Every person in an economy is happy when the financial markets are bullish, with high rates of economic growth. Public spending levels are high, investment levels are soaring, and the expectations about returns from investment are sky-high. Financial planning is necessary in these periods are necessary in these periods, but not so much so as in periods of recession. When recessionary forces hold sway, market economics project bearish markets and low growth levels. During these times, finance planners and proper planning is of utmost importance in order to ensure that investments are not affected too badly, and a swift recovery remains possible.
Recessionary phases come as a harsh reality check for the investment market, where expectations remain invariably optimistic during bullish conditions. These phases of economic downturn are the times when personal financial planning proves to be extremely valuable. It is common that investors (who generally predict returns as high as 20 percent during good times) become extremely pessimistic in their expectations during recession, and may indeed, drastically cut down on their investment levels.
This is where finance planning comes in handy. Financial plans, when done in a proper fashion during recession, can help investors achieve their targets, even during a market downturn. Planning should be based on expectations that are neither too optimistic (as during bullish periods), nor too bleak (as is often the case during recession). Financial planning, especially during a deflationary market, comprises of the following strategies:
a) Revision Of Investment Targets: Common investors always have certain targets in mind as they frame their finance plans. These targets are also generally accompanied by well-defined time-frames within which to achieve them. However, the ability to invest is adversely affected during a recessionary phase. In such a scenario, the initial investment plans might need to be revised and/or toned down according to the situation.
Realistic expectations are of the utmost importance in planning during deflation. When an economy experiences a downturn, individual incomes are adversely affected, reducing their ability to invest. This, in turn, results in individual debts being paid off less quickly than what might have been imagined initially. Additional payments on individual mortgages and debts are difficult to come by, and the time-frame required to achieve one’s investment targets may need to be extended during recession.
b) Proper Estimation Of ‘Risk-Tolerance’ Levels: Based on how ready an investor is to take risks in order to gain higher returns, (s)he can be classified as ‘risk-lover’, ‘risk-neutral’ or ‘risk-averse’. Awareness regarding ‘risk-tolerance’ grew rapidly after 2000 (after the dot com bubble burst). During recession, individuals need to accurately asses their risk-tolerance levels, and then choose the investment plans that would suit his/her preferences.
c) Restructuring The Individual Portfolio: After a revision of investment plans, a restructuring of portfolios that are currently held is also important. Sector diversification is an effective strategy, since owning a mix of small-cap, mid-cap and large-cap stocks effectively lower one’s risk, while maintaining a high rate of return attached to a portfolio,
d) Revision Of Insurance And Estate Plans: Insurance plans are generally made in order to plug the gap between desired levels of lifetime expenditures and portfolio incomes. During recessionary periods, portfolio income might go down. Consequently, one needs to expand his/her insurance plans. A thorough revision of real estate plans is also necessary.
These components of financial planning, if carried out properly, can help investors a great deal during recession. Hence, finance plans are of great importance during these periods.