By now, for many people, this coronavirus season has mutated from being an optimistically short term crisis to turning into a full-on year-long crisis.
All the hopes of dreams of life going back to normal in time for school to open are long passed.
And throughout this period we’ve been helping folks figure out what to do to patch themselves up while we wait to see how bad things would get.
We were in fight or flight mode.
We weren’t sure what was happening, how bad it would get, or for how long so we gave advice surrounding beefing up your emergency fund by stashing cash, getting prepared for the worst (especially if you had been neglecting to protect yourself in the past) and hearing up to take advantage of opportunities.
Check out the video below on the advice we shared…
It was all effective in preparing to do something drastic.
But just like your body, your finances can’t stay in that mode for long. So it’s time to start making some long term decisions around our money and living with coronavirus.
Here are some actions items to consider doing to survive this long term crisis:
1. Assess your situation and goals
Throughout this period, a key task has been to assess your situation.
You must continuously ask yourself the hard questions.
- Will my company or industry be at risk?
- Am I stable in my position?
- What will I need to do if the worst happens?
- How long will my emergency fund last if I lose my position?
- Do I need to focus on protecting, or preserving?
Knowing your current situation helps you to determine if you need to be in a ‘protect or progress’ state of mind.
It’s also a good time to take a good look at your goals and decipher
- Which goals are you still working towards?
- Will you be able to pursue them during this period?
- Is anything hindering or facilitating the goals?
- Are there any changes required in regards to this goal – finish product, timing etc.
- Are there opportunities to hit goals faster than expected?
Your life may have been on hold before while waiting to see what happens, but you can’t wait in limbo forever.
Start focusing on the goals again while being smart about them.
2. Look at the big 3 ticket items (house, car, food)
With the extensive impact of the virus on the stock market, economy, etc, it’s imperative that we make some serious evaluations on the larger expenses and see if they are worth continuing.
The largest places we spend our income is on housing, transportation, and food.
If we can tackle these, then we can save big, but it requires evaluation.
So when it comes to housing, ask yourself ‘Is your current housing situation sustainable given your current and possible future situation? Do you need to make provisions now to cut costs? Can you (will you) continue per usual?’
In regards to your car, ask yourself similar questions.
Especially if you have an overpriced car that is sucking your income dry, then it’s time to start having the hard discussions about the car. Don’t wait until the last minute when you desperately need to seel or make a change, then you won’t have any leverage
The bottom line, we have to accept this is going to be living at least for 2020.
So if you were limping along with massive payments it may be time to ditch them.
And if you are going to have to sell, then you want to do it before everyone else is selling too.
3. Find extra money
Calling up your providers and decreasing expenses is a great way to free up funds, but what if you just don’t want the hassle of asking in the first place?
Well, bring in technology to help.
Trim is a negotiation bot that works with your services and if they find you savings they negotiate on your behalf to get your bill lowered.
You don’t have to call and wait on hold forever or chase down other providers to compare services. Trim does all the leg work for you and all you have to do is sit back and watch the dollars roll in. Very cool.
And in the spirit of finding more money, picking up ways to make more money through side hustles, or cashback apps is another way to help secure your finances during this time.
4. Get your debt cheaper – by reducing your interest rates
Now is the time to make those debts a little more manageable.
In the beginning, debt repayment took a back seat and we were only focused on paying the minimums so we could build up the emergency fund. But now we have to address those debts and get them cheaper so we can 1. keep saving while 2. paying down the debt faster (and with less of our own money).
We can do that but lowering how much we pay in interest through refinancing.
When you refinance a loan, you take out a loan with a lower interest rate and use those funds to pay off your credit cards.
You then pay back the new loan at the lower interest rate, saving you potentially thousands in interest payments (not to mention the credit score boost from paying off credit cards).
And you don’t need perfect credit either. If your credit score is at least 620, Payoff can help you borrow up to $40,000 to pay off your credit cards.
[not sure what your credit score is? Check it for free at Credit Karma]
And if you want to try a few folks to ensure you get the best deal, then check out Credible.
You submit a few pieces of info in one places and they compare the best services and present you with their rates and terms to choose from.
The best part, finding out possible rates at payoff or credible doesn’t impact your credit score.
5. Don’t neglect to invest
Keep investing in your retirement etc as much as you can.
Your 401k and golden years will not wait for the recession to be over, or for you to boost back your retirement fund.
Besides 10 years or 20 years from now, this will likely look like a blip in the radar. However, you do want to make sure that the funds you are putting in your 401k are funds that you won’t need for a few decades.
Otherwise, you run the risk of having to cash out when the market is down, locking in losses.
And when it comes to investing, don’t forget to invest in yourself.
During times like these, we all recognize how easy it is to lose your livelihood at no fault of our own.
So it’s important to spend time improving yourself – learning a new skill, re-training, building up your network, etc.
This is a hard time for everyone.
Even the most prepared person, the person with the most stable job etc are still preparing to protect what they have while aiming to progress further.
The best thing you can do right now is to continuously assess your situation, and be flexible when it comes to your financial decisions