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Preparing Finances for a Recession

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With many economists predicting a recession sometime soon, it’s wise to start preparing just in case. There are numerous ways to improve your financial situation regardless of your income level. Here’s how to get started, plus tips on what not to do during an economic slump.


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The Predicted Recession

There’s growing talk of an economic downturn. With inflation gathering steam and the Fed predicted to push up interest rates in response, the first half of 2023 will likely bring a recession. Many factors are compounding the issue, including:

  • Rising food prices due to embargos on Russian wheat, wheat fields in Ukraine being burned and Ukrainian wheat harvests being stolen or destroyed.
  • Pandemic supply chain issues.
  • Billions of people spend more money than usual after quarantine, such as by going on vacation or getting married.
  • Increased energy prices due to Russian oil sanctions.

It’s essential to keep in mind that even if a recession happens, it may still be very mild or short-lived.

Tips for Preparing for a Recession

Whether or not the predicted recession materializes, it’s still a good idea to get your finances in order as soon as possible. That way, you’ll be even more prepared for the next economic downturn.

Create an Emergency Reserve

If you have car trouble, you need to visit the dentist, or your home has a water leak, can you pay for it without breaking the bank? Unexpected bills are a part of life, so it’s essential to prepare for them even during prosperous times. Having a solid emergency fund is critical during a recession.

Aim to start a fund that covers three to six months of minimal living expenses — that is, don’t budget for things like going out to eat or taking a vacation. If you’re retired, you’d do well to save for at least one to two years’ worth of expenses.

These emergency funds shouldn’t be tied up in real estate or an investment account. You should be able to draw from them immediately if you lose your job or face an unexpected rent hike. Other than paying off debts, prioritize building your emergency fund above all else.

You can start by putting just a few dollars a day into your account. Setting aside even $3 a day means that in one year, you’ll have saved $1,095, which can be immensely helpful if you get an unexpected bill. Consider what minor expenses you could eliminate — such as a streaming subscription or smoking habit — to save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Automate Your Savings

The easiest way to start saving money is to do it automatically. Set up an automatic transfer with your bank or employer to make regular deposits into a savings account. If you have any recurring bills, use autopay to cover them. This will reduce your financial stress, ensure your bills are paid on time and slowly build up your savings account.

Reduce Debt

Interest rates tend to increase during a recession. If your credit card has a variable rate — meaning the interest rate can change based on factors beyond your control — it’s vital to pay off the card as soon as possible. You could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in potential interest by paying it off before the recession starts. This should be your number one priority during an economic downturn.

Put off Larger Purchases

Sometimes, making a large payment is unavoidable. If your car is beyond saving, but you live miles from any public transportation, you may have no choice but to buy another vehicle.

But don’t make large purchases unless absolutely necessary — now is the time to save as much as you can. If you lose your job, interest rates go up, or your cost of living increases substantially, you’ll want to have a large nest egg set aside.

Consider Sticking With Your Job

It’s true that many people are quitting their jobs right now. When polled, 45% of American employees said they would consider leaving their job if they got a better offer. This phenomenon even has a name — the Great Resignation.

It’s understandable if you’re tempted to look for better job opportunities, but recessions are a notoriously tricky time to be out of work. Many employers are forced to lay off workers and go on hiring freezes, meaning that if you put in your two weeks’ notice before a recession, it could be a while before you find another job.

Rather than looking for a higher-paying job, upskill yourself so you can earn more at your current place of employment. This also bolsters your chances of staying employed even if your company starts laying people off. If you do need to quit, have a solid backup plan in place. You should ideally have another job lined up before jumping ship.

Get a Side Gig

These days, it’s incredibly common to have a second job. Put in an hour or two per week mowing yards or selling art. If you can, get a side gig you can do alongside your main job, such as dog sitting or house sitting while you work on your laptop. That way, you can earn a little more without putting in too many extra hours.

Share Your Living Space

With rent prices soaring, it’s no wonder that as of 2021, over half of all Americans aged 18–24 lived with their parents. Others cut costs by sharing their home with roommates, a spouse, or an unmarried partner. Consider staying where you are if you already have a shared living situation. If you have an empty room in your house, you may even be able to rent it out to make some extra income.

Hold Onto Your Investments

If you have investments, you may feel rising anxiety as your portfolio shows falling prices. But remember — these losses are only theoretical until you withdraw your money, a principle called locking in your losses. Don’t let your emotions guide your financial decisions.

It’s common for the market to have some of its best days right after its worst days, so fight the urge to sell during a bear market. You want to invest for decades, holding steady even as your investments rise and fall in value over time. You’re statistically more likely to make a profit the longer you wait to sell.

Consider shifting your investments into sectors like energy, health care, and consumer goods, which people will always buy regardless of their financial situation. These are solid investments during a recession. Or, switch your assets from stocks to bonds.

Bonds are an excellent choice for people looking for a fixed income. Every year, you’re guaranteed to gain a small amount of interest on the bond, which adds up slowly over time. This offers a safe return on your investment, even if the return is much smaller than what you’d get by buying stocks. Bonds aren’t subject to plummeting in value during a recession like stocks are.

Keep Investing if You Can

Taking on additional debt or making big purchases during a recession is not advisable. However, keep investing if you’re financially privileged enough to do so. Whether you have a Roth IRA, brokerage account, or 401k, stick to your plan and keep depositing money into your account. You’re more likely to avoid losses the longer you stay in the market.

Don’t Co-Sign on a Loan

A recession isn’t the best time to co-sign on a loan, meaning you’re signing up to be someone’s backup in case they fall through on their payments. Although co-signing can help a friend or family member with a poor credit history, you’re ultimately responsible for the debt if they can’t pay it off. That’s a risky move during an economic downturn. Instead, give someone cash or a personal loan if you want to help them financially.

Stay Calm

Remember that recessions are a regular, temporary part of the economic cycle and the economy always bounces back even stronger afterward. You’ve already been through multiple recessions in your lifetime. In the US, the average post-war recession only lasts 10 months, while expansion periods last almost five years.

So, don’t fall prey to fear, uncertainty, and doubt. You don’t need to constantly watch the news or read every doomsday article predicting another Great Depression. It’s possible to stay informed without fixating on the worst outcomes, and it’s possible to be prepared without being anxious. Protect your mental health during a recession by reminding yourself economic slumps are usually short-lived.

Weathering Any Storm

Recessions are a part of life. The good news is experts know how they work, so there are reliable ways to prepare for and get through them unscathed. Your best bet is to create an emergency savings account, hold on tight to your investments, reduce your debt and wait to make large purchases until after the recession ends.

Above all, keep a clear head and do your best not to make any irrational financial decisions. Things will be back to normal before you know it.

The post Preparing Finances for a Recession appeared first on Due.

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Better Chip Stock in 2023: AMD vs. STM

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While the last year has been challenging for the chip makers, the outlook for the industry is improving. Moreover, lucrative government initiatives are expected to strengthen the industry further. So, quality stocks Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and STMicroelectronics (STM) could witness stable growth. But which is the better buy in 2023? Let’s find out.

The semiconductor industry witnessed significant supply chain disruptions in 2022. However, according to Peter Voser, the chairman of Swedish-Swiss tech and engineering giant ABB, the global shortage of semiconductors is expected to ease this year.

Moreover, the CHIPS Act is expected to bolster the industry further. It allocates $52.70 billion for American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. Lucrative federal investments are expected to help the semiconductor industry thrive in the upcoming terms. The global semiconductor industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7% until 2030.

Therefore, quality stocks Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM) are expected to gain significantly. AMD and STM are popular chip makers operating globally.

AMD has gained 16% over the past month, while STM has gained 32.8%. Also, AMD has lost 20.5% over the past three months, while STM has gained 24.5%.

Which stock is a buy? Let’s find out.

Latest Developments

On December 1, 2022, AMD and Viettel High Tech (Member of Viettel Group) announced the successful completion of a 5G mobile network field trial deployment. This collaboration for advanced 5G connection deployment is expected to be strategically beneficial for both companies.

On the other hand, on January 30, 2023, STM launched the world’s first MCU Edge-AI Developer Cloud.

Ricardo De Sa Earp, Executive Vice President of General-Purpose Microcontroller Sub-Group, STM, said, “Our goal is to deliver the best hardware, software, and services to meet the challenges faced by embedded developers and data scientists so that they can develop their edge AI application faster and with less hassle.”

Recent Financial Results

AMD’s revenue came in at $5.60 billion for the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2022, up 16% year-over-year. However, its non-GAAP operating income came in at $1.26 billion, down 5% year-over-year. Also, its non-GAAP net income decreased marginally year-over-year to $1.11 billion, while its non-GAAP EPS decreased 25% year-over-year to $0.69.

On the other hand, STM’s net revenues came in at $4.42 billion for the quarter that ended December 31, 2022, up 24.4% year-over-year. Its net income increased 66.6% year-over-year to $1.25 billion, while its EPS increased 61% year-over-year to $1.32.

Past and Expected Financial Performance

AMD’s revenue is expected to increase 5.1% year-over-year to $24.71 billion for the current fiscal year 2023, while its EPS is expected to increase 2% year-over-year to $3.58 for the same period. Moreover, its EPS is expected to rise 14.3% per annum for the next five years. Also, it surpassed EPS estimates in three of four trailing quarters.

On the other hand, STM’s revenue is expected to increase 6% year-over-year to $17.10 billion for the fiscal year 2023 and 4.8% year-over-year to $17.92 billion for the next fiscal year 2024. Its EPS is expected to increase 7.7% year-over-year to $4.36 in 2024. Moreover, its EPS is expected to rise 5% per annum for the next five years. In addition, it surpassed EPS estimates in all four trailing quarters.

Profitability

AMD’s gross profit margin of 50.95% is higher than STM’s 47.34%. However, AMD’s EBITDA and net income margins of 24.30% and 9.96% are lower than STM’s 34.76% and 24.55%, respectively. Also, AMD’s ROE, ROA, and ROTC of 7.37%, 2.26%, and 5.72% are lower than STM’s 36.00%, 20.34%, and 20.13%, respectively.

Valuation

In terms of forward EV/Sales, AMD’s 4.85x is higher than STM’s 2.41x. Its forward EV/EBITDA of 14.93x is 114.8% higher than STM’s 6.95x. Furthermore, AMD’s forward P/E of 66.92x compares with STM’s 11.06x.

Thus, STM is relatively more affordable.

POWR Ratings

STM has an overall rating of A, equating to Strong Buy in our proprietary POWR Ratings system. On the other hand, AMD has an overall rating of D, which translates to Sell. The POWR Ratings are calculated considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

STM has a B grade for Quality. Its trailing-12-month CAPEX/Sales of 19.57% is 679.5% higher than the industry average of 2.51%.

On the other hand, AMD has a D grade for Quality. Its trailing-12-month CAPEX/Sales of 1.80% is lower than the industry average.

In addition, STM has a C grade for Stability, in sync with its beta of 1.30. On the other hand, AMD has an F grade for Stability, with its beta of 1.98.

Of the 92-stock Semiconductor & Wireless Chip industry, STM is ranked #2, while AMD is ranked #88.

Beyond what we’ve stated above, we have also rated the stocks for Growth, Value, Momentum, and Sentiment. Click here to view STM Ratings. Get all AMD ratings here.

The Winner

The supply chain issues in the semiconductor industry are expected to ease this year, which should boost production. Given the steady prospects of the industry, quality stocks STM and AMD should benefit. However, STM’s better financials and attractive valuations make it the better buy here.

Our research shows that the odds of success increase when one invests in stocks with an Overall Rating of Strong Buy or Buy. View all the top-rated stocks in the Semiconductor & Wireless Chip industry here.

Consider This Before Placing Your Next Trade…

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STM shares rose $0.16 (+0.34%) in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, STM has gained 32.75%, versus a 6.29% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Riddhima Chakraborty

Riddhima is a financial journalist with a passion for analyzing financial instruments. With a master’s degree in economics, she helps investors make informed investment decisions through her insightful commentaries.

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These Co-Founders Built a Mobile Farmers Market With a Mission

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“The world was in shambles,” Prosperity Market co-founder Carmen Dianne says, recalling the pandemic and social unrest of 2020. “It was really hard to see everything that was happening, to know that 41% of Black-owned businesses were closing. The grocery store lines were so long, just getting food was even more difficult than it had been previously.”

Dianne and her friend Kara Still didn’t want to stand by amid the tumult — so they took action.

To address the economic instability and food insecurity facing the Black community, the Los Angeles-based duo co-founded Prosperity Market, a mobile farmers market featuring Black farmers, food producers, entrepreneurs, artists, florists and chefs.

At the time, neither Dianne nor Still had experience in the food industry. Dianne was a makeup artist; Still worked as a fashion designer. Yet coming into the food space “with fresh eyes” has been advantageous for the co-founders, who’ve been ready to question and challenge things from the start.

Entrepreneur sat down with Dianne and Still to learn how they built Prosperity Market while navigating an industry that was entirely new to them — and hear about the exciting initiative they have planned next.

Related: Sorel Liqueur’s Founder Shares His Multi-Million-Dollar Comeback

Black business owners suffered the greatest earnings losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 800,000 Los Angeles County households (almost a quarter of the total), experienced food insecurity over the 12 months ending July 2022, up from 17% in 2021, according to a study released by Public Exchange.

And a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration found that Black business owners suffered the greatest earnings losses during the Covid-19 pandemic: They lost between 11% and 28% while white business owners saw decreases in the 2-15% range.

Dianne and Still came up with a two-pronged approach to tackle the problems of food insecurity and economic instability in the LA area. They’d take healthful and affordable food options directly into the communities that needed them — and partner with Black businesses and farmers to make it happen.

The co-founders’ vision was clear from the start: They wanted to launch a mobile trailer, largely inspired by Dianne’s days as a makeup artist on set, where snack trailers were common, to transport the products to local communities.

But as newcomers to the food space, they had to contend with unknowns along the way, and they soon realized that such an ambitious endeavor would require the kind of funding that would only come once they started to prove themselves. That’s when they landed on the idea for the pop-up markets.

The co-founders consider the required pivot a “blessing in disguise,” as it allowed them to familiarize themselves with the market, connect with vendors and build relationships with different communities.

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: The 10 Best Books for Black Entrepreneurs, by Black Entrepreneurs

“Because we hadn’t intended to start this, it wasn’t like we had a business savings fund.”

In the first six months after they came up with the idea for Prosperity Market, the co-founders had to learn how to do it all — from getting permits to finding funding.

“[Funding] took some figuring out,” Still says, “because we hadn’t intended to start this, it wasn’t like we had a business savings fund. So really what it looked like once we were getting started was friends and family outreach.”

The inaugural market opened in February 2021, and in the lead-up to launch, Dianne and Still prepared relentlessly, researching everything from farmers to food to economics.

Dianne and Still also crafted an aesthetic to help Prosperity Market stand apart from traditional farmers markets. “[Our creative backgrounds] informed our branding and the experience that we want to create, and the theme, continuity and way we show up,” Still explains.

But one thing the co-founders hadn’t banked on? Just how difficult it would be to find Black farmers.

“It was like, Okay, we need more Black-owned businesses,” Dianne says. “We need essential Black-owned businesses — we’ll find Black farmers. And then we had trouble doing that, and we had to learn about the history of Black farmers and why it was this way. So that added another layer to our work.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: 6 Ways to Offer Allyship to Black Entrepreneurs

“You can get your hot food and shop for your groceries and produce all at the same time.”

Through it all, the co-founders’ dedication, flexibility and creativity have helped Prosperity Market gain traction and find success.

As word about Prosperity Market spread, friends and family continued to support Dianne and Still’s venture — and so did their other fans. In 2022, the co-founders launched a crowdfunding campaign on the platform Fund Black Founders with the help of a grant from the JLH Social Impact Fund.

It was a triumph and allowed them to raise enough money to fund the mobile trailer they’d dreamed up at the beginning of their journey.

“That was such a transformational experience for us,” Dianne says. “It taught us a lot. It is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you, but we did it: We raised over $111,000 for our mobile trailer.”

The long-awaited trailer will be 48 feet long with a farmers market that’s set up to look like a produce aisle with shelves full of goods, and a kitchen in the back, which Prosperity Market will rent out to different chefs and food entrepreneurs.

“So it’s a pop-up food truck all in one trailer,” Dianne says. “You can get your hot food and shop for your groceries and produce all at the same time.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: Black Women Entrepreneurs, Not Banks, Helped Me Keep My Company Going During the Pandemic

“It takes something to be able to pull yourself up every day, no matter how things are going.”

As the co-founders look to Prosperity Market’s exciting future, they consider capacity one of the greatest hurdles they’ll have to overcome.

“We have all the ideas in the world,'” Dianne says. “There’s so much we want to do, but then [we] have to execute it, and we just need more operating capital.”

“Because everything takes time,” Still adds. “You write it down, plan it out, strategize and then [it takes] time to actually execute, and there’s always things that come up, and with such a small team, we can only do so much at once.”

The road to Prosperity Market has had its twists and turns, teaching the co-founders the value of practicing patience every day in all areas of their lives.

“You’ll need patience with that vision, patience with all of the different types of people that you’ll be working with and patience with yourself,” Still explains, “because it is not an easy process. It takes something to be able to pull yourself up every day, no matter how things are going, because no one makes your schedule but you.”

It also underscored the importance of having a solid support system along the way.

“We have great mentors and advisors and people we can go to when we get stumped with something,” Dianne says. “We have a supportive community of people who want to see us win. And if it was not for that, I don’t know that we would be continuing this.”

Prosperity Market will hold its next market on Saturday, February 25, 2023, its second anniversary, at the California African American Museum. Its virtual market will be open the week before the pop-up to provide an opportunity to pre-order online and schedule a pick-up at the market or satellite location.

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You’re Not Shadowbanned — Your Content Just Isn’t Working.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you’re anything like me, the phrase “I’m shadowbanned” keeps you up at night. It’s like a bad dream that keeps recurring. Those sleepless nights are not due to the gravity of the client’s situation, but because of what the likely scenario actually is.

As the world changes, so do algorithms. Platforms push out native content when the data informs them that this is something that needs to be seen by more users. What does that mean for a content creator? Yesterday’s content strategy may not apply to today. As people adapt and grow, their need for different consumable content changes, too.

At my company, Innovo, we’re constantly being asked to reach out to our reps at the respective social media platforms to have clients’ accounts assessed for any potential marks causing lower viewership. In our experience, 9 times out of 10, the content is underperforming due to the content itself.

Of course, there are situations where a client is actually being throttled by Instagram or TikTok due to a violation the creator may or may not have been aware of, but more often than not, the best course of action to overcome the “shadowban scaries” is to pivot your content and keep going. Thanks to the rapid spreading of this mythical scapegoat for low viewership, it’s easy to get convinced that what is happening to you is just that.

Sift through Google for five minutes and you’ll see a mountain of “social media gurus” telling you how to “fix” a shadowban. Let’s break down a couple of ways to refocus your thinking and break past this antiquated and overused excuse.

Related: It’s Easy to Avoid a Dreaded Instagram Shadowban. Just Don’t Act Like a Bot.

The zoom out approach

I preach this macro-driven thought process for most things in business. It’s especially relevant in the case of social media. With the advent of TikTok, brands and content creators of all niches worry about the individual video’s success. By focusing on such a micro-target, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in low viewership, low engagement and, ultimately, believe you’re shadowbanned.

If you retrain your mindset to think about the data on a zoomed-out approach, it’s much easier to see the impact of staying relentlessly consistent. Review content and metrics on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis to determine if growth is occurring. Chances are, despite an individual video underperforming, macro growth is still happening. If it’s not, then it’s time to adjust the actual style of content and posting schedule.

Don’t be afraid to pivot

Especially with short-form content avenues such as TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, pivoting is vital to long-term success.

I like to do an exercise when thinking about content where I first create an understanding of my top-of-funnel content bucket. This is something as wide as sports, food, beauty, etc. (Note: If you’re struggling with this, you’re not ready to start creating yet). Then I put two minutes on a timer and write as many sub-content buckets off of that first topic. For example, let’s say I’m a food creator. Things like food reviews, unexpected but great food combinations, home-cooked meals vs. restaurant versions, etc. Those buckets should be a mix of what you’re already creating as well as new ideas.

As one type of content is no longer performing, take slight pivots and adjust the content to stay in the overall broad topic (in this case, cooking), but change the specific content within that. You can also consider keeping similar videos to what you’re currently doing but changing the actual video style, such as switching from text-on-screen to narration or from POV to a selfie video. You can always revert back to your old ways and do a mix of several ideas, but we’ve found not being afraid to pivot is an extremely effective way to continued success with short-form content. Stagnation means death.

Related: I Built a Social Media Following of 1 Million in 30 Days. Here’s How You Can, Too.

Build with intention

As you’re gaining traction and strategizing how you’re going to create and when you’re going to post, it’s important to continue focusing on building with intention. There are tons of companies out there offering mass engagement on social platforms. While that may come off as enticing at first, cutting corners and being inauthentic will eventually damage your brand. We all want followers and higher engagement, but if you’re not focusing on the value-add to consumers and instead focusing on following and unfollowing thousands of accounts a day, you won’t sustain an audience.

Although shadowbanning isn’t as common as people think, the two below ways are the biggest drivers to actually seeing a temporary shadowban:

  1. Frequent spam-like engaging and following of accounts. Focus on organic and intentional growth. Engage with your audience and with potential consumers through hashtag searching and recommended content. Don’t mass-follow people hoping you get a follow back. This is a great way to receive a temporary decrease in reach.
  2. Follow the individual platforms’ Community Guidelines. Posting content that is not appropriate for general viewing will result in temporary bans (and can lead to permanent suspensions). These apps will automatically flag these kinds of videos and content moderation staff will then take a closer look at your profile.

In short, don’t post illegal or graphic content and don’t spam people. If you’re being intentional with what you create and how you grow, you likely aren’t shadowbanned and aren’t going to be.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that users are distracted by other content as well as things happening in their everyday lives. Create content with that in mind and instead of trying to compete, carve out a unique differentiator for your accounts. It is your responsibility to build a safe environment for your followers, no one else’s. If you drift from that approach, you may receive an actual shadowban — but remember, in the case of checking all of the boxes, you’re probably not shadowbanned, it might just be time to make a change.

Related: How TikTok Changed the Social Media Game With Its Unique Algorithm

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