Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The corporate casualties are mounting: Lehman, AIG, Citigroup, Ford, Chrysler, GM. Countries are applying for loan: Iceland, Georgia and Pakistan to name a few. This is the recession we are now facing and it is wise to face the truth. The truth that life will be more difficult before it will get better.
In my beloved Lucena City where I am currently based, the word recession is known only to a very few people. These are the well read and those with investment in mutual funds and stocks. These few people, however , are already feeling the pinch because the value of their investment shrinks by 40%. You may correctly say that they are becoming poor as the days march.
How can we recession proof our family and our finances? Are there ways to shield us from this big R?
Some experts say yes but these experts are based in USA or in Europe and hardly apply to the Philippine environment. Let me share my views as my share to you my dear readers and to the million of Filipinos who are clueless at the moment:
1. Protect your job. This is the very first thing that you should do. This is the reason why you and your family are still eating 3 times a day. Do not be a candidate for retrenchment, lay-off or right-sizing. (Different words but same meaning: reducing company cost by firing employees). How will you protect yourself?. Do your job excellently, be an active contributor and surpassed your to-do-lists by doing more. Report early to work and stay late if necessary. Inform your boss of your accomplishments. There is no other way but to make yourself a brand that can be easily recalled.
2. Protect your health. All of us know that being hospitalized cost an arm and a leg. The hospitals will squeeze every penny that you have. It is better to buy healthy foods now than to buy medicines for your disease. Meat everyday? Think twice. Lambanog every night?.Noooooo way!.
3. Protect your wallet. What I mean is spend below your means. If you can follow the 10% rule of paying yourself first you can be in a better financial position than the rest who spend 100% of their income. Those who have discipline and can save 20% of their income you are part of the few Filipinos who knows how to protect their wallet.
4. Protect your investment. Those who are willing to buy stocks you will find the price so low that having a time horizon of 10-20 years will surely provide you a harvest of profit. Those who are willing to buy stock mutual fund this is the right time to invest. You just practice peso-averaging. Those having stocks and mutual funds right now, I sympathize with you for suffering heavy losses. But if you need the money for the next 20 years, why weep? Time is on your side.
5. Protect yourself. If you have children below 15 years old it is a must for you to have insurance. You don’t need the expensive whole life insurance. Term insurance will do and it is cheap. How will your family survived if you will be hit by a lightning while reading this article?.
6. Protect your home and love ones. Be sure that you are drinking clean water and eating food not heavily exposed to chemicals. Maintaining your house to make it a sanctuary of peace and love is a necessity. If you can repair your house to save money do so. But if you don’t have the skills and safety is not assured outsource it to the expert. Just make sure they will not over charge you. It is a paramount to have a house where you can recharge your body and it is only possible if the roof is not leaking.
7. Protect your faith. In this time of uncertainty you should be certain on your faith. Those people who profess that they belong to a religious group have s strong tendency to carry on despite any kind of difficulty. The power of prayer can move mountain, heck, it may move the value of your stocks also.
8. Protect your skills. In this era of technology, skills are kings. The more skills a person have the more chance of earning more money. Err on the side of the kings, get more skills.
If you are paid to think protect your brain. Read a lot about your trade, perfect your grammar, learn how to pronounce properly, learn how to present your ideas and yes answer that Soduko. Likewise if you are paid to use your hands protect it by all means necessary. Wear safety gloves, rest it when you are tired and make sure to make your fingers intact because severing it will make your employer think twice of keeping you. Whatever your source of power and income it is absolutely wise to nurture it.
Arnel L. Cadeliña
(You may e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org)