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4 Critical Actions to Help Recession-Proof Your Finances By Kathleen Marteney, CRPC

Looking back over the past two decades to the aftermath of the dot-com bubble and the subprime mortgage crisis, we are reminded that good times do not last forever. In each of these circumstances, we learned that the best way to protect yourself during a recession is to plan and prepare for a potential downturn while the economy is still booming. Following are four critical strategies you should consider now, if you haven’t already, to help you protect your personal finances during a recession.

Build an Emergency Fund

One of the best ways to prepare for an economic downturn is to have an emergency fund saved up to cover at least six months of your living expenses, including, but not limited to, mortgage or rent payments, utilities, health and property insurance, required loan payments, and costs for groceries, gas, child care and medical care. Even if you are lucky enough to stay employed and keep your business running through the current crisis period, an emergency fund can go a long way to cover all of life’s unpredictable expenses, including costly home repairs, appliance replacements and bills for medical care. You can set a goal by working backward, taking into account all of your required monthly expenses. Keep these assets liquid and separate them from your other savings accounts so you can access them quickly without the risk of incurring any tax liabilities. As part of your plan, consider how you will replenish your savings to protect yourself and your finances from an unexpected emergency.

Reassess Investment Portfolio Performance, Goals and Risks

As times change, so too do your needs and goals. No matter your age or where you are in life, it is important to regularly review your investment portfolio against your long-term goals, current risk tolerance and time horizon. It may make sense to adjust your asset allocations to better manage your exposure to ongoing market fluctuations rather than being forced to sell equities at depressed values during an extended bear market. Remember, falling stock prices can be an excellent buying opportunity with the potential for a significant upside.

Pay Down High-Interest Debt

Having outstanding debt through a financial crisis can be crippling, even as interest rates remain low. Try to pay off or pay down any balances on credit cards or other accounts to reduce your bills and minimize your payment obligations through a recession. During this time, lenders generally are willing to work with borrowers to establish more accommodative repayment terms. However, the only way to receive this relief is to reach out and ask for it.

Review and Adjust Budgets and Estate Plans

During times of uncertainty, it is especially difficult to accurately project the impact on your long-term financial picture. It makes sense in this environment to review your current sources of income and compare them to your monthly bills and spending costs to determine if there are opportunities to cut back on unnecessary expenses. It is also important to regularly review your estate plan to ensure it continues to meet your needs and goals and address any potential changes in your family and your financial circumstances.

About the Author: Kathleen Marteney, CRPC, is a financial planner with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. She can be reached at (800) 737-8804 or via email at

Provenance Wealth Advisors, 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.

Kathleen Marteney is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.

Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs. PWA is not a registered broker/deal and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making any investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.

The information contained in this report does not claim to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors.

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Updated June 21, 2023