What to Do in (Financially) Gloomy Times

This is for the person who feels financially “gloomy.”

Keep reading only if: (a) you’re convinced the economy will be bad for a while; and (b) because of that belief, you’ve put a halt to investing and all other financial moves.

I understand why you feel cautious. I get wanting to be safe and watch from the sidelines.

But the choice to do nothing is problematic for at least two reasons.

One, nobody can say with certainty when the current gloom will give rise to the next boom. Sitting out can mean missing out.

Two, investing is only one facet of your total financial life. Even in gloomy times, there are other financial moves you can make while you are “waiting” for the economy to get better. 

Let me give you two.

  • Stop procrastinating your PROTECTION.

What would happen if you: (1) died prematurely; (2) became disabled; or (3) needed long-term nursing home care? 

Whew, that’s a depressing list, isn’t it?

Which is precisely my point. Because these kinds of real-life scenarios are so unpleasant to think about, it’s easier to not think about them. We put them off.

Don’t do that. Just because the stock market isn’t soaring like you wish it would doesn’t mean you get exempted from a crisis potentially crashing into your life. 

While the market languishes, work with a professional and get a reasonable level of financial protection around yourself—and your family.

That’s a smart financial move for gloomy times. Here’s one more

  • Start accelerating your THRIFT. 

“Thrift” is a word we don’t use much anymore. It implies financially carefulness. It’s being frugal with money—the opposite of a “spendthrift.”

It used to be a high compliment if someone called you “thrifty.” Today? Not so much. Frugal people get called “tight” or “cheap.” (Ask yourself: Would I rather be “cool” or “financially healthy”?)

Thrift starts with an attitude. You give thoughtful consideration to how you handle money. You ask questions like:

  • What is really most important to me, given that my resources (income) are limited? 
  • Since I can’t have it all, what’s more important—getting a new vehicle with all the bells and whistles…or moving a step closer to financial freedom and independence?

The road to bankruptcy court—to update the old saying—is paved with good intentions. And so, it’s critical to move down the thrift continuum from attitude to behavior. 

The goal is a thrifty mental attitude that results in consistent thrifty habits. 

That means things like: saving first, thinking before spending, putting away (and paying down) those credit cards, and seeking advice and counsel in the financial areas where you lack knowledge. 

Let’s suppose this economic mess we’re in lasts for a while—perhaps even years. (I’m not predicting; I’m simply making a point.) 

In that case, ask yourself two questions:

  • Would I be better off sitting on my hands and grumbling about how bad things are? Or…
  • Would my time, energy, attention (and money!) be better spent doing what I can with what I have? 

Then make these two smart moves:

  • Improve your protection. 
  • Increase your thrift. 

Is the question of retirement income one of the things that’s got you feeling gloomy? Email me at bmoore@argentadvisors.com. I’ll send you a free link to take the RISA® Profile. This simple quiz takes mere minutes, and it can save you a LOT of worry down the road.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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