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Economic Depression Survival Strategies

The strategies that follow are all about being prepared. You don't need to become paranoid to realize that times could get tough, nor do you need to become a hard-core gun-toting survivalist to be ready for an economic depression. Some street smarts and a willingness to do what's needed can help you with survival after a job loss or worse. Of course it's better to prevent as many problems as you can in the first place. With that in mind, here are some ways to be prepared for some worst case scenarios as well as the ordinary ups and down of life in interesting times.

Maintain that Income During a Depression

Tough times aren't so tough if you still have your job or other income. Actually, if you make the same money when prices are dropping, things get better for you. Homes cost less, stocks are on sale, and a depression can present many opportunities. To be prepared then, and to be ready to take advantage of the possibilities, find ways to preserve your current income.

Here are some possible options for that goal:

Get a better job in a more secure industry.

Let the boss see that you're a great worker.

Get transferred to parts of the company that probably won't face job cuts.

Reduce costs in your small business as soon as sales start slumping - or before.

Get a second job.

Put in overtime or extra shifts and save the extra money.

Start a low-investment, low-risk business to develop an alternate income source.

Use savings to produce investment income with real estate.

Use savings to produce investment income with dividend-paying stocks.

Economic Depression - Survival Is about Preparation

There is always a chance you'll lose your primary income no matter how secure it seems - something that's true in good times and bad. But in tough times it can take a while to replace that money that's no longer coming in. Preparation in your personal life is therefore crucial. Some possible preparations follow, along with some ideas on what matters most.

It helps tremendously to cut your fixed expenses as much as possible. The first ones to reduce or cut out are things like payments for appliances or rental furniture. Just return them and set aside the payments you would have made until you can pay cash for new or good used items.

Why is this important? Because as soon as you lose your job you can stop trips to the movies or bar, but these recurring expenses are harder to quickly reduce. They can drag you down fast. Get rid of the extra car you don't really need, or the unused boat that costs you for maintenance, insurance and plates for the trailer. In fact, list all of your household expenses and find ways to reduce each one. But start with those that would be the most difficult to reduce quickly when hard times arrive.

If your job happens to be in a particularly insecure industry, like making cars, selling real estate, or brokering mortgage loans, seriously consider a more drastic downsizing of your life. It can make you a lot safer. If, for example, you find a $600-per-month apartment in place of a $1,200 one, you can set aside an additional $9,000 in 15 months to be ready for whatever happens. You'll also have a much easier time paying that rent if you lose your job or your income is reduced. Consider a nice $3,000 used car (they exist of you look) in place of paying $500 per month on a newer one means you can save another $7,500 in 15 months. An added benefit: No repossession risk if your income disappears.

To the extent possible try to develop other sources of income. A side business that makes a few hundred dollars per month and some dividend-paying stocks that generate regular checks can make a big difference. You might lose your job, but it's unlikely you'll lose all three sources of income at the same time.

One more economic depression survival strategy: Make contingency plans for possible scenarios. What level of income can you live on if you lose your job or business, and how? Make a plan and maybe try living on that amount for a week or month to see if your plan is workable. It may be possible to sell some of your things if necessary, but do you know what they'll bring in a fast sale at a pawn broker or rummage sale? Can you find another job quickly if you lose your current one, and do you know where? List possible jobs and who you'll need to contact if and when the time comes. Keep those phone numbers in a safe place.

To sum up these strategies: Reduce regular expenses, develop other income streams, have plans in place and money in a bank account. If you take those steps you'll be better prepared than most for economic hard times or any other future scenarios.

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Economic Depression Survival