Do you remember how the world felt just weeks ago? Sometimes it seems like lifetime ago. Unemployment was low, stocks were high and we were focused on day to day life, friends, family, the freedom to gather together and move about. The old normal. The corona virus (COVID-19) was a news story happening far, far away. Then, in what felt like an instant, COVID-19 landed and turned our world, our economy and our social lives upside down.
The financial changes have been huge and, for many, frightening. Unfortunately fear can alter our thinking and make us take actions we may regret later. After all, nobody really needs a garage full of toilet paper, soda crackers, green jello and Vienna sausages.
Here are a few things you can do to calm the waters and relieve some of the financial fear and emotional stress that arrived with the pandemic. In no particular order…
Keep your emotions in check. Avoid knee-jerk, panic decisions with your investments. Talk to your trusted advisors to find out what the best thing for you. Make your decisions with facts, not fear.
Go back to your goals. Remember where you are and where you are headed. First you want a secure present, and long-term, a secure future. Talk to your financial advisors to make sure your investments and retirement funding can keep up with the average increase in cost-of-living.
Control what you can. That would be the actions you take today. Take a deep breath. Don’t feel forced to horde food and supplies, which fuels shortages that are self-perpetuating. Buy what you need, and a little more to gradually build up your supplies.
Manage your bills. If needed, ask for payment plans or extensions on regular bills. Talk to your mortgage company about requesting a forbearance due to COVID-19. Be aware that this can have other financial implications.
Conserve. If you are still employed, save the money you are not spending on commuting, fuel, and insurance refunds given by many auto insurance companies.
Dream. Make plans for the future. You might not be able to set an exact date, but planning something you can look forward to can relieve stress and bring back hope.
Share. Nothing makes you feel more secure than giving someone the things you can. Nothing makes you feel more insecure than hoarding out of fear. Relax a little
Remember your community. When you can, support local businesses. Buy gift cards for future use. Order food delivery for dinner. Subscribe to local newspapers. We won’t be in this situation forever and preserving small businesses will help insure you have a healthy community, and a better quality of life, when the crisis ends.
And… it will end.