I woke up today seeing my portfolio bloody red again. Stocks and ETFs are down. Cryptos are down. Gold is down. These and having high interest rates with our home loan plus commodities are becoming more expensive (high inflation). It’s quite an alarming state.


We’re currently in a Technical Recession. Recession is such a big topic, but a Technical Recession simply means that the GDP in the past 2 quarters had a negative growth. This means that the value generated by countries like the USA (default currency USD), Australia (where I live), and the Philippines (where I was born) are not doing well - economic wise. If you want to learn more about recession, that is easily digestible, I advise to look at this page from RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) .

In this blog post, I’ll focus on some things that me and my family are doing in order to prepare for a “recession” where the unemployment rate is high and price of goods are skyrocketing. Worst-case scenario, we might also go into a market depression, but I’m optimistic that the great economic minds of this world will do what it can to avoid that (hopefully). Being equipped with the right mindset will help you in this journey.

5 Things to Do in an upcoming Recession:

  • 📚 Upskill yourself. Be educated.
  • 💸 Get out of Bad Debt ASAP.
  • 🚨 Save for emergency funds.
  • 🐢 Invest in “boring” businesses that you understand.
  • 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Nurture your health and relationships

Even if the recession (or depression) doesn’t happen, I think these mental models would still help me in order to thrive in the current market trends.

📚 Upskill yourself. Be educated.

Right now, a lot of tech companies are already laying off a big percentage of their workforce. Although I am self-employed, I won’t be immune to this trend if I slack off. In order to still be relevant, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills. This differs from just simply joining the hype of a Buzz word. This is about setting up yourself to learn and adapt to what the market requires.

For me, personally, I always was technically inclined and approach unique problems with technical solution that are efficiently possible. It isn’t in my career interest to become a project or people manager. That means I have to do a lot of reading, trying out technologies, and eventually working on projects and ventures with it.

Here are some things on my radar right now to upskill:

  • Highly available cloud infrastructure
  • Advanced messaging concepts
  • Rust and low-level programming
  • Advanced coding patterns and practices
  • Neurodiversity (Autism) + Technology
  • Real estate + Personal finance + Banking
  • Venture capital + Team scaling + founder bootstrapping
  • Advancements in Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
  • Mental focus + knowledge worker productivity + PKM
  • Philosophy + Stoicism + Motivation
  • Artificial Intelligence + IoT on Edge

As you can see, my mental space is diversified. I need to scratch certain surfaces around it, learn what can work, enhance my skill, then produce results (or teach). With this type of learning structure, they all compliment to my personal and professional life. As I call it, Load Balanced Life (LBL). I don’t see it as “just work”, it’s part of the overall “me”.

💸 Get out of Bad Debt ASAP

I grew up understanding from my mom that having debts to others, whether it’s financial or a big favour, is not a good thing. That’s why, growing up in my high school and university days, I incurred no debts to anyone (or if I did; I paid for it right away). Owing money, and doesn’t have the means to pay it back, is just a nightmare for me - and is something that will probably keep me up at night.

In the past, I had credit cards as well with the mentality of “creating a credit rating”. For some reasons, that doesn’t really apply much here in Australia (compared to US and PH). A lot of the banks when they assess your loans, they always factor in your credit cards (and buy-now-pay-later schemes) as a bad debt. If you have a credit limit of 25,000 AUD, then they will assume that you already owe that full amount - they don’t compute your actual capability to pay the credits. That’s why it’s such a bad idea to open a credit card here in Australia.

Right now, we don’t have any credit cards. Thanks to my wife, she could handle our finances well and made sure that we only buy what we can afford. In the past 3 years, we are living a simple lifestyle. Despite having increases in our combined salaries and take home pays, we lived frugally and would only spend money on things that spark joy: meals, holidays, passion items (bike, plants, aquarium, etc).

As for the recession, this will be bad as “everyone” wants to borrow money, because many people are short with their money. This means that lending people who can not pay would be risky, hence there will be an increase in interest rates. The longer you can’t pay, the more you will pay interests in the long run. I haven’t been in this situation, and I’m lucky I also inherited little debts from parents or relatives.

As I get matured in our personal and family finances, I understood how debt can also be used for leverage - especially for business. But it’s another topic of its own. For now, the idea here is to not buy something that you can’t afford to use credit; or borrowing money to buy things you don’t need. Pay your debts as soon as you can, otherwise you can’t move forward with your financial goals. :)

🚨 Save for emergency funds.

Continuing to the don’t buy things you don’t need, it’s also important to save (or keep saving) for your emergency funds. Being the young optimist I was in the past, I never really accounted for the “rainy day.” That concept didn’t exist in my head, as I was fortunate enough to grow up with abundance from my mom’s financial support. That all changed when you are on your own and a provider to not just yourself, but to a family.

My wife, Maria, is superb at this. She keeps a portion of our monthly payroll on to an emergency fund. What’s even better, is that she puts that into an offset home loan account , so that it reduces our interest. The idea of an emergency account is to not touch it, unless for emergency purposes. So no, we don’t use this to buy the new iPhone 14. :)

Maria and I have saved enough emergency funds that even if we both don’t get an income for 3 months, we’ll be fine (without adjustments in lifestyle). But if indeed recession happen, and in an unfortunate event that we both lose our income stream, then we have the time to pivot and find other work opportunities.

Also, as a side note, if you still don’t have any form of insurance like life insurance and work compensation insurance (Australia), this will also help in a situation like this. As we keep on saying, hopefully you won’t be needing to claim it, but it’s there when that happens. This will assist us in any of the extreme unforeseen events that happen in our life.

🐢 Invest in “boring” businesses that you understand.

If you hold some stocks, cryptocurrencies, and other assets that you really understand and believe in, then it’s not the best time to sell. Some would argue that it’s even the best time to buy more. Again, I’m very cautious to buy more than a specific asset or investment choice should be something you really understand and would think that it will thrive in the test of times - to reap the rewards in a future date.

But let’s say you have some money to spare, and is “OK” to lose or better yet won’t give you a change in lifestyle. Then based on the general findings I gather, it’s best to invest in the boring businesses that are used and commodities all over the world. Think of steel and energy companies, meat producers, farm goods producers, chip manufacturers, shipping companies, and other things that you would “actually buy”. One exercise that was taught to me in this area is to actually look at the objects within your house, and try to find where they come from - who is in the beginning of the chain to make those items happen.

Personally, we’ll probably just stack up on cash and wait for some green signals by January 2023. As optimistic as I can be, and with the readings and signals that I’m absorbing, we’re nowhere near its end of the red line. We might plan on investing in real estate next year, angel invest in some small businesses, take part in a REIT (Real estate investment trust), or just top up on our stocks and ETFs.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Nurture your health and relationships

As cliche as it could be - money is not everything. When the market hits like this, you will realise how fragile money is. It can be gone within minutes and days. When you chase money, the money will then control your life. It will affect your mental and emotional wellbeing, and eventually, physically and spiritually, as well. Although as we keep saying, don’t be emotional about it - but to us who are not in the spectrum, this is a challenge.

I learned as I mature in life that money is just an instrument, a means to get an experience. Money is like a piano, but the beauty is the music that you make and not the instrument itself. When market crashes, this is a good time to reflect on what really matters in your life: family, friendships, experiences, your overall health, your passion, and many more. This is sometimes an opportunity to reset your life and choose how to move forward. What is money for you? How do you define wealth?

Personally, I’m now making better choices for my health. I now do regular physical exercises by doing strength (weights), running & cycling, and a lot of walking & standing. I’m also eating much better food and sleeping longer hours. Almost half my of life was already spent sitting down in front of a computer. I think it’s about time to make better choices. I also look after my mental health more seriously too by doing a lot of journaling and gratitude exercises like negative visualisations (stoicism).

Last, as I welcome my 2nd son in a few days, it’s time to “be there” for him and the rest of the family. These days, I am more hands on to my son and becoming a more servant leader to the family. I cherish the little pockets of the day when I get to hug my son, kiss my wife, and have simple catch-ups with family and friends. Relationships, whether for business or personal, are always the best investment.


Obviously (or not so obvious), none of this is financial advice. Any form of investments have its risks, and you should always do your own research before venturing in to something. Some of these might not apply to you, depending on your circumstances. But I hope you learn (or refresh) a thing or two in this post.

Key takeaways:

  • 📚 Always learn
  • 💸 Avoid bad debts.
  • 🚨 Emergency funds.
  • 🐢 Slow and steady businesses
  • 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 relationships & health