Three ways to build climate-proof savings

The right time to save money?
It's when you have some.

Squirrel storing foodThese are the good times, right? Unemployment is low, stock markets and the dollar are way up, soon Washington will cut our taxes. And what do good news and high hopes tell us? Time to upgrade our car? Redo the kitchen? Take that big vacation?

They tell me the opposite. It's time to spend less, save more, get more acorns into the tree. Here's why.

First, the economic expansion is eight years old this month; few downturns have held off this long. Second, many big investors want to sell assets but are holding off for a few more months, hoping that Tax Reform will lower the capital gains tax on those sales. That investment sell-off could come suddenly, if the tax cut arrives or if investors conclude that it won't. Third, home prices are at record levels, a scary sign after the last recession.

But my main concern is that rising costs predicted from climate change - for flood infrastructure, food prices, disaster recovery, home and flood insurance, state and local taxes, and more - could make today the financial high water mark of our lives. Especially if we don't start saving more.

But where to put our savings? The stock market may be cruising for a fall, and bank rates are below inflation. Here are three ideas.

Invest in job skills. The payback in earnings using climate-proof skills - yours or your family's - can be big and long-term.

Invest in relocation. Some hometowns are naturally climate-proof; others are in the crosshairs of climate change costs. You spend money to sell up and move, but the payoff can be huge, including - believe it or not - in your federal income taxes.

Invest in remote working skills. The cost of living in big employment centers often outweighs the higher wages. Remote-working lets you vie for competitive earnings while living where prices are already low - and relatively safe from future climate costs.

I'll be detailing these recommendations in coming posts.

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