When your local or national economy takes a turn for the worse, the natural reaction is to pull back. Clearly, it’s the thing to do: everyone is doing it!
The problem is, you’re not everyone. In fact, depending on how you view your newfound wealth, you might be in a position to help everyone instead, and in a very simple, yet perhaps slightly uncomfortable way.
That way? Keep spending.
As I write this the U.S. has officially entered a recession, the unemployment rate is up, retailers have just had a very bad holiday season and assorted businesses are cutting back, or in come cases going out of business all together.
We’ve made an extra-large donation to a local social service agency, purchased a new car, hired out the completion of a couple of large projects around the house, moved up some maintenance projects, and probably a couple of other things I’ve forgotten.
Exactly the opposite of what many people are doing. In fact, exactly the opposite of what most people probably should be doing: saving their money.
We jokingly refer to what we do as “stimulating the economy”, but the bottom line is that it’s no joke at all. Those of us with the resources to weather a prolonged economic crisis are likely to be the very ones who’ll lead the recovery out of it. How? By stimulating the economy.
By spending money.
Now, I need to be clear here: you have a natural responsibility to make sure that what you’re doing in fact is sensible with respect to your own finances. I’m not talking about sacrificing your own future financial security in order to increase your spending today.
What I am talking about is simply looking closely at your situation and understanding whether you really do need to pull back. If you don’t, if you have the security of your newfound wealth, then you have an opportunity – some might even call it a responsibility. Not only can you participate in the eventual recovery but by doing so you’re actually helping businesses and their employees weather the crisis today.
So consider what you might do. It might be increasing your philanthropy – or at least not pulling back. It might be retail therapy (consider buying local), or it might be hiring out some of those long postponed home improvement tasks.
However you do it, you may have some very simple opportunities to share your good fortune when others might need it most.
Think about it.