Ask an economist to define the term “recession” for you and chances are, they’ll tell you that it is a period of the economy where it declines for at least 6 months or more. Let’s face it, that’s just a pretty, picture-book definition. Recessions can affect not just cities and countries, it can also affect individuals and families on a more personal financial level. To help you implement tax and personal anti-recessionary steps, here are a few tips that you can do now to protect yourself during these difficult times:
Start saving. Now!
Yep, sounds simple enough, and it has be repeated over and over, but it is still the best thing that you can do to protect yourself. If you have a nest egg stashed somewhere, GREAT! You are one to the few who understand it’s importance. Boost it with more savings. If you don’t have one, it’s time to start immediately. Implement tax and personal savings steps in order to fight the effects of recession.
Cut back on spending, immediately.
If you think you need everything that you buy, stop and make a list. Take stock of your last few weeks’ worth of receipts and rate each item according to necessity. Chances are, there are at least a few things on that list that you’ll realize now that you didn’t really have to buy.
If you see the same pattern in most of your receipts, that’s a significant sign that you ought to cut back on your daily expenses and seriously implement a budget or spending plan. Think about what you are spending your money on and then stop and ask yourself if things that changed that would make some of those purchases unnecessary. Our world has changed and changes so rapidly that we often overlook expenses that we no longer really need. Consider the daily newspaper. How many really read the newspaper anymore. We get our news from so many places that the daily paper is quickly going the way of the Dodo bird. What about a home phone (land line) or even the cable tv bill? Are you watching your favorite shows online these days? You could also, for example, cancel gym memberships and take up running or home exercises instead, buy items on sale instead of at regular prices and put off any large purchases – cars, TVs, video equipment, furniture, etc.
Take big chunks out of your debt.
Your debt can get you down and it will not hesitate to do the same thing to your credit score. During a recession, a bad credit rating is just not something you want to have. If you have debts in some form (loans, credit cards, mortgage, etc.), try to pay off as much of your debt as possible. The earlier you do this, the better it will be for your finances.
Clearing your debts is an excellent anti-recession step because it helps save you money in terms of interest. It will also give you peace of mind and the personal satisfaction of being in charge.
Consider investing? Ask a professional.
An experienced financial adviser can help you understand the kind of options you have, given your own resources and the type of risks you are willing to take. Recession can make investing much more of a challenge, particularly for the uninitiated. That is why you’ll need all the help you can get in order to find the best places where to put your money in.
Know your deductibles.
Review your tax code for the types of items that you can include in your deductibles. Remember that not all expenses can be used as deductions. Only if you can prove them ‘ordinary and necessary’ will the tax man consider them.
Keep all receipts for deductions.
Audit or no audit, it pays to have documents that support your tax claims, especially if they refer to deductions. Get organized regarding your files, particularly those that pertain to your business or work. Keep things where you can readily access them and use for reference later.
Consider leasing your business vehicle.
If you want to give yourself better tax performance, a good anti-recession tip to follow is to lease that car of yours. This will help get you better deductions compared to what you’ll receive if you purchased the vehicle.
When in doubt, always refer to a professional.
The personal anti-recession tips you obtain will usually work seamlessly but some steps involving taxes might have certain limitations. Before implementing these steps, you might want to consult a basic taxation guide or see an accountant or bookkeeper. They can guide you on what you can and should do based on your own unique circumstances.