As Coronavirus cases rise in the United States, some hope comes with the announcement that two—and possibly THREE—vaccines are at least 90% effective in preventing COVID.
That’s GREAT news for both the pandemic and the economy, but it will be quite some time before things get back to normal.
Where are you at with your money in these continued uncertain times?
Over the past 7 or 8 months, many of you have:
- Lost your jobs completely
- Been furloughed without pay
- Been furloughed with a small amount of pay
- Seen your business bare the brunt of the lockdowns
- Relied on stimulus money and extra unemployment to get by
- Ran out of stimulus money and extra unemployment and are now wondering how you will get by
- Taken from your retirement savings to make ends meet
- Used your emergency fund
- Dried up your emergency fund
- Wondered when enough will be enough
Back in April, I wrote an article about 4 Certainties During Uncertain Times, and the one I personally focus on in that list is “We will get through this.”
I wholeheartedly believe that we will come out of this stronger than ever.
While that may do a bit to comfort you, I want to give you some actions that you can do right now to help your finances through this rough time.
We are only beginning to see what the economic fallout has been—and potentially what it will be—with the pandemic.
1. Make Sure Your Needs Are Taken Care of
Depending on where you are financially, it may be difficult to pay some bills right now. Make sure you are taking care of your housing, utilities, and food first before anything else.
Do whatever you can to make sure your needs are prioritized.
This may look like cancelling most of your streaming services for now, finding cheaper meals to cut back on groceries, stopping extra debt payments, going without a haircut for a while, or simply cutting back on personal spending.
Taking care of your needs will make sure you do not become homeless and hungry during the pandemic.
2. Shore Up Your Emergency Fund
I’m all for determining your own emergency fund, but the amount you feel comfortable with in the bank may be different now than it was prepandemic.
I recommend using any extra money you have to shore up your emergency fund.
Do I think you need to have a year’s worth of expenses on hand just in case? I don’t, and I still believe your emergency fund (EF) number will be different than someone else’s.
But when it’s all said and done, having more and not needing it is better than not having enough.
If it’s a bit low right now, build it up quickly. If you’re at the point where you’re comfortable, throw a bit more into it just for good measure.
The opportunity cost of missing out on investing the little bit extra you determine you need is not going to be that much.
Then, when the pandemic is over, you can re-evaluate where you’re at and invest the rest.
3. Seek Help
This is where some of you may have to let go of your pride.
On a normal day, you should not be ashamed of financial struggle. That goes double for dealing with a pandemic.
Reach. Out. To. Someone.
Seriously. Reach out to a friend or family member, even if it’s simply for moral support.
Call your creditors to see what type of COVID relief programs they have.
Sign up for government assistance programs.
I am also here for you. You do not have to be alone in this. So don’t be alone in this.
4. Continue to Help Where You Can
If earnings reports from stores like Home Depot and Target are to be believed, some people are not struggling with money as much as others.
First off, that’s great. Second, I want to say help out where you can.
With so many lives lost from COVID, the strain on the economy, and the incalculable human toll that all takes, it is now more important than ever to band together and unite as Americans.
If you’re secure in your job and have extra money, take care of yourself and your family, but also use some of that to help a neighbor, a friend, a coworker, or a complete stranger.
Just because you can.
There is no greater return on investment than helping others, especially when they cannot help themselves.
It’s honestly worth more than all the money in the world.
As we continue through the pandemic, these are uncharted waters. We have markers that are letting us know what the economy might do, but no one knows for sure.
Now more than ever, it’s important to do what is going to be best for you at the same time as looking out for each other.
Take care of your finances, and then help take care of others. It’s like putting your oxygen mask on first in an airplane and then helping those around you.
Let’s stick together and show the world what unity looks like.
Reach out to me via my contact page if you need anything. I’d love to hear from you.