I’ve posted several stories about national economic woe recently. In real life, I’ve had conversations with a few of my friends about the mortgage mess, about recession and a possible bear market, and about the nature of poverty. The economy is sour in the United States (and elsewhere in the world), and this frightens many people.

I don’t buy in to the forecasts of economic doom. I’m an optimist. Things may get rough, but they’ve been rough before. Besides, I believe that I have more control over my financial future than the general economy does. If I make smart financial choices, I can weather the storm.

Whatever happens, I’m going to pursue the get rich slowly philosophy. It’s worked for me so far, and I’m confident that it will work in the future (whatever that may bring). I will:

  • Avoid debt.
  • Spend less than I earn.
  • Maintain an emergency fund.
  • Track my spending.
  • Exercise frugality.
  • Save for my retirement.
  • Ignore the media hype.

It almost sounds like a boy scout pledge, but I don’t care. As I’ve developed these skills, my financial life has turned around. These behaviors helped me to eliminate debt, and now they’re helping me to build wealth. And all of these are things that I can do to control my money, regardless of whether we’re in a recession or an economic expansion.

When the economy is good — especially your personal economy — it’s easy to slip into bad habits because there’s a greater margin for error. Tough times require getting “back to the basics”. If you believe we’re headed for a recession, don’t panic. Stay calm. If you take control of your finances and make smart choices, you’ll probably be fine.

Addendum: Trent at The Simple Dollar published a related piece today: Is Success a Choice?

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