HERE ARE MY TOP FIVE FINANCIAL STRATEGIES TO HELP SAIL THROUGH UNCERTAIN TIMES. THE BEST PART IS: NONE OF IT RELIES ON THE ECONOMY, YOU’RE IN CHARGE! THAT’S WHY ALL OF THE EXAMPLES USED HERE ARE REAL.
1. Turn a Passion (or Asset) into Income
Have a plan B (ideally, something that you’re passionate about). One of my friends is an avid photographer. Inspired by Ramit Sethi’s 1K on the Side program, he started taking on weekend gigs to generate a side income. Another client, listed his Edmonton home on airbnb.com so that it is no longer vacant when he goes to work in Fort McMurray. Or, if you’re a puppy lover, spotwalk.ca connects dog owners with dog walkers. Get creative – there’s something out there calling your name!
2. Invest in Yourself
To add more value to your employer, upgrade your education. One of my clients – a Third Class Power Engineer working for Suncor – is differentiating himself from the pack by pursuing his Second Class Power Engineering. And, another client – after getting laid off as a property manager – decided to re-direct her deep knowledge of real estate to help more home buyers enter the market, she’s now a successful realtor. Just a little bit of extra invested time can have generous returns.
3. Re-evaluate the usefulness of the “things” in your life
Declutter your home (and mind). For example, that Crockpot you got for your wedding that you never use, or that guitar you were so excited to learn to play but lost interest in. Selling things you don’t use will generate that little extra bit of cash for something you really need – or fund a new hobby. If you are not using it, let it go! It will help clear your space and mind. There are tons of websites to help you sell your old stuff such as kijiji.ca, ebay.ca, amazon.ca, or if you have some vintage items (20 years or older), then etsy.com.
Avoid Financial Pitfalls by Finding Your Blind Spots
4. Re-align your finances to be recession proof
Simple tweaks to your finances can prevent your family’s finances from being ravaged. Here are three that I’ve recommended to clients recently:
- Refocus spending on enjoyment – if your TV bill is running at $100/mo but a $12/mo Netflix subscription is all you really use, cut the cable!
- Renegotiate your bills – you’ll be surprised what your cell phone provider might offer you if you threaten to leave (no, seriously!).
- Realign debt to lower interest accounts (can the 6% car loan be paid off using the 3% secured line of credit?)
5. Hire a Financial Professional
Finally, hiring a good financial planner to help you get organized and firing on all cylinders. The key here is to look for someone who isn’t under pressure to sell a product to you i.e. they will work with you for a fee – not just on commission.
As a Certified Financial Planner, there are additional strategies I have recommended to clients. One client shored up their emergency fund simply by redirecting their RRSP contributions for 6 months and dumping it into a savings account. Another client borrowed funds from his own insurance policy to upgrade his education while yet another reorganized their retirement funding to receive a greater tax refund.