Preparing for uncertain times

This is a period of high economic turbulence. Inflation is rising, a war and energy crisis are escalating, and supply chains are still wonky. Fed is responding with interest rate hikes, governments are changing policies, and the market is responding with valuation cuts, tightening the belts, and layoffs. 

Times are uncertain, and that increases uncertainty for each of us too. That means you can get laid off, not find a job, your investments may tank, and you may not be able to afford or get what you need or want. No one can give you guarantees, and you are ultimately responsible for how you and your family fare. 

This is how I'd advise people to prepare: 

1. Personal resilience: 

Just like businesses do, make sure you have a robust runway by increasing savings (in low-risk, liquid assets) and reducing spend. Try to save for a few months of expenses to prepare for the eventuality of a layoff and a tough job market. If you want to take it up a notch, you can get into a prepper mode by becoming more independent around your basic needs - house, food, health, and safety. The preparation and resilience will give you a sense of safety and confidence. 

2. Job resilience: 

To reduce the risk of getting laid off, join (or stay) at a robust company and then be valuable within the company - work on important areas that are big strategic bets or cashflow generators, and become critical and hard to replace. This can't all happen overnight -  you need to invest in your career resilience over the long run. 

3. Career strength and resilience: 

Continue developing skills, experiences, and attitude that are valuable and differentiated. This sets you up for job and career resilience in the long run.

4. Investment resilience: 

I'm far from an expert here, so I'll keep this light. You need a portfolio and strategy that can play both defence and offense. A mix of safe, liquid, and recession-resilient assets, and investments in the downturn that can payoff during the eventual recovery. 

5. Health and relationships: 

Last, but definitely not the least - strong physical and mental health, an optimistic attitude, and close relationships offer you the ultimate optionality - you can always dig out of a hole or start from a scratch if you have those. Regardless of how tough things get, prioritize caring for yourself and others above all else.