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Turbulent times can upend financial best practices such as saving and budgeting.
They’re also an opportunity to rethink your goals and reset for the future.
During the Great Recession, Tiffany Aliche, founder of personal finance blog The Budgetnista, was in dire straits. She lost her job teaching at a nonprofit school and had to move back in with her parents at age 30, she told CNBC’s Sharon Epperson during Tuesday’s CNBC Path Forward: Your Money Summit.
A decade later, she’s in a very different place — her credit score is more than 800 and she’s her own boss. Here are a few hacks that Aliche and Winnie Sun, co-founder and managing director of Irvine, California-based Sun Group Wealth Partners, recommend for weathering a financial rough patch.
1. Shift to a “health and safety budget” if you need to
One thing Aliche wishes she had done differently during the last recession is given herself permission to follow a health and safety budget, which is when you look at your expenses and ask if you need to pay a bill in order to maintain your health and safety, she said.
“If not, it will have to wait,” she said, adding that you should also reach out to your lenders to tell them about your situation and if you can’t make a payment.
“I desperately tried to keep up instead of keeping up with myself,” she said, adding that it didn’t help — she still lost everything, and her credit took a huge hit.
“I wish I had not put myself in that situation,” she said. “I am more important than my debt.”
2. Seek out experts for help
Even if you are going through difficult times, you don’t have to experience them alone, according to Sun, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor council.
Finding a money buddy — someone you can talk over financial questions or concerns with — can help, she said. Sun suggests finding a financial expert or certified financial planner who’s been in business for more than a decade, as it means they managed money through the last downturn.
She also said to take it one day at a time and remember that things will get better. “You’re not going to be here forever because you’re already thinking of a way out of this,” she said.
3. Find creative ways to bring in money
While finding traditional jobs may be difficult right now because of the pandemic, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find ways to make money, according to Aliche and Sun.
“During times like this, more entrepreneurs are made than ever,” said Aliche. She recommends joining entrepreneur groups on platforms such as Facebook and tapping into your existing skillset for things to monetize — someone may need administrative help or design work done that you could do.
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Sun recommends keeping up with social media, even if you’re currently out of work. That includes beefing up your LinkedIn profile and actively engaging with your network a few times a day. She also says not to overlook sites such as Craigslist or Facebook ads for job opportunities.
“Don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be the perfect job,” said Sun. “It just needs to be something that you feel good about and can bring you money.”
4. Envision the future you want for actionable steps
If you’re looking at your current situation and trying to plan, the best way to set realistic goals is to take time to think about the future you want — and then work backwards, according to Aliche and Sun.
“Then you can have a clear goal and task list where you can check things off,” said Aliche.
Once you have a set goal, you should also make it as easy as possible to achieve it, according to Sun.
“Title your accounts with the names of your goals, and then set up automated savings so your goals get funded every time you get paid or have income,” she said. “Make it so you aren’t the gatekeeper to your financial success.”