“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” –Thomas Edison

Dealing with recession

As confirmed, coronavirus cases cross 7500 (as of 18 April) with more than a 100 deaths, Pakistan is expected to fall into recession mainly due to countrywide lockdown for more than four weeks. While only time will tell if Pakistan’s economy can escape this recession, here are four steps that can be taken to mitigate the impact of a recession on your personal finances. First, make sure you have some savings. Second, create and live on a budget. A budget can be a good way to help reinforce the classification of wants and needs. Setting aside a certain amount of money each month can not only help you financially, but can also help financial decision making. There is nothing like a set amount to emphasise your decision making on what constitutes a necessity and what constitutes a desire. Third, pay off your debts. You should always work to be debt free, but when a recession is coming it's even more important to do so. Reducing your debts will lower your monthly expenses and give you a better chance of surviving a recession if you lose your job or need to cut down on spending. Fourth, create additional income streams. In a recession, there's always the chance that you might lose your job. Your primary focus should be to keep your current job and be ready to enter the market again for a new one if you lose it (keep an updated resume, investigate job opportunities, etc.). However, you can also increase your financial security by creating separate income streams. These can be a second job, an online business, or any form of passive income. While preparing for natural disasters can help mitigate the losses, preparing for a recession can lessen its impact on your family’s finances.

Suhaira Shakil,

The importance of social media during lockdown

With people across the globe practicing social distancing – or in some cases, on a national lockdown – traditional media channels have taken a bit of a hit. Subsequently, there has been a huge spike in people spending time online – reading news and using social media platforms. From live music performances on Facebook and Instagram to online antakshari on Twitter, to hashtag challenges on TikTok egging users to suggest ways to beat the lockdown blues, social media platforms and their users are finding novel ways to stay engaged. The number of minutes spent by readers on news sites has increased by 46 per cent in the same period last year. And since people can’t hang out with their friends in real life, they’re connected virtually – on every platform possible. It’s not only Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram experiencing increased traffic – Zoom and Skype user numbers have skyrocketed since the pandemic began. What is most interesting about this perhaps, is to consider how these behavioural changes are likely to shape the future of our world. Undoubtedly, we’ll see more businesses offering remote working opportunities, but we’re also likely to see people utilising more online communication channels to stay in touch with their teams. But why exactly is social media usage increasing? The most obvious reason for the rise in social usage is the fact that people are social creatures by nature. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, after a couple of days of self-isolation, you’re likely to miss your friends or colleagues. The gap that is left from the lack of social interaction with social communities is significant, and social media offers a way to fill this void. The pandemic has left most people feeling anxious and looking for support amid the ongoing uncertainty – and as such, people need to feel connected more than ever before.

Anoosha Imran,