Recession-Proofing Your Marriage How couples can ensure survival during volatile times. BY MARK KOLLAR
Times may be tough on your pocketbook, but it doesn't mean you should panic.
There’s no escaping the constant commentary on our country’s slow economic growth. While it may seem a little excessive, don’t bury your head in the sand. Following the old adage, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em; stop avoiding the recession and start taking the steps to get out.
To help ease the blow, couples should work together. Married couples, of any age, can learn and grow by joining forces, to combat their financial situation. The following tips will be helpful to survive a recession and prepare couples for retirement at the same time.
Don’t Stop Believing, Hold On To That…Investment
Don’t stop investing in your 401(k) during a recession! Remember, fortunes are made in this country by investing in small periodic payments. Mortgages, 401(k)s and IRAs are funded with small, generally equal payments every month over a long span of time. Investing now will pay off later and it’s important to keep this in mind.
Secondly, make small investments; out of sight out of mind. Set up an automatic deduction system with your bank. Putting aside an extra $50 a month will eventually add up and if you never see this money in the first place, it won’t seem like a huge blow to your pocket. Don’t try and save beyond your means, a little amount goes a long way. Eventually, you could be able to invest in a CD, thus starting your retirement nest egg.
Finally, be savvy when investing. Make sure your 401(k)s or IRAs are invested in recession proof industries that will still be standing when the economy picks back up. Some of these industries include: debt collection, education, healthcare, security, energy, death services, tax preparation, liquor and food staples.
Debt, Get Out Of It!
Did you splurge on your wedding? Still paying off those student loans? I bet you’re probably in debt. Breathe, it’s alright. Most Americans find themselves in the same position, however you can dig yourself out of this hole.
First, assess the debt you’ve accrued. Rank your debt from smallest to largest and begin by eliminating the smallest amount. Then, take that monthly amount you were paying for the first debt and apply it to the next smallest debts minimum. Eliminating your debt will free you to seize opportunities that you were previously unable to take advantage of. Also, consider bi-weekly mortgage payments. That adds up to one extra payment per year applied to your principal and could save you tens if not hundreds of thousands in mortgage interest.
Secondly, cut back on unnecessary expenses. Pay yourself first and pay off your debt, that big screen TV can wait until you’re in the clear. Be an intelligent consumer, shop in bulk, clip coupons and find a way to save on everything.
Make Smart Decisions!
You’re young and healthy, so you think you could save a few extra bucks by canceling your insurance policy, right? Don’t even think about it. Any health related problem can financially ruin you. Problems during a recession are compounded and can easily send you back to the Stone Age, if you let them. Stick with your insurance policy just in case; this will secure your physical and financial health.
If you have lost your job, don’t dig your heels in and wait for a similar one to appear. You may need to reposition into another industry or a temporary position in an unrelated field. Now is not the time to be picky, grab what you can and consider a move to a recession proof industry.
Armed with the above advice any couple should be able to withstand a recession. The keys are to keep investing, get out of debt and make smart choices. Couples that approach their finances tactically are bound to weather the storm. Money issues are a driving force towards arguments, but if you communicate openly about these issues and make smart decisions, you’ll survive and even prosper.
Mark Kollar is founder of Kollar Financial Strategies in Rosemont, IL. He is a registered investment advisor with 17 years experience in the financial services field. For more information visit, www.kfsfinancial.com.