The ongoing pandemic caused by the COVID-19 disease is slowly becoming the biggest threat to the world’s economy and financial markets.
The FTSE, Nikkei, and Dow Jones Industrial average have seen huge falls since the outbreak. FTSE and Dow actually recently recorded their biggest declines since 1987.
Most investors are scared that the virus shall destroy the economic growth and the government may not put enough measures to stop its decline. Most banks and other financial sectors across the world are trying their best to control this effect by slashing their interest rates in a bid to control the decline, but in theory, borrowing at a cheaper rate does not help in boosting the economy.
Additionally, some sectors such as the airline industries and tourism are also seeing the biggest decline because most countries are closed to travelers. Nobody is going on vacation. This is a huge hit, not just to the airlines and hotels, but also countries that rely on tourism.
The global markets did recover some little ground when the US passed a $2 trillion aid bill for businesses, but analysts predict that this may not help much as no one knows when things will finally stabilize.
As the virus continues to wreak havoc, all over the world, millions of people continue to suffer. Stuck in the house and unable to work means that you are unable to provide for your family’s basic needs. Some jobs cannot be done at home either, which means that companies shall be forced to close down.
Most American people are filing for unemployment benefits for the first time in their lives owing to the layoffs and economic downturn that occurred as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
5.2 million jobless claims Americans filed in the last week, pushing the four-week total to more than 22 million due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And while the federal government has passed economic relief bills totaling more than $2 trillion to help Americans financially during this crisis, it'll be a difficult time ahead for many.
How To Manage It Financially?
The most important thing to do during such uncertain times is to remain calm and not to panic – mental health is more important than anything else. A good plan can help you to manage it financially.
There are many ways to deal with such time, and each of us has its own circumstances. Here are a couple of things to think about, depends on your situation:
Find Ways To Cut On Your Expenses
You may be forced to limit all of your expenses to essentials only. This means exercising extreme frugality. What you need to do is keep all of your expenses as low as possible. This shall also ensure that you spend as little of your savings as possible.
The first thing you should do in finding ways to cut down your expenses is come up with a budget, this gives you some insight into your expenses, and also shows you what you waste your money on.
For example, if you spend $400 each month eating out, consider cooking your food at home, which would be less expensive.
Are you spending too much on TV subscriptions that you do not even use? In fact, most of the time people are online, so you do not need all of those subscriptions that cost so much money.
Also, are you in the habit of letting the air conditioner or heater run all day long, and even when you are not at home? These could be contributing to high electric bills, and switching them off when not in use, can help reduce your bills.
Take time to do such analysis, and identify areas that can be streamlined for cutting costs. You may end up cutting your expenses by almost half.
Jobless? Consider Making Use of Your Most Liquid Savings
You may need to rely more on your cash accounts such as your checking account, money market accounts, and savings account. These shall help get you through the crisis if you can no longer receive a paycheck.
The reason why these are the best resources during such times is that their value does not fluctuate as per the market conditions. You can take the money out at any time, and not incur a financial loss. Also, unlike retirement accounts, they shall not attract any penalties when you withdraw the money.
The only exception to this is Certificates of Deposits, which shall require you to forfeit a portion of the interest you earned when you close them.
At this time, refrain from investing in stocks or other high-risk investments until you have some surplus money, and even then, it is not advisable as the pandemic has no end in sight as of right now.
Now, depending on your expenses, ensure to have enough money saved up that can keep you going for the next 6 months. If however, you have some major obligations such as mortgage payments or other types of payments such as alimony, or child support, you may need to have a lot more saved up.
Fear of Being Fired? Consider a Side Job
Industries such as leisure, hospitality, airline and oil have been affected significantly. And it's clear now that it will take time until they will come back. Unfortunately, many of their working force will stay jobless. But it’s is not relevant only for them.
We see many analysts who think this crisis is going to be longer than we expect and, in such case, people from other industries may find themselves jobless as well.
Since we are all spending plenty of time indoors, it really doesn’t hurt to find some side jobs you can do in the house. There are plenty of jobs online that you can do, such as writing, transcription, virtual assistant, social media management, etc.
You may need to learn the job for a short while because it is a new skill, but with time, you may start to make some good money that can tide you over during the pandemic period.
The main concern for everyone is the fact that there isn’t an end in sight. We do not know when a cure or vaccine shall be created and as such, you must make plans to have an alternate source of income for the long haul.
If you have experience in different fields, you can maximize on that and find a job that lines up to the experience. For example, if you are a Yoga teacher, you could set up your own Yoga agency at home. If you have experience as an administrator, you can maximize on that and look for virtual assistant jobs. There are plenty of other fields that can be transformed into home careers, all you need to do is some research and then get started.
This money shall come in handy, when you exhaust your savings, and when you have cashed in on your investments. It’s a never say die situation because you must keep living and survive the hard times, and who knows, you may end up doing so well on your side job that you even leave your regular job, even when things go back to normal.
Review Your Current Insurance Policy
This is actually the most ideal time to review your insurance cover, especially health insurance. You need to know what is covered and what is not covered, so you can plan for unexpected medical costs.
Now, before the virus was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the treatment of all virus-related symptoms was covered, and this included testing and hospitalization as well.
Since its status changed, many policies have excluded its treatment and this means that if you contract the virus, you shall be forced to pay for its treatment out of pocket.
Going through the fine print of your policy document shall point out issues you may have missed before. The company is also required to clarify more on their coverage, so you know where you stand in terms of exclusions.
The most important thing to do during such uncertain times is to remain calm and not to panic. The good news is that everyone is going through the same financial issues as you are. In fact, the whole world is going through it.
So, using the points we have outlined above, come up with a plan on how to move forward in terms of your personal financial future. Savings really will save you from going bankrupt, so maximize on saving more, even after finding a side job, and also minimize on your expenses.