Get out of Jail Free


Monopoly was and is a great game.  While the lessons it teaches are probably not ideal in today’s post recession economy the enjoyment of becoming a tycoon and “owning” the world is something that has no compare in our western society.

However while Monopoly is a game the fact that it was actually the “sub-prime” mortgages and housing in general that caused this recession (in a very simplistic explanatory way) is somewhat ironic really and it makes you wonder how many people were playing it and if in some of those cases they were not just playing a game but were rather playing for keeps with our money!

This most recent global recession has had a very large impact on almost everyone.  Quite a few people lost their jobs through redundancies and in addition people had to deal with significant pay and bonus cuts which impacted their bottom line. 

Now while you cannot always control what your employer is going to do – there are things that you can do to minimize the impact of their actions on your life – namely sorting out your own personal finances and reducing your risk and exposure.  Here are some tips that I’ve mentioned in other places (here and here) but they are somewhat timeless and bear repeating.

Budgets –

I’ve mentioned budgets and budgeting many times in the past and it is absolutely essential.  Without knowing where your funds are going you will never be able to start saving and getting into a better place.  A budget is almost the first thing that you should do as with that in hand, quite a few of the other pieces tend to fall into place naturally.

Outstanding Debts –

The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is ensure that you do not have any outstanding debts.  Aside from the fact that unsecured debt impacts your credit rating, the stress of carrying this extra burden is ruinous in and of itself.

Credit Cards and Reward Cards – I won’t say that credit cards are an automatic evil.  In fact if you use them correctly you can actually make money with them with the plethora of reward cards and offers out there but the key at all times is that you need to ensure you are paying your outstanding balance in full at the end of every month.  Simply put carrying a balance on your card is a definite no-no and should be avoided at all costs.

Window Shopping –

Shopping therapy unfortunately is a fact of life, however this must be avoided as it is a very slippery slope and could lead to disaster. Take advantage of the Internet and do your shopping online ... it’s not only a time saver but could end up saving you a significant amount of money also!

Emergency Funds –

The common wisdom is that your emergency fund should be the equivalent of three months’ salary.  This way in case you are out of work, you have a buffer to protect yourself, but if you cannot get your emergency fund up to three times your salary even a small amount helps!

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