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3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession

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3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession

20090428-invest3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession

    The global economy is plummeting and people are starting to lose hope, faith in our government practices and in their

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      ability to be successful during these challenging times.  With millions of job losses and the media poisoning our minds with information that may be only half accurate, we need to start taking the time to invest in three main areas: our financial education, our personal brands and building strong relationships that will last through the recession.  It’s really easy to lose hope now, but you must remain calm, cool and collected or else you’ll lose focus, money and you won’t get a job anytime soon if you’re currently unemployed.   Many people who are getting laid off are taking a risk to start their own businesses because  they feel like they have nothing to lose.  One in four workers who have not found jobs is considering launching a business, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey.  For the rest of workers, who feel like they could be unemployed today, tomorrow or in two weeks, please read this post so that they can at least start protecting yourself against a future tragedy.

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      1.  Having a financial education

        We don’t really learn how to manage money in College, so we have to figure out how to on our own.  Of course, school teaches us the basics, such as balancing our check books, but we aren’t prepared for a financial crisis and we don’t have enough of an understanding of “cash flow.”  I recently started reading Robert Kiyosaki’s new book, which is being published free online for the time being, called “Conspiracy of the Rich.”  So far, I’ve read to Chapter 6, patiently waiting for the next few chapters to be complete and uploaded to the site.   Robert, who also wrote the bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, is convinced that we’re headed into a depression (worse than a recession) because of bad debt, a corrupt banking system and the reality that the our paper money isn’t backed by anything anymore (our money will be worth nothing at some point).  Understanding our history, as well as new trends (the internet), and how money is changing, will benefit you greatly during this time period.  I recommend reading this book, finding someone whose rich (that has money coming in even if they stop working) and getting advice.

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        2.  Your personal brand

          Investing in your personal brand is going to be critical to surviving in the future because of the popularity of the internet, the fact that more business is being taken place each day on the internet and because, competitive, you have to.  There are two main things you need to know.  First, protecting your personal brand is something that you can’t neglect now because other people may share your own name and claim your digital real estate first and then charge you later (possibly).  Second, promoting your brand is how you’re going to find work during these tough times because visibility creates opportunities and because you need endorsements from other people in order to secure a job without much effort.  Obtaining digital assets in your name, such as your domain name and profiles on social networks, is what’s going to get your name out there, at the cost of your time.   During this recession, you’ll need to spend more of your time on building your brand because you’ll need to invest your money to be financial stable.

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          3.  Building strong relationships

          It’s not just about forming any type of relationship.  During this economic crisis, strong ties are going to count and weak ties are going to break.  The key is figuring out who you want to be extra close with and being honest with yourself as to who you think will actually take care of you and become your “safe haven.”  Your family and closest friends will hopefully be there for you, but, depending on their own interests and financial situation, things may change a bit.  Relationships are more valuable than money because they can help you become more productive, allow you to scale your personal brand so you can service more people (clients/management), and because they can help you stay employed or find a new job.  Aside from investing in your financial education and your personal brand, spend at least 10 hours a week forging stronger relationships with other people.

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          More by this author

          Dan Schawbel

          Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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          Last Updated on November 25, 2021

          Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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          Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

          With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

          Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

          In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

          The easy fundamentals

          First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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          A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

          Here are some examples of strong passwords:
          * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
          * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
          * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

          And not so good examples
          * sammy1234
          * password123
          * christopher

          You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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          Managing your passwords

          I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

          So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

          There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

          Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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          LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

          Upkeep

          You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

          There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

          Alternatives

          You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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          1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
          2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
          3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

          These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

          So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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