Financial survival - PART-I

In today’s uncertain and volatile economic environment, more and more people are finding it hard to make ends meet. The economic crisis has affected almost everyone with the salaried classes perhaps being the most affected. The rising inflation has dramatically eroded people’s purchasing power and could potentially result in many of Pakistanis entering a cycle of debt and poverty that may take years to recover from.
On the one hand, people’s income and savings have diminished in value, as they must spend more on necessities such as food, fuel, electricity, health, and education. On the other hand, people feel vulnerable and uncertain, as they face the risk of losing their jobs, facing salary cuts or delays, or being unable to repay their debts or loans.
Let’s accept that complaining or whining will not lead to a solution that can help take away the financial pain that many of us are facing. In this article and the next, we will explore what you can do to survive financially in the current economic situation that we find ourserlves in.
None of us have a crystal ball, so it’s hard to know what may happen in the future but let’s deal with the here and now, and start to take small steps to bring about improvements in our financial wellbeing. Having worked with many business clients over the years as their trusted financial advisor, I can assure you that there are only a few simple strategies that can be adopted in such situations. There is no magic wand or formula. Simply put there are two ways to deal with the predicament that most of us are facing: increase your income and reduce your expenses
I am sorry to disappoint you in case you were expecting something more complex or academic, but the basic principles for sorting out your finances are really that simple.
Assuming that your employer is not about to hand you a big increase in your salary, what can you do to bring about an increase in your income? For many salaried people, entrepreneurship is becoming a new imperative for survival, as they need to generate additional income to balance their budgets.
To increase their level of income, many salaried people in Pakistan need to consider entrepreneurship as an option. Entrepreneurship in the shape of small businesses that may operate from home or through an online channel can provide many benefits for salaried people who want to generate additional income or pursue their passions.
In recent times, a lot of talk about entrepreneurship has been around IT. If you are not an IT person, trust me that there are so many small businesses that can be started with minimal capital that can help you generate additional income. Many salaried people can use their skills, talents, or hobbies to start a small business from their home or online. They can also leverage the power of technology and social media to reach their customers. Catering, fashion design, and tailoring businesses can also be set up from home with limited capital.
You can look for opportunities to work remotely for other companies or organisations that need your skills or expertise. Platforms or websites that connect freelancers or contractors with clients or employers who need their services such as Fiverr, Upworks, and many others provide a great opportunity for generating additional revenue for you. What’s best is that you can choose your hours, work on weekends or evenings from your own home.
If you have a particular skill set such as being an accountant or a graphic designer, you can start your side gig. Start small, look for a few projects within your network, and do a great job for your clients. In any business “word of mouth” referrals are the surest way to build your client base. Who knows, your side gig may grow so much that you can focus on it full-time at some stage in the future.
If you have money invested with a bank, make sure that you are getting the best possible return on your investment. The banks often tend to take their existing customers for granted and may not be offering you the best return. Do some research and check with other banks to see what they are offering. Armed with that information, speak with your bank and see if they can match or better what is being offered by their competitors.
While things are tough right now, there will be an upturn at some stage and employers will be looking for people who are at the cutting edge of their respective professions. You need to be proactive and enhance your knowledge and skills by taking online courses, attending workshops or seminars, reading books or articles, or joining networks or communities that can help you learn new things or improve your skill set. This will make you more valuable to your existing employer or a new employer and increase your income in the process. Consider this as an investment in your future. These suggestions are not exhaustive but should provide some inspiration and guidance on how you can go about increasing your income.

The writer is an Australian Chartered Accountant, International Author and Management Consultant. He can be reached at amer@amerq.com

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