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How to Improve Your Sense of Security in Uncertain Economy

Sense of Financial SecurityPeople are often being overly reactive when it goes to bad situations.

The recession itself is happening largely due to global public reaction toward financial crisis, that is more often than not, doesn’t actually affect them directly whatsoever.

Negative outlook on financial issues cost the community lost productivity, thus worsening the effect of the financial crisis.

As a major part of your community, you, in whatever way possible, need to feel secure about your financial stature.

Why? Because if you feel secure about your financials and your life in general, you will be able to affect the community surrounding you.

Sense of security

Improving personal sense of security has never been this important in the past decades.

Sense of security is driven by facts and assumptions. The more you assume, the more insecure you will be. The more you identify facts, the more secure you will be.

Sense of security = know more facts and less assumptions.

Assumptions can be ‘altered’ into and identified as facts – no matter they are right or wrong – if you increase your knowledge through learning from reliable sources.

Facts also related to control. If you want to feel secure, you need to gain (and regain) more control on your life based on a set or series of facts.

Financial sense of security

In term of finance, assumptions leave you unguarded.

For example, consider these statements: “Stock A will go up in 10 minutes.” “Real estate B will increase in value.” etc.

The problem in the above example, is due to the fact that nobody can guarantee the above statement. Any guarantees on such would be classified as misleading, even illegal.

On the other hands, facts can secure your personal finance and help you see things from the right perspective.

For example, consider these statements: “I’m getting a 10% rate of return on my investment.” “The foreclosure houses I bought make me $150 positive cashflow per month.”

Warren Buffet, the maestro of investment, do all of his investment based on intrinsic value – the facts – not based on the floating stock value on stock exchanges – the assumptions.

Again, it is all about control. “Sure things” improve control, hence reducing investment risks.

How to improve your financial sense of security these days

You need to get more facts about personal finance. You will eventually find out that there is a certain consensus between personal finance experts about some of the best practices in managing your finances.

Such knowledge you acquire should be enhanced with tools that can help you with a more exact (and measurable) facts. For example, the use of Savings Calculator to learn how much you would receive within a period of time can provide you with a measurable fact that allow you to decide what’s best for your personal finance – finding savings account that yield you more, finding new investment that can increase the speed of your money, and so on.

Nevertheless, your diligence in increasing your financial knowledge will determine how secure you feel about your personal finance, and how well you cope (and thrive) in today’s economic crisis.

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Where to Invest Your Money during Recession: Real Estate

Real Estate InvestingWhen you heard about real estate investing in today’s recession, the majority would react by saying, “avoid at all cost.”

The sub-prime mortgages, the sky-high interest rates, and the sharp decline in value – all seem against real estate investing.

However, I encourage you to have a surfer’s mindset that I have occasionally mentioned in my previous posts.

The surfer mindset

Surfer loves challenges. In fact, challenges are what make a surfer perform.

For example, in a surfing competition, weak tides can be a huge, single, factor that will fail the surfer to win the competition. The stronger the tides, the more challenging they will become and the better the surfers showcase their surfing skills.

However, take heed – if your surfing skills are somewhat low, strong tides will swallow you; The key is utilising the right skill sets on the right opportunities.

In your personal finance, you need to increase your financial knowledge in order to ride the right waves, with the right skill sets. Playing too safe will hinder you from achieving the financial milestones you have set. Exposing yourself to risks too much will put you into financial difficulties, even personal bankruptcy.

One of the waves in today’s tide of recession: real estate investing

Real estate is one of the hardest hit sector that causes property owners and brokers alike struggling financially.

If you thought about investing in real estate during recession, it wouldn’t be the right decision to invest your money.

Or, is it?

Many real estates are losing their value – how can they be a good place to invest your money?

Robert Kiyosaki, the best seller writer of Rich Dad Poor Dad series, stated controversially that a house is not an asset, because it is not putting money in your pocket.

General public and many experts are slamming him for such controversial statement, but his statement proves true in today’s recession.

Homes are losing value, the interest rates are high, and the demand is low – the dreaded sub-prime mortgage.

However, as everything in life, there is always a good thing in every bad thing.

Today is probably the best time to invest in real estate, for one reason: Higher mortgage interest rate = Lower real estate demand = lower price tag.

As the real estate business crashes, property prices are in decline, too. Foreclosures are everywhere – this means, opportunities are everywhere, at a discounted price tag. Of course, your eyes for real estate values and prospects play an important role.

One last advice: never invest in real estate with an expectation that your property’s value will go up – it’s not always the case. Instead, invest with cash flow comes first in mind – your property as a rental property.

Image by terren in Virginia.

Stock Market Crash in 2008 – Will It Recover by 2010?

Economic RecoveryNobody can really predict when the stock market turmoil will peak, including the recession, but a chart and article from the Daily Kos gives us a quite legitimate starting point to guesstimate on when the economy is prospering (again.)

The S&P Market Index Chart

sp_from_1825From this chart, the block represents a year and the columns represent a range of return on the S&P index.

We can learn that in the middle column, those are the typical years where the market has risen from 0 to 10%. This bell-shaped chart looks ‘normal’ in economic situation, but have a look at the left-side of the bell chart – yes, there goes the year 2008, at -50% S&P market index change.

A certainly lackluster year, 2008 is as bad as the worst stock market crash in the history of S&P, back in 1931.

What does it mean? Welcome to one of the worst years in stock market history! Hopefully, the 2009 will not be the worst year of the stock market history. But, even if the record breaking happened, I still believe somehow that economic recovery is right on the corner.

How well do the government react to the fact?

The US government, through the Fed, are trying to do what they think will save the US economy – record breaking funding to save banking and financial institutions, such as AIG, from collapsing.

Although not the best possible solution, as I think doing so will eventually bury US economy deeper into recession – perhaps not today, but most probably in the near future, what the Fed did is arguably give much needed friction to slow down not only the US recession, but also global recession.

Are there still hope?

Well, the 1931 crash did followed by a big rebound in 1933, where the stock market achieved a 60% return. Will this also be the case, that the crash in 2008 will be followed by similar improvement in 2010?

Although highly inaccurate, hopefully such assumption will become a reality – the sooner, the better.

As I already stated in my previous posts, I think that the negative sentiments make global economic recovery slow, as financially and psychologically distressed people will likely to react in skepticism toward any efforts to recover the global economy.

So, I conclude that all is coming back to the media – what the media preach will affect the recovery process, as people will ‘blindly’ count on the media (including on the experts), rather than their own common sense and financial knowledge, to seek ways to quit recession.

Hopefully the media (including this blog) can affect the recovery in a positive way.

Image by Alan_D.

Eventually, How You Survive the Recession Depends on Your Financial Intelligence

MoneyI once asked by my reader in my other blog – When do you think the recession will end, and how?

I really am having a hard time to answer the question. So may opinions from experts and public, as well.

To tell you the truth, I can’t imagine how the recession will end, and when will it eventually ends.

Some experts say that the recession will peak within 2 or 3 years, and things will improve gradually from there – so, rough road ahead.

Regarding how the recession will end, here’s an interesting estimate – According to this article, the average recession lasted for 10.8 months. Therefore, according to the data, on average, the recession should end last November 2008, and the longest would probably ended on April 2009.

Not exactly the case, in my opinion. Why?

Negative sentiment drive today’s recession more than before

I think that today’s recession might not be your typical recession. The emotional turmoil is as bad as the economic turmoil, in such a way that people left with unsecurity, uncertainty and negative thinking.

Even though the economy is supposedly rebounded on November 2008, the economic downturn inertia will lengthen the recession, even beyond what’s estimated as the long recession mentioned in the article above, April 2009.

As a non financial expert, but a self-made student of human behaviour, I view the recession will go well over April 2009, and will reach the peak on mid or late 2010.

I’m not sure, but neither the expert.

The best survival tool: financial education

Regarding how the recession will end, my answer would be this:

As everything in life – such as the ripple in a lake decreases when the wind speed decreases – after the panic, buzz and negative sentiment sustain themselves in people, the recession will gradually peaked and the economy will rebound – all with viral effects, as sentiment is contagious; The positive outlook of the economy will gradually, in itself, improve economy situation.

The question: How to accelerate economy sustainability?

The answer: As people start to gather themselves and start to learn from the situation, their financial intelligence increases gradually, and the new understanding will accelerate economy recovery – eventually.

The availability of money guides and money information, especially online, will help people to learn better, faster.

Nowadays, the phrase “Time is money” has never been this true before – the faster people learn, the sooner recession will end – the knowledge will set you free.

Image by emdot.

What You Can Do to Improve Today’s Economy

With the recent developments on global economy, especially in Asian region, I suspect that recession will peak soon – we are certainly not there, yet.

The news on Asia stock sink and the similar situation in Dow Jones, New York confirmed that we are not at the recession peak.

Again, it’s all about mindset and psychology

People are paranoid and anxious these days with the economic turbulence and uncertainty worldwide. Every single news item can shake the entire region economic stability, causing (another) breakdown in stock markets.

The money problems and the pressure of negative outlook of economy and life is mounting, leaving people stressed, uncreative and unproductive. This alone affects businesses, and eventually the stock markets.

How you and I can affect the global economy

The butterfly effect – a small action in your local area can affect the bigger community overseas, and eventually worldwide. This is how the recession started and will end someday.

The stressed you will affect your relatives, friends, and colleagues. Your relatives, friends and colleagues will affect theirs, and so on. Soon, your local community is affected, and eventually the wider community is affected.

And who do you think start the recession in your region? That’s right – You and I.

You need to learn to cope in stressful times

Colin Allen of Psychology Today wrote an interesting article about the story of a woman who step up to cope with the stressful times, due to recession and the inability to achieve what she has been planning and envisioning about.

The idea behind Colin’s article is that in tough times, like today’s massive recession, people have to learn to accept uncertainty in order to cope and marvel life challenges.

Recession will end, eventually, and will start again later on – the cycle will always present as the place we live in is not an ideal world. There will be another war, there will be another shortage and again, there will be another recession.

You and I need to move on. Otherwise, the economy won’t rebound if the community and the government didn’t do anything positive and creative to cope the recession.

Again, it is simply a butterfly effect, as a small (positive) act can affect the global community in a good way. What’s more, confidence is contagious. You can start to cope your life’s pressure, and start affecting the people around you. Soon, you will see the economy, at least your local community’s economy, will be better somehow.

Image by polandeze.

Know About Money and Finance More May Help You Beat Today’s Recession

I am a firm believer that recession is more a mind game than a fact. Of course, the impact is real, but the real battlefield is in your mind.

Outlook and mindset play a major role in how well you get through today’s recession.

Are you poor because of today’s recession?

Outlook and mindset operate just like the vague and highly relative statement, such as “I’m poor” or “I’m rich.” To the ones who make such statement, the right question to ask is “Are you satisfied of what you have right now?”

We all know that the rich-and-poor issues are focused on one thing – money. To modify the above question, “Are you satisfied of how much money you have now?”

I rarely see someone who loses his/her wealth and/or lifestyle can accept his/her condition well. Not because one doesn’t have any money, but because of the drop in lifestyle.

To make my point, consider this recent story of a recession victim in China – a billionaire lost two-thirds of her money, from approximately 8 billion dollars to 3 billion dollars due to the recent stock market crash. What do you think of this? Is she poor? no. Is she rich? yes. But she might not see the way you see the 3 billion dollars left on the table.

Indeed, many people are personally bankrupt because of the recession. But many more claim that they have gone ‘bankrupt’ and ‘poor’, which, in fact, they actually don’t – they just unsatisfied of the dropped lifestyle and net worth.

Learn more about money, survive recession better

Outlook and mindset can be influenced by the information and knowledge you acquire about finance, money and the economy.

The more you know about money and recession, the more you prepared. The more you understand them, the more you can do to face recession.

Although not all information is positive in nature, you can always benefit from others’ struggle in facing recession, and how they finally ace it.

Where to look for money information

I prefer blogs and forums to look for money information, because they are often offbeat and personalised – this will help me better personally.

What about news sites? I read the news, but only on a need-to-know basis. I prefer blogs and forums because they opinionate the news, which help me enhancing my outlook and changing my mindset.

TalkMoneyBlog.co.uk is one of the blog I stumble on searching for money info, offering blog posts, forums and resources on money. Although the forums and resources are useful, I particularly enjoy reading the blog posts.

Here’s some of my favourite posts from the blog:

Wherever you look for money info, just make sure one thing – you can beat today’s recession by knowing more about your money. Learning will opens up new thinking, and like it or not, it will emerges opportunities to benefit from.

All is coming back to you – will you ‘capitalise’ the information and knowledge you acquire?