For those of you who are interested in the economic climate of today, which is an issue that we all need to start focusing more on as the current financial indicators are pointing downward, this article is meant to serve as a wake-up call to you.

The financial information that is being distributed to the public is based upon corporations’ poor earnings reports, which show that we are indeed in for a slowdown. This slowdown is expected to start now and affect all businesses across the board. The only professionals that will be adding staff will be in corporate security and health care related businesses.

These two fields, corporate security and health care are what is hot right now and they are expected to continue to expand in the next few years. However, I will talk more about those opportunities at a later date since the bumpy ride, in my opinion, won’t include jobs in these categories.

However, in considering this financial slowdown, I believe that we need to stay focused on how this information is going to have an impact on us and our households. Our ability to hold onto our jobs will be tested at some point and we need to be ready for this scenario. What I do know with some assurance is that if the is slow continues companies will be forced to make financial adjustments that may have an impact on many of us.

Based on reading about this information, which I do daily, I believe this is just the start of a difficult financial period that we all will have hold our breath until it’s over. I also believe that this slowdown may last 6-to-9 months before turning around. There are also some indicators that this negative process will last beyond that, and I hope that they are wrong. Therefore, we to have to be disciplined in the handling our funds if we want to stay out of this financial danger zone.

For example, the retail business is hurting badly based upon reports from giant department stores of Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears and a few others. Several years ago online shopping was only 20% of all purchasing activity. In the recent data reported, the online shopping is now up to 40%. This trend shows that our brick and mortar stores, or our large department stores, are becoming less important in today’s environment. This normally means additional layoffs are coming down the road.

If you have insurance like fire, home, medical, automobile, you know that these premium costs have risen substantially in the past several years. Plus, our deductible surcharges are much higher than before, which represents more money out of the pockets, for the consumer like you and I.

If you take a visit to the larger cities across the country, you will see that there is a larger pool of people that are taking bicycles to their destinations, instead of taking regular transportation. These changes of how we commute to work are having a negative impact on the earnings of the transportation companies. The sectors that will be affected are the yellow cabs, the buses, the trains and the private car businesses. All of them depend upon this activity for their revenue stream and will be in trouble without it.  The question is, how are they going to cover this financial shortfall?

We also are getting poor financial results from the emerging markets (China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico), which are adding more pressure to the company’s bottom line. The firms that have a large part of their profits coming from these international regions, they will have to make adjustments, which will lead to layoffs also. It’s one of those rare times when globally everything seems to be slowing down at the same in all markets. As a result, you can no longer depend upon the international businesses to help USA companies get over their financial woes here in the USA.

In considering all these developments, and there are so much more, we can’t possibly cover all these sectors in one article.  Thus, I believe that we need to open our eyes and stay informed on this topic, whether it’s good or bad, in order to figure out the best way to handle our resources.

Therefore, I’m suggesting that we follow these few points to help you get through this period. I hope that this can help you because it worked for me.

First, hold onto your dollars a little longer than you intend to. If you can put off buying merchandise until later, I strongly suggest that you do. I’m suggesting this course of action, as the prices of goods and services are starting to fall across the board. This is one of those times when waiting until later will help you in stretching your dollars, because as the inventory of goods and services pill up, these on companies will have to lower their prices to move them off the shelves. When this starts to occur, this will be beneficial for average consumers like you and me.

Second, you are witnessing that the prices of oil are still falling lower by the day. I purchased gas at $1.54 per gallon recently and it was outstanding. This is great news for the regular consumer who spends an average of 20% of their wages on fuel expenses.  Also, analysts project that this lower price will not be temporary, where oil prices will drop for a short period, and then pop back up to a much higher level afterwards. However, we have been tricked by this seesaw movement of oil prices in the past; time will tell if it will happen again.

Third, the disposal income that we are receiving by having lower oil prices, these funds have to be used wisely if we want to make it through this financial debacle. We shouldn’t use these extra funds unless it is for a true emergency. Keeping some of it under your mattress won’t hurt too bad.

Fourth, as the interest rates are starting to rise, it’s best to pay off your high-interest debt. These credit card companies are in trouble themselves and they will be willing to work with you to settle your debt. This is the perfect time for you to work out a deal, as I have numerous friends who have done so and they are extremely happy. In my book, any time that you get to reduce your debt, I would do so without hesitation.

Fifth, in order to cut their office budgets, companies are offering employees the option to work from home. So if your company offers you the opportunity to you work from home, I wouldn’t reject this offer. You have to consider the point that it’s better than to be laid off.  If these companies don’t get enough of volunteers to participate in their work from home program, I believe that they will start to let people go, as cutting that budget will be done.

Sixth, don’t be an employee that has a record of taking off on Mondays and on Fridays.  Senior Management will remember this and select you to be the first to go in the event of layoffs. I know about this corporate practice from personal experience, as I was once part of the group that compiled these figures in planning a layoff. It’s been several years ago, but I don’t see them changing that approach, which was very effective in cutting staff.

Seventh, it’s true that more jobs are being created, but what isn’t being told is that the wages are much lower than it was before. As a result, the purchasing power is being lowered and when the other expenses are climbing this is not good news. More people are being forced to work overtime to make up for this lost in income of having lower wages. Others are being required to work a second job in order to cover the lost in income.

Eighth, more people will have to do start doing what I have seen being done whenever I go out to shop, and that is do shopping from the “clearance rack”. You also have to be willing to go to the discount stores, to save money as their sales are tremendous now. I’m using the clearance rack more myself, because when you are retired, you need your money to last as well.

In closing, you will start to see so much more as this financial slowdown spreads throughout our communities. It’s my hope that you take this article as an alert to be on the lookout for these changes and to protect yourselves accordingly. Additionally, I need you to explain this process to your children and other loved ones so that they don’t get caught off guard. I sincerely hope that these few points help you in some way as it is meant to let you know you can make it.

If you have any questions, feel free to send them to me.