The New World of Efficiency and Austerity and how you can stay ahead

You hear it all around you, cutbacks, austerity measures, new efficiency programs and other measures that are being implemented by companies and government worldwide.

It is the new world we live in. World economies and finances are in the worst shape they have been in decades. It all started in 2008 with the US sub-prime mortgage and credit crisis. Ever since, and despite having hints of a recovery, the situation is still dire and in fact turning worse in certain places like the European Union.

So if this is norm and the new world we live in, how can you be ready, immune from it all and stay relevant? As an employee, consumer, or someone responsible for a family, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and even thrive in the face of these sweeping waves:

-As an employee: be as productive and indispensable as you can be. If there are cut-backs at your company, the last one to go should be those that are the most efficient and valuable to the company. Be sure you are one of them. Learn as many things as you can about your job and those related to you so that you are flexible and can transfer to other roles should yours become obsolete.  The new emphasis is on those who can multi-task and have various skills that are transferable to other roles.

-As a consumer: with the economy tanking, people are spending less which means prices are coming down. Whether it is low-priced items such as food and clothing or something as high as a new car, companies want your business and will compete for it. So be sure to shop around and negotiate. Case in point, when shopping around for my wedding recently, I made sure I look at many different vendors before making any final decisions. Hungry for business, companies are reducing their prices and more.  Did I mention ‘don’t pay the full price!‘?

-As a family: with so many job cuts happening, don’t take your job for granted no matter how safe it seems. Star networking now.  And should the worse happens and you lose your job, you have to have a plan of survival in place, until you find a new job. Most importantly, this is where an ’emergency fund’ comes very handy. This is not your RRSP money of course but something else like your regular savings or TFSA account. How much should this account hold? For the average family, anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times your gross monthly income. The more, the better. Also, ensure you have a budget in place and that you are not paying for things you don’t need around the house.

Heck even the Pentagon is completely overhauling the US military to make it it smaller, leaner and generally more efficient. So if the powerful and huge US military can go smaller, you probably can too.

In this new world, the old adage ‘Less is more…’ couldn’t be more accurate.

Are you lean and efficient enough for the new world?