Financial Coping Advice in a Pandemic World
After weeks of employments reports where only 700,000+ people applied for unemployment insurance in a week, over 855,000 people applied for unemployment benefits this week.
It looks like unemployment applications are slowly inching back up to the 1 million+ range per week again.
For millions of Americans, there is not a lot of reasons to have hope in a post-pandemic world.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Here is what you must consider doing now.
Develop Long-Term Goals
The world is not fair. That phrase has practically become my daily mantra, However, there is no hope in despair.
If you don’t have a job now, think about what you could potentially do in the future. How could your previous work skills and professional experiences be re-purposed in a post-pandemic world?
And consider how you can start over. As cruel as it sounds, we are all starting over again.
There are many online education platforms that are offering free and reduced-price online classes for unemployed people and government employees. Check out edX and Coursera to start with.
Start reviewing jobs in the online gig economy and remote jobs industry. Consider your existing skillsets and the new skills you can reasonably acquire in the near term and how you can leverage such into new job opportunities.
Be realistic, be patient, and don’t be rash – it will take time for you to chart a new employment future.
Get an Emergency Fund
Before the pandemic struck, the general wisdom was to try to put at least the equivalent of six months’ worth of paychecks in an emergency fund.
Now, such an advance is just not realistic for people, and it is cruel to say to people.
Since the pandemic wrecked the economy, over 70 million people may have lost their jobs. The government offered a one-time $1,200 at the beginning of the crisis.
Now, many people are months behind in rent, mortgage payments, and other various bills. And on top of that, many of the jobs that evaporated earlier are not coming back.
These jobs will be obsolete or rendered moot by the workplace occupancy reduction mandated by social distancing mandates and the advent of remote working.
If you are one of the lucky ones to still have a job, it is imperative that you put some money in an emergency fund, no matter how little.
You can put 10% or 5% of your regular pay into an emergency fund. Every little bit helps.
In this economy and the uncertain future we all now face, it is better to have a little bit saved in an emergency fund than nothing at all.
Additionally, having an emergency fund could give you a better sense of personal security in a world turned upside down.
Pay Down Your Debts
The only truly certain things in life are taxes, death, and debt. Depending on the kinds of debt you own, you can’t even escape that after death.
There are many Americans grappling with compounding debt issues and unemployment.
If you are fortunate to be employed now, develop a plan and timetable to pay down your debts. Get on top of your debts now or they will get on top of you in the future.
Develop a Budget
Develop a weekly and monthly budget to make the most of the finances you have now.
Think about what you can do now instead of what you can’t do.
There is no future in despair and the future is coming now.