Disclaimer: This article is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Recessions are tough.
Gas prices are high. Grocery prices are through the roof.
On top of all of this chaos, many women—in some states—do not have the option of getting an abortion unless they have the money to travel, even if they cannot afford to raise that child.
Pregnancy and abortion are both expensive, as callous at that sounds and, while many—myself included—believe it is favorable to give your baby up for adoption, the foster care system leaves much to be desired: too many kids who have been given up for adoption end up homeless, unemployed, and in jail. Adoption agencies are better than nothing, and I know they do a lot of good for a lot of families, but improvements are still needed.
Of course, it would be ideal to simply not become pregnant until one is truly ready to raise a child, but that is a very complicated matter to navigate given the ethos of our society.
So, what should you do with your finances right now, to set yourself up for success long-term?
1. PRACTICE CAUTION IF INVESTING IN THE STOCK MARKET
There is a lot of uncertainty right now: some are "buying the dip," but we don't know when market will go back up, and this is a very risky move.
Remember that the stock market is not doing exceptionally well right now, diversify your financial assets, and keep an emergency fund on you so that you are not reliant on the returns because quite a few stocks and cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile right now.
You could experience large wins or enormous losses, but no one really knows.
I'd say to simply remember that the stock market—generally speaking—is a high-risk/high-reward game, but there's nothing wrong with playing it if you have additional money to support yourself and it is generally a wise decision to invest in dividend and index funds long-term, because the average annualized return is around 10%, even though returns can vary wildly each year.
2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TAX LOSS HARVESTING
"If you have a sizable taxable investment account with investments that have declined in value, you should consider tax loss harvesting. This only pertains to taxable accounts, not to retirement accounts. It entails selling specific tax lots to trigger (or “harvest”) losses, which can then be used to offset capital gains in your investment accounts. Due to the downturn in the stock and bond markets in 2022, there are likely significant losses that can be harvested, and this can lead to a significant savings in taxes. The losses will first be used against capital gains in the current year. If there are losses remaining, $3,000 can be applied to reduce your income. If there are losses not needed this year, you can carry them forward to future years and use them when needed." —Donna Skeels Cygan
3. DO A ROTH CONVERSION
Roth IRAs are generally your best bet tax-wise when it comes to investing for retirement.
"As I have written many times, Roth IRAs are far superior to traditional IRAs based on current tax laws. To build a Roth IRA an investor can contribute to the account (with income limitations) or convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Some consider a downward trend in the stock market to be a good time for a Roth conversion. An example explains this best. Assume you have a traditional IRA that was worth $200,000 in early January. You plan to convert $50,000 this year (25% of the total), and the remainder over the next three years. Assume the account has declined by 20% since January, and it now totals $160,000. If you follow through with your plan and convert $50,000, you will be converting 31% to the Roth...rather than the original 25%. The $50,000 conversion will cost you the same amount in taxes, but you are moving a higher percentage to the Roth. For an explanation of this strategy, search online for 'Kitces.com Roth Conversion on Sale.'" —Donna Skeels Cygan
4. USE HIGHER INTEREST RATES TO YOUR ADVANTAGES
This is not a good time to purchase a house or get into credit card debt, but it is good time to invest in Certificates of Deposit, treasury bills, and the like.
"...higher interest rates are a good thing if you purchase new CDs, treasury bills, or bonds with the higher rates. Banks are starting to raise their interest rates on savings accounts, which benefits their customers." —Donna Skeels Cygan
5. THINK LONG-TERM
The stock market has always been a long-term game: It provides a 10% annualized average return, but the numbers could look very different every year. In fact, according to Mike Price of The Motley Fool, the stock market offered an average annualized return of 12.4% over the past decade.
If you keep an emergency fund, hold your investments without relying on your returns, and wait it out, chances are high that you could receive strong returns from stocks, index funds, and the like in the next ten years or so.
It's incredibly important to diversify when it comes to stocks and weigh the pros and cons of each company you are investing with, because all of us have different goals, different values, and even different political views, which impact what our priorities are financially.
6. FOCUS ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
I have always felt that it's important to maintain your sanity, regardless of your financial situation, the chaos the world is experiencing, or the stomach-churning volatility of the stock market.
Focus on what you can control instead of trying to change what you can't.
Right now, perhaps maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, increasing your income streams, and spending time with your family and friends is a good idea.
If stress is getting you down, therapy can also be immensely helpful: you can often pay for those services with insurance.
Everything seems up in the air right now—politically and financially—so it's important to be as prepared as possible or what's ahead.