When life hands you a pandemic...12 Tips if your income has been affected by the corona virus
First of all, I hope this message finds you safe and healthy during this crazy time.
Like so many, I'm here working remotely and finding a new normal.
As an introvert I was built for this and feel like I’ve been training for it my whole life!
But I know not everyone feels the same, and none of us were prepared for such a sudden shift.
I know there are a lot of things top of mind right now, including maintaining and adjusting how you work and do business, your finances, job security and of course....toilet paper!
My intention with this page is to help guide you through this time with as much ease and grace as possible, particularly if your income has been affected by the corona virus.
Top 12 Tips to Manage Your Finances During the Corona virus
Keep. Breathing. As simple and basic as it sounds, physiologically when we feel fear and uncertainty, we hold our breath.
The simple act of taking a few deep breaths tells your body and mind that you are okay.
Remember that even if you don't know if you'll be okay tomorrow, chances are, if you're reading this, you're okay right now, in this moment.
A lot of anxiety comes from facing the unknown and an unknown future. But in this moment, we're usually okay.
2. Maintain Financial Clarity
Even if your income has been cut off or reduced, stay clear about exactly how much is coming in and going out by tracking it. This is truly a case of forewarned is forearmed.
Being clear eyed about your finances, even if the numbers aren’t balancing right now, is less stressful than wondering what is happening.
Because things are often scarier in our minds than in reality.
When you know what’s happening you can take a proactive approach to either prevent trouble that may be looming, or prioritize expenses so at least the essentials are taken care of.
3. Prioritize What Gets Paid And What May Not (for now)
Focus on what is essential to pay right now, and what may need to be negotiated or skipped (for now).
Start by focusing on paying for the essentials first, before paying for anything else: shelter, food, utilities and transportation.
If that is all you can pay right now, then just focus there.
Fortunately, right now many companies are suspending utility cutoffs and other payments temporarily to help us weather this storm.
4. This Is A Biggie: BE IN COMMUNICATION
Call your account holders and creditors BEFORE you think you're going to miss a payment, if you can.
Find out if they will work with you to create a reduced or delayed payment plan. Ask them to waive penalties and fees.
If you do not get the answer you want, ask if that's the best they can do, and ask to talk with a supervisor. Let them know your situation. Let them know you intend to pay when you can.
If you do get new terms, fees waived, payments deferred, etc, get it in writing! That way if there's ever a question about what was agreed upon, you have a paper trail (or email trail).
Be nice to the folks you talk to. Not only will you get further with honey than vinegar, it's also a relief for them because the person on the other end is likely very stressed too!
5. If You Are In The Process of Paying Off Debts, Put That On Hold For Now
Focus on making minimum payments only right now on any debts you’re carrying, if you have money left over after paying for the essentials.
If you do not have enough to pay the minimum payments right now, let them know you will be missing a payment or paying late.
While normally I would not encourage paying late on anything, right now if that is what will keep you in your home, then that may be temporarily necessary.
And, if you let the companies you owe know you are paying late or missing a payment, but that you do intend to pay it, they may be willing to work something out with you. (See the above tip)
6. If You Have A Rainy Day Fund, Use It If You Need To
If you have a rainy day or emergency fund, this is what it was designed for.
It’s okay to tap into it if you need to.
Once things get up and running again you can replenish the coffers.
How to Find Resources That May Be Available to You
Check your state government website for links to apply for unemployment if you're eligible, and other information related to what may be available where you live.
If you live outside of the US, please look to your local area websites as well.
For any utilities, car payments, or other financial obligations you have, check the websites of all the companies you are working with, or call them directly.
7. Don’t Get Scammed
I’m already hearing stories about people being taken advantage of through scams.
Watch out for emails, texts and calls from those posing as governmental or charitable organizations.
Do not give out your social security number, passwords, account numbers, or any other sensitive personal or financial information to someone you do not know.
Never wire or transfer money, and never offer to cash or send checks to anyone you do not personally know. And if someone sends you a message saying they are a relative or friend, call that relative or friend directly and ask them if they sent you that message.
If you get a suspicious or odd email or text, do not click on any links.
If it feels fishy or odd, trust your gut and delete it!
8. Plan For Your Future Now
This experience is showing a lot of us where the strengths and weaknesses are in our finances.
Using this time to get clear on what you want moving forward is powerful.
Don’t wait until this is over to start thinking about what you want, start making goals now.
When this is over, what do you want to put in place financially?
6 months of savings in the bank? No debt payments? Starting a new business or career?
Let that desire fuel you.
Then create a plan to move forward once this is over.
I can help you make that financial vision a reality when you are ready, using proven, tried and true strategies that work in every economy. Learn more by scheduling a free consultation here.
9. Get Creative
Whether your income has been impacted by this pandemic, or you want to expand your sources of income to protect yourself financially, by being creative you can come up with some good ideas.
Whether it’s making a change in how you interact with clients, or the ways your services or products can be re-purposed, now is the time to become creative and flexible.
Keep in mind that all a business is is solving a problem that people need or want to have solved.
What problem can you help solve?
A fun example: in my neighborhood there’s a pizza place giving away a free roll of toilet paper with every pie! That’s creative. And I bet it helped them sell a lot more pizzas!
10. Talk To Your Financial Adviser Before Making Any Changes To Your Portfolio
The numbers show us that we will have much better returns when we buy and hold investments vs timing the markets.
Talk to your financial advisor about how to navigate your individual investment portfolio so you make the best decision for your financial future.
11. Seek Out Something That Makes You Feel Good Each Day
There is no doubt that this is a strange and stressful time.
But there is one thing we can do to make this time just a little bit easier, and that is to look for something that makes you feel every at least once every day.
It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, a good thought you choose to focus on, a kind gesture, a good movie or book, virtual zoo or museum tours, or playing with your kids in the backyard…
Best of all, it’s probably free.
Personally, I love humor, whether it’s memes, a good joke, or a comedy special on Netflix.
Note: sometimes feeling good is about what you don’t do. Like if watching too much news makes you feel crappy or scared, then turn it off.
12. Remember That This Is Temporary
One of the hardest parts about this situation is that we don’t know when it will end. But IT WILL end.
It’s easy to feel like what’s happening today is how things will always be.
If you’re struggling or having a hard time, remind yourself to separate what's happening today and how you feel today, from the greatness of who you are and what you have to offer every other day.
Have hope and keep your head up
You are stronger than you think.
You are more resilient than you know.
You are wildly creative and resourceful, especially when you tap into what's most important to you.
I’m wishing you and yours very well,
Money Coach Kathryn