Up, up, up, down, down, down, up, down. That is the unofficial definition of stock market volatility, which has been wildly displayed recently as the Dow suffered two of its worst point drops in history.
Given the current drama in the market—as well as in Washington—it's ok to wonder what the impact will be on you.
The good news is that you control your financial decisions and have the ability to make things better.
Here are some things that you can do now to prepare for an uncertain economy:
1. Tackle your Debt
Start bringing your total debt amount down by paying any extra amount you can afford. The average American debt has increased 3% in the past year to a total of $24,706, reviewing the data from the annual State of Credit report. If you think you need more help consider a debt consolidation loan.
2. Find Better Interest Rates
If you have high-interest rates on your credit cards try negotiating a new rate with your credit card issuer, or consider getting a lower interest card. The better your rate, the less you pay in interest rate fees, especially if you have started to bring your total debt down.
3. Make Credit Cards Work for You
If you can't get a lower interest rate start researching a new credit card that can reward you. Card issuers are offering multiple ways for you to earn incentives through different cards that can work to benefit you through savings or cash or more.
4. Refinance Your Mortgage or Auto Loan
Consider a refinance on your home loan or refinance your auto loan to get a better interest rate. You may want to lock in a mortgage rate now ahead of any further rate increases by the Federal Reserve.
5. Focus on Your Savings
Find new ways to save money every day whether through using coupons, putting more of your paycheck aside, or using any one of the new savings apps such as Digit and Earny that do it for you. Another idea is instead of using that tax refund or bonus for a splurge item, make it work for you by opening up a high-interest savings account.
No one can predict what the stock market will do in the short term or how the economy is going to behave. We do know too much debt can be a heavy burden. Don't let your debt or financial concerns go unattended. Be proactive in making the right decisions avoiding your own bear market.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.