Tips for The Looming Recession
How to expect the best, prepare for the worst
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I’ve been scanning financial newspapers over the past few weeks and noticed that despite the hefty stock market declines there are no articles suggesting that retail investors should sell or consumers should pull back on their consumption.
Now why is that? Well, if retail investors would sell and consumers would pull back on a broad scale we’d most certainly already be in a deep recession. Thus everyone – central banks, corporations, media, and pundits – are all choosing their words extra carefully these days to avoid panic or what you might call a run on the economy.
But I’m an independent writer and I see clear signs that we are heading into a recession. And since the average consumer or retail investor usually is the last to know I thought I could share a few ideas within the context of fewer better things.
Raise cash by selling stuff you never use. I cleaned out the surfshack last weekend and organized the “useless” in three cardboard boxes marked resell, donate, and freecycle for further action.
Eliminate unnecessary recurring bills. I canceled online subscriptions I hardly ever use, like streaming video and cloud storage (by cleaning out the storage).
Design a simpler, healthier diet. I’ve switched to a Mediterranean diet to increase energy, performance, and well-being. No processed foods or takeouts.
Learn how to love what you have. By only owning what I frequently use I appreciate my fewer better things more and don’t feel that I lack anything.
Bike, walk or take public transport everywhere. I’ve parked the car for all local trips and chosen to bike or walk everywhere within 5-10 miles. I save on gas and insurance, as it’s pay-per-mile, plus I’m getting fitter.
Wait out the sales. I need a few outdoor things but I’m waiting out the upcoming summer sales to get 30-50% off my favorite brands.
Borrow books from the library. I read 2-3 books per week so the savings add up quickly. I also like that I no longer have read books lying around everywhere.
Leverage what’s free online – from learning a new language to fixing stuff around the house and listening to music, watching movies, and reading books.
Now this might seem extreme but I like living on the fringe and I value real quality of life over an excessive standard of living. Personal growth and self actualization matters more to me than winning the race “However dies with the most things, win”.
Personal wellbeing is priceless. Unfortunately, our modern society is driving us towards the opposite: a stationary life, processed and unhealthy foods, overeating, frivolous consumption, increased stress, lack of purpose, and ecological disaster.
The great thing with recessions, especially if you are well prepared, is that they flush out the irrational exuberance, greed, and excess to offer perspective on what really matters in life. Plus it’s the best time to start new ventures, when no one cares, or invest in depreciated assets, when everything is deflated.
But what happens if I’m wrong and overreacting? Well, I’d just have a cleaner shack, better use of my time and attention, and cash on hand to upgrade the essentials when needed in the future. Either way, it’s a win.
Things You Should Check Out
Google Watch: Apple is now getting competition from Google with their recently announced smartwatch based on the Fitbit health tracking technology. Smartwatches can make you less dependent on your smartphone, thus making life simpler.
Repair Anything: GearAid is a great company who sells repair kits for everything and should be the first stop before buying new when something tears, rips, or breaks. They offer 25% off for first-time online buyers if you sign up for their newsletter.
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On this newsletter
I’m very passionate about how we can live simpler lives with more meaningful and richer experiences by being mindful about what we buy, own, and frequently use. I’ve been on this journey since the mid-nought when I first started to digitize most things in my life and then dematerialize and declutter it from material possessions I never or hardly used. I’ve found that fewer better things leads to a happier life, a healthier community, and a cleaner environment.
My ambition is to turn this newsletter into my full-time gig but I still have ways to go to reach that objective. If you find this newsletter insightful and valuable I’d appreciate your support.
I’m Per Håkansson – writer, surfer, and traveler – living a simple, purpose-driven, and meaningful life in a surfshack in Southern California. Before moving to the beach I was a digital nomad for five years, traveling the world and giving talks and training executives on human and digital transformation. That’s when I really learned how to live with fewer better things, all fitting into a 35-liter backpack. Previous to that I worked for several well-known tech startups in Silicon Valley and across the world.
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