Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How To Survive an Election Year Financial Meltdown

I know what some of you are saying, "Why should I listen to what you have to say about the economy? You're a self-help guy, who specializes in healthy lifestyle and personal development, as well as makes funny (goofy) videos and goofy (funny) parody songs."

Why? Because in dire times like these (seen the Business headlines recently?), during the most important presidential election of our lifetime, it takes a commonsense and practical approach to combat all the craziness going on out there.

Q: But, Mike, you write and make videos about diet and nutrition, motivation and how-to, what do you know about finances?

A: As much as the next guy, and more than enough to help you.



Wall Street seems to feed on panic--panic buying and panic selling. While others overreact and sell off their stocks and put their cash in safer investments, you don't need to follow suit. Unless you need the money from those investments right now, standing pat is still the best option. Why? Because stocks eventually ALWAYS come back up--this is a historical fact. And if they don't, then we're all in trouble. This too shall pass.


Rarely, as a self-help, fitness guru, do I suggest sitting back and doing nothing. But, in this case, go right ahead! Pass the popcorn and park it on the couch. Okay, you still need your daily exercise, but with regards to your money--LEAVE IT ALONE. Sit on it. In fact, the best advice that I hear the most from those that get paid to know this sort of thing is: DO NOT stop contributing to your 401k or IRA. Why? Right now stocks are cheap. When the market goes down, prices go down. The more stock you purchase NOW, at lower prices, the more you will have LATER, when the market stabilizes and goes back up. Think about it.


Simplify your life. Cut back, spend less. Analyze what you NEED versus what you WANT. If you dine out 3-4 times a week, cut that in half. Do you really need satellite TV and radio? The recent trend now is stay-at-home vacations--you spend less on gas and airfare, while discovering local attractions you may have been missing, or avoiding, for years.

Bottom line: Simplify your life and save money.


How much do you spend a year on that health club membership? Figure out a way to stay in shape at home, and cancel that costly membership. Walking is one of the least expensive, but most effective, ways to stay in shape. Plus, it gets you outside, and is good for the mind and spirit. In times like these, that's a good thing.

If you desire a more strenuous workout, look into purchasing dumbbells, a stationary bike or other equipment; whatever fits your specific needs. The initial investment may smart a little at first, but will more than pay for itself for years and years.


While exercise and keeping fit are vital aspects of personal growth, don't stop there. Continue working on self-improvement and personal development all the time. livelife365.com offers hundreds of self-help videos that can change your life for the better, all free of charge and just a mouse-click away.


There is no place continued growth is more important right now than in the job market. Now is not the time to take your job for granted. Nor is it the time to mess up the job you have. Yes, keep that resume handy and continue networking and sharpening your skills so that you are more marketable. But you also need to keep your boss happy with your work. Work harder. Do the best job you can to make yourself indispensable. Most companies will have cutbacks and layoffs--YOU cannot control this. But you CAN control your effort, productivity, and attitude.

ALWAYS be in the TOP ranked twenty percent of good performers, not the bottom twenty.

Why? GOOD companies seldom layoff GOOD employees.

Be good, listen to your boss!


Enjoy yourself. Enjoy each day. Live life 365. This simply means to live your life every day in every way. Yes, times are tough, the economy is a mess, the world is a bigger mess, but you can still find a way to enjoy the little things in life that have nothing to do with the bigger things that are out of your control.

Every Day Every Way


Now is the time to roll up those sleeves and get to work. But you're already working on self and your job; what next? Go outside, dig up the garden. If you don't have a garden, start one. Landscape. Mow the lawn. Do house repairs, spring or fall cleaning. Learn a new (inexpensive) hobby. Do it yourself. Besides saving you a ton of money, DIY is good for the mind, body, and spirit. A sense of self-accomplishment goes a long way. And if you're picking ripe tomatoes off the vine, you're not worrying about Wall Street. Besides, growing your own will save you more money in the long run (and they taste so much better, too!). Can, bottle, preserve, or freeze whatever you can't consume now, and have a winter of homegrown, inexpensive veggies.


And your portfolio. The only movement you should be doing with your portfolio is rebalancing it. This simply means you need to take a look at your asset allocations. When there are sharp fluctuations in the stock market, your assets will also shift. But do me a favor, check with your financial consultant before you do anything.

As for you and YOUR balance: you should always be working on managing your Triad of Balance, the harmonic balance between Mind, Body, and Spirit.


Now, more than ever, we need some major changes in Washington. If YOU do not like what is happening in YOUR life due to decisions made by our political leaders, YOU have the power to CHANGE it.

The current financial meltdown we are witnessing needs to be fixed. Fixed fast! We have the choice to keep on making the same mistakes that have led us here.

Or opt for CHANGE.

For the better.

I hope these tips help make dealing with these turbulent times a bit easier. And always remember that YOU have more power than you think to CHANGE your LIFE.




EuroYank - Virginia Hoge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Excellent advice, especially the part where you say to vote! :)

I think this year we'll see record numbers for the 18 to 25 year old range of voters.

Ms. O. D. said...

Mike, thank you for the great tips and advices, i was really feeling anxious with all the media these past few days :)

Anonymous said...

Great ideas except I have to respectfully disagree regarding good companies rarely get rid of good employees.

Being a good employee is NEVER a guarantee in today's quarter to quarter Wall St focused economy. It's all about numbers. The more you make, regardless of expertise, experience or quality of work, the more vulnerable you are to being let go as companies perceive that they can hire someone cheaper who would gladly have the job (even though they dont have the skill to do the job). Or forgo what's best for the business long term to make the quarter.

I have witnessed this first hand with myself, friends, family members and colleagues. In fact in one company, the managers created a list of everyone making over $X and let everyone go above that level just to hit their quarterly numbers--even those rated in the top 3% of the company in terms of performance.

The best protection is to do your job, but empower yourself and dip your toes into the entrepreneurial world and moonlight. So when the day comes where you are on the hit list, you'll already have something to fall back on.

The one thing that can never be taken away is what you know. Start capitalizing on it sooner rather than later for yourself and your loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Mike, good post! Sitting on your money is a good idea. Please, we need some change in this election thanks for doing your part.

Unknown said...

euroyank--I will look into that. I recieve dozens of messages from mybloglog each day

wayne--we all should vote every year, but this election seems like it may be the biggest in our lifetime.

ms. o.d.--you know the press, always looking for a story. But, really, I feel the best thing to do is hold tight, relax, enjoy your days...livelife365!

melanie--I did say MOST GOOD companies...I would say that any company getting rid of useful and productive people would not be classified as "good." Hope things are working better for you and your friends...

rick--change is better than what we have now, which is panic and uncertainty



Kathy said...

Mike, All sound advice. You actually cheered me up after my last post. I know the feeling of gloom and doom will pass. And, for the record, I'm doing things right and I should be fine. But I let myself get depressed about it for one day. Onward and upward!

Have a great day!

Catatonic Kid said...

Great advice - sound and sensible. And, more to point, in your usual down to earth style. The pitch proves the point. Good one!

Anonymous said...

I would only add - Find time to laugh. Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it ranks right up there with all the other wonder drugs.

LaTease "Teasas Tips" said...

I've always believed in investing in myself...probably because I know I'm a sure bet. Nice post.

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V said...

no 1. is the first thing dave ramsey said. i was just about to go and look at my portfolio and was wondering if it was really bad should i cash out and store my money in my shoes. it's horrible out there, but we can't panic..not just yet. the worse is not even over.

Anonymous said...

all sound and very practical advise. i love all of them since i basically try to follow a simple life just enjoying what is nearby and free :)

and yes, we do need change, CHANGE for our betterment and that of everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I love your idea to listen to your boss. With the economy the way it is, those who are doing a good job are more apt to keep their jobs in the event of a layoff.

Unknown said...

Kathy--these are sorry, and depressing, times for our hard-earned bucks. But, like I tried to convey in the post, we gotta hang in there and not allow it to get us down. Glad I cheered you up...

kid--thanks! I like that: "The pitch proves the point." I may steal it...

dan brantley--great add--always have a few laughs, especially during tough times...

latease--I am sure you are a sure bet...sound advice...

natural--yes, agreed, do not panic, and it could get worse. Sadly, the penalty you would pay for early withdrawl from retirement investments would offset any gains you may save by removing those funds and stuffing your mattress with them...sit tight and livelife...365

betchai--change for the better is always a good thing...

barbara--sometimes it's difficult, but the boss, while not always right, is still your boss. Pleasing the boss, in rocky times, is a must...unless you don't need your job...



Faisal Admar said...

We… Malaysians are facing a great financial problem too. No exception for my family too. The only one survive is me. Why me? It is because I read about financial freedom a lot or perhaps too much.

Right now I am helping my mom to pay off her credit cards (about RM60k) and doing her budget to stabilize her life back to normal. It’s hard but I know I can do it. Pray for me Mike!

Us4 Cats said...

Thank you for recently stopping by my wlk blog and commenting as well.

My mom always did like to put her hands into mother earth; she said it was therapuetic. I have come to find out how true that statement was, not in theory but in doing!

Paul Eilers said...


These are all good, common sense tips.

I say hang in there and don't panic. The market is correcting itself right now, even if some of it is due to human error or miscalculation.

I also believe that because we have 24 hour news channels, they can hype up this financial mess to the point of causing too much stress. So I try not to watch. But that is tough to do, since my wife is a news junkie...

Most of all, I believe that my success is not dependent on who is elected president. However, this time around, it is different due to the War on Terror. On September 11th, this country lost its innocence and changed forever. We have got to figure out a way to get a handle on that.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Your first point - don't panic - hits the mark straight away, and my feeling is that the media have an awful lot to answer for in this respect. Every news bulletin in the UK has nothing but gloom and doom as headlines in a way that is bound to foster panic.

Unknown said...

faisal--I will pray for you and your family--your mom is lucky to have a fine son as you

whatloknows--there is something practical and rewarding about working up a good sweat while working the earth

paul--agreed, media often does more damage than good. Never forget 9/11, and let's hope whoever is in charge that they put our safety first

sheila--panic is an emotion that does no one any good, least of all the one panicking

Dwacon said...

We need all the help we need right now to handler our dollars correctly.