Aug 2016

How To Survive And Turn Around Even Better During The Economic Downturn

How to survive and turn around even better during the economic downturn

In case you have been living under a rock all this while and haven't realize, economy situation in Singapore isn't exactly fantastic. While things are not as bad as in 97s , it doesn't hurt to stay alert.

 Even if you are not an investor, banker or someone working in finance jobs, economic gloom does have an impact. In fact, you or your friends may already have felt the ripple effects of the sluggish economy. Companies in various industries ranging from hospitality, finance to Ecommerce are laying off people based on the report by AsiaOne business.

Without being too technical, economic downturn in Singapore is usually a result of external forces. Being closely connected to foreign markets, a drop in US or China's consumer demand means that we also suffer. Non-oil domestic exports here has plunged to its lowest in 3 years, with Citibank expecting Singapore to enter mild recession.

This is largely beyond control. But does it mean that we should just sit back, do nothing and worry at home?

Warren Buffet, who made most of his fortune during economic crisis, famously quoted "Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful." We all know Warren Buffet to be the Yoda of the business world, so let’s take a leaf from his book. Let’s explore how you can be greedy at a time when others are fearful and turn the economic downturn in your favor:

Spend more

Here's a secret. Economy crisis is also great Singapore sales. Most things are forced to price low. And don't get me wrong, I am not referring to your branded handbag, shoes or watches. I’m talking about buying something with intrinsic value that can provide you with enormous returns when the economy restores back to normal. This could be property, shares or commodities. UBS analyst, Wen-Ching Lee estimates that housing prices in Singapore will continue to drop for another 2 years. Even if you are not into any form of investing, now is the perfect time to build your own nest instead of paying for other people's mortgage loans.  It applies to properties as much as it does to other assets.

Be an entrepreneur

Most great companies were born out of economic recessions and even depressions. Apple came into the scene in year 2001(Dot-com bubble burst), Disney in year 1923(Great depression), Microsoft in year 1975(stagflation). This list goes on. And it is by no means coincidental. During recession, competition is weak, interest rate is low and problems are lying around to be solved.

Not your cup of tea? No worries. Being an entrepreneur doesn't mean starting a business. Many organizations are in need of employees with an entrepreneurial spirit, based on a survey from Forbes. During economic downturn, multiple problems plague a company. Imagine if you can solve just one of them for your boss and how grateful she will be to you. Pay raise? It might not be an issue in the glorying future.  

Increase your value

In the advice above, we talked about investing in some entity that can appreciate over time. And, we cannot emphasize enough that the best form of investment is actually...... in yourself. Even the best investor in the world, Warren Buffet echoes this view when asked about investment tips.

This is especially true in an economic downturn which can last for 2-3 years. Imagine graduating with just in time for the economic boom. There will be a surge in demand for manpower and your new skills and certificate will come in extremely handy!  

The good thing about living in a meritocratic society like Singapore is that everyone has a chance to upgrade their lives regardless of their background.  Education becomes your passport in moving up the social ladder.

That said, it is not a good idea to study for a piece of paper. In fact, it’s quite a waste. Since you are going to study, why not make full use of your time and money? 

When choosing your school or course, consider what you can learn out of it. And mind you, you have an advantage against most students. Having been in the workforce gives a better idea of what you want (or at least what you don't want). Our best advice is to really pore over the syllabus of your intended course and see if it is something that can benefit you in your work. Best yet, if the school allows you to attend a trial lecture, go for it!

Go for trial lesson like what established school like LSBF in Singapore is offering. They give you a chance to see what the programme is like. You sit in with the current students and experience first-hand how our lessons are conducted. From there, you get an idea if it benefits you, beyond just the paper certificate.

Oh ya, if you are interested to learn more in-depth details about the workings of the economy and how recession comes about, that is actually a module in our diploma programme! Now you see why education makes you a more intelligent citizen. See you in our class!

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute financial advice of any sorts. Please consult with a professional before making any investment. 

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