I think it’s safe to say that no one saw Covid-19 coming. None of us thought that we would be unable to travel, unable to see our family and none of us would have foreseen so many people losing their livelihoods, their jobs, and their lives.
We may be lucky here in Singapore, but some were not so lucky. Those who lost their jobs have had to rely on their savings or may have even had to borrow money to stay afloat.
Although we could not have predicted 2020, there are ways that we can prepare for another blip in our financial prosperity. Here is what I suggest.
- Manage your Debt
I feel like I’ve mentioned this already in previous articles but I cannot stress how important it is. When things go wrong, like losing a job for example, the monthly bills do not stop. Rent still has to be paid, the water bill will still have to be paid and, if you have debt, the monthly instalments don’t stop. That’s why it is imperative that you try and clear your debt or at least minimise your debt as soon as possible. That way, you can start focusing on other aspects of your financial life and focus on how you can grow money, not just how you can get through month to month.
2. Have an Emergency Fund
I really do sound like a broken record but, imagine if you lost your job and had no savings? You would either have to borrow money, or sell off your assets, neither of which are ideal. So, it is imperative that you are disciplined with keeping an emergency fund of at least 3 months of your salary. This money should be easy to access but not one that you dip into frequently. This fund should be for emergencies only, and used only when very necessary.
3. Have a Market Opportunity Fund
If you really want to take use of a market crash, it’s a good idea to have funds set aside for a market opportunity. This fund could be from extra savings each month from cutting your monthly expenses, or after managing your debt. You can then use this money for investing when markets are low. For example, buying stocks when they are cheap.
4. Be Disciplined With Your Investing
So, you bought some stocks cheap with your Market Opportunity Fund…now what? I would suggest making use of a term called ‘dollar cost averaging’. I have explained this term in my post ‘Investment Terms You Need To Know’. It is best to make your investing almost automatic; the same amount each month or year, so that you can weather the storm of market volatility. It means that you will earn more from your investments in the long run, instead of timing the market.
5. Diversify Your Investments
Look at what happened in 2020…the industries that were most affected were airlines, hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment. People that had stocks in these companies could have lost a lot of money. Therefore, it’s best to diversify your investment portfolio so that you have a mixture of stocks, bonds etc in lots of different industries, to minimise the risk of loss.
6. Have a Side Hustle
My last point is really an optional one, to ensure that you never miss out on making money should another crash happen. Some people, like myself, are not able to have a side hustle (fyi because of my visa I cannot have more than one job). But, if you have a different skill or something that can be sold from home, it may be good to explore it further and monetise on it. For example, you may be very good at Photoshop or good at website design. These are services that you can sell and do whilst you are at home.
Follow these steps and not only survive but thrive in the next market crash!