auto insurance, etc? Do you track every penny you spend? Do it now, when you’re spending less—it’s already less work J.
Concerned about your job? How about writing about it? How about meeting with a career counselor? How about studying for the LSATs, GMATs, or GREs? Learning is relatively cheap, and buying books is always an investment if you actually read and learn from the books you buy. Better yet, what books on your shelves do you have yet to read? Consider a book swap with friends. You get the idea.
Create an emergency fund or continue to diligently fund your e-fund. Start dreaming about your home, repairs, and other things you currently cannot afford but will be able to afford someday.
Start small. Start exercising ten minutes a day. After 30 days of that, fund your e-fund an additional $100 per month. After 30 days of that, quit smoking. And so on and so forth.
Most importantly, the internet and blogosphere offer accountability and anonimyty to achieving your goals. Leave comments on the blogs you like and become an active blog subscriber where appropriate.
I will conclude my listing my favorite blogs on goal setting and general learning:
- The URL says it all, and Ramit Sethi is an entertaining author.
- Trent is the most consistent blog poster I have come across. It’s instinctual that I continue to read his blog because I actually know which times of day he will update his posts.
- A wonderful journal which chronicles the Young Fabulous and Not so Broke lifestyle of another amazing 20-something blog writer on finance, career, and personal relationships.
- There are only good things to say about Single Ma, the author of this blog. I appreciate her humor and wisedom.
- The best how-to blog on the internet. Shanel is a very intelligent person and her easy to read writing is indicative of this fact.
- Did you accidentally ever look for this blog using “.com” instead? Ha, I have on many occasions. But seek this blog with the “.net” address for inspiring articles on how to reach any goal and live a fulfilling life. Leo has made quite a life for himself, and he is an example to learn from.
- My original subscription to this blog was a borderline obsession. This blog is all about the “top 5,7,10, etc ways to live better”—or many variations of such topics. I enjoy reading this blog when I’m looking for inspiration.
- Because I love online marketing. Learn all about the web and related current events here. You will be a leader in your career by incorporating this blog into your weekly career readings.
- Any female thinking about business school should check out this blog. It’s been a great blog for inspiration and it’s also great for resources to getting into business school and related professions and careers.