Anybody checking the headlines of business news channels or the cover lines of magazines including Black Enterprise, will see plenty of advice on coping with a struggling economy, rising prices and the threat of recession.
Pay down and avoid credit card debt. Cut costs and eliminate unnecessary spending. When you do spend, shop around for the best bargains. Boost personal savings; establishing an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. Create a household budget and stick to it.
The funny thing is, these are the smart money habits we should have been practicing all along, the wealth-building lifestyle that Black Enterprise has always stressed in both good and tough economic times. In fact, the people suffering most during these times of economic stress are the ones who ignored these common sense rules of personal finance. When times were flush, they bought more home than they could afford, bigger cars than they needed and made every luxury a necessity. But if you look around, you’ll notice that some of us are less stressed than others. They are the ones that used our most recent and lamented period of economic growth not to spend more, but to boost savings, reduce debt, control spending and solidify their financial positions.
The silver lining of these tough economic times is the bracing but liberating realization that we can live on less, and we should have been doing so all along. Good money management habits are not just for recessions. We should not wait for an economic downturn to force us to do what we should have been doing anyway. Let’s hope that we retain that lesson when the economy rebounds.
Alfred Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com