Worried About a Recession Coming? A Few Things to Consider.

Three tips for coping with the recession threat.

Danielle Labotka 23 March, 2023 | 4:08AM
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It’s nearly impossible to turn on the news without seeing someone declare a recession is nigh, but investors don’t even need to listen to prognosticators to see the signs for themselves.

Last year, the markets exhibited volatility that had many reeling. In the past few months, there have been numerous high-profile layoffs in the technology sector—something that previously seemed unfathomable in the rapidly growing industry. And just this month, markets and investors were rocked by both the emergence of a banking scare and the U.S. Fed announcing that it expected to raise interest rates higher and for longer than expected to get inflation in check.

There are a lot of financial stressors out there right now, but unfortunately, discussing money tends to be taboo. This is problematic under ordinary circumstances, as it can prevent honest and productive conversations about money at work and at home. It’s completely normal to want to act—many already have. But we think it is important to act within reason. As always, you should act in your best interest and not be drawn to following the herd, which can lead to undesirable outcomes. Here are a few tips:

  • Seek out trusted sources of advice. These days, there is no shortage of good advice, but there is also no shortage of bad advice. When seeking advice on the internet, turn to sources that provide well-researched information and puts investor outcomes first. You might also consider breaking that money taboo and talking to friends and family members whose financial habits you admire (but be wary of the urge to compete). Finally, you may consider talking to a financial advisor. Find a fiduciary who is legally required to act in your best interests.

  • Make it easy to follow through. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by making it simple to execute your plan. For example, if you want to beef up your emergency savings, you might consider setting up automatic bank deposits to your savings account every time you get paid. That way, instead of having to make the decision to save some money each pay period, you make the decision once and let the savings accrue without further action. If you want to invest more but find the prospect of deciding how to invest your money daunting, consider outsourcing those decisions to a financial advisor or a robo-advisor.

  • Stay the course. If things go sideways, it can be hard to stick to a ready-made plan. Making it difficult to deviate from the plan can save you from yourself. One way to create friction is to set up a cooling-off period. To do so, you might decide that if you suddenly want to cash out some investments that are not doing well, you won’t let yourself act on this decision for three days. You may find that getting distance from the heat of a bad day changes your mind. Another way to create friction is to make yourself reckon with the high costs associated with making trades before taking any action.

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Danielle Labotka  is a contributor to Morningstar.

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