How to Make Money During A Recession: 5 Ways to Make Money Now
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Hearing the word “recession” is enough to strike fear in many people. If you remember the Great Recession of 2008, you know how catastrophic it was for people worldwide. Like so many others, I lost a chunk of my net worth during the last economic crisis. I don’t plan on doing that again.
We’re likely in another downturn currently, leaving countless Americans in a state of panic.
However, history shows us that opportunity remains even during an economic crisis. You simply need to know where to look. It’s possible to make money during a recession if you act wisely and have the courage to take calculated risks.
If you want to know how to identify those calculated risks, our guide shares a few of the top possibilities.
Ways to Make Money During A Recession
A popular Warren Buffett quote states that you need to be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy. That sentiment holds true now, but it isn’t easy.
Even if you’ve lost your job, there are still opportunities. You just need to know how to find it. Here are five ways to make money during an economic collapse and avoid compounding loss.
1. Find the In-Demand Fields
Each recession is different. The COVID-19 crisis has caused tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs, and the economy is swiftly contracting.
The best way to make money in a recession is to find in-demand fields. Whether that’s speaking strictly of investing or finding a new career opportunity, you want to locate those opportunities.
Reports show numerous fields are still hiring. Those include:
- Teleworking software
- Tech support
If you have skills in those areas, you may be able to profit. They may also present unique investing opportunities. Your situation will vary from others, but it pays to do your due diligence.
Are you out of work because of the economic recession? If so, one area seeing significant demand is the food and grocery delivery space.
Neither role requires specialized skills, and both can help you bridge the gap until you get back on your feet.
Read our Postmates or DoorDash guide to learn how they work and which is better for drivers.
2. Don’t Avoid the Stock Market
If you want to know how to profit from a recession, look no further than the stock market. Yes, the stock market is experiencing wild swings.
I remember seeing them as a stockbroker during the Great Recession of 2008. Many stocks swung wildly, wiping out years of gains for countless people.
However, for those who stayed the course, they saw significant increases as the market returned to form.
This strategy requires a long-term view of investing, looking for recession-proof businesses, and not one held captive by losses.
It’s not easy to do this as you see losses mount, but you want to look for opportunities. Some of the same industries mentioned above present good opportunities, as do those that provide for the basic needs of Americans.
You obviously must follow your investment plan to do this, but when quality investments are down, they provide a terrific opportunity.
As Warren Buffett says, “Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”
Either can assist you in creating a plan to weather the economic collapse and gird your investments.
You can read our review of M1 Finance to learn more about that platform.
3. Look for Alternative Investments
If you’re wondering how to invest during a recession, you must remember to look beyond stocks. We hear a lot about the need for diversity when we invest.
An economic collapse makes diversification more of a necessity. Alternative investments can include any of the following investment choices:
- Real estate
- Precious metals
- Physical assets like wine, land, or art
These investments are not risk-free, and you should research them before investing. Still, they may provide a hedge against traditional investments like stocks.
Both have low minimum balance requirements and offer an excellent way to make money during a recession.
Just remember, cash is king. That’s never truer than in an economic collapse, so make sure you have enough liquidity before pursuing additional investment options.
4. Kill Debt
Paying off debt may seem like an odd choice in a guide on how to make money in a recession. However, it’s on our list for a reason.
Debt strangles your finances. Debt keeps you from accomplishing other financial goals you may have. Add an economic deccline to the mix, and it becomes suffocating.
If you have high-interest debt, and you still have your job, especially an in-demand one, you want to find a way to kill the debt.
Do you have credit card debt? If so, consider transferring the balance to a balance transfer credit card.
Do you have a mortgage? If so, you can pursue refinancing the mortgage to save money on interest. Read our guide on the best online mortgage lenders to see which ones may be a good fit.
Paying off debt, even in good times, is a challenge. But, if you’re able to attack debt now, it will help you weather the storm and hit the ground running once the recession ends.
5. Invest in Yourself
The best way to make money in any climate is to invest in yourself. You are your biggest moneymaker, and by investing in yourself, you have more tools to offer employers or potential clients.
Investing in yourself sounds vague, but it requires action. Here are a few ideas to invest in yourself during an economic collapse:
- Learn a new skill online, such as coding
- Ask to take on additional responsibilities at work
- Start a side hustle that creates passive income
If you need ideas of how to invest in yourself, look at recession-proof industries, and learn what they’re looking for in employees. Use that to guide your efforts.
Like investing, investing in yourself is a long-term play. It may require a bit of pain now but will pay dividends over time.
Money-Making Opportunities to Avoid
There are numerous ways to make money during a recession, but not everything is an opportunity. Here are a few things to avoid during an economic crisis.
Anything Requiring a Substantial Upfront Investment
Cash is king. Cash protects during an economic collapse. You want to avoid business opportunities requiring a significant upfront investment that ties up large sums of money.
That’s not to say that such investments are bad, per se, but liquidity is essential. If presented with an offer requiring substantial investment, ask how else you can participate or ask if you can invest at a lower level.
Multi-Level Marketing Schemes
Multi-level marketing (MLM) companies like to tout that you can start your own business and earn significant money. They also like to target work-from-home moms with promises of riches.
MLMs don’t like to admit that less than one percent of those who participate earn a profit, per the FTC. Worse yet, most end with debt and frustration.
Unsurprisingly, MLMs are targeting people during the recession with renewed promises of riches. If you encounter this, run the other way.
Anything You Don’t Understand
If you want to know how to make money from a recession, you want to avoid anything you don’t understand.
All of the opportunities above are good, but if you don’t understand them, you can easily lose money.
There are ways to learn how to invest, for example, by reading investing books for beginners. If, after doing your homework, you still don’t understand the investment option, it’s best to avoid it and pursue something else.
While always important, it’s essential during an economic collapse.
Making money in a recession seems like a pipe dream. It isn’t. There are income-earning opportunities available, but it requires work.
No one knows how long the economic crisis will last. We do know that it will end at some point. Those who look for ways to grow their net worth now are most likely to weather the storm successfully and succeed in the future.
What are you doing to make money currently? How are you investing in yourself? What is one investment opportunity you want to learn more about?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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