So far, 2020 has been full of heartbreak and challenges. If I was to compare this year to a season I would call it winter and we are only three months in. The latest challenge of this year is the Coronavirus pandemic. I won’t even try to act as if I know all the specifics of the virus. I know the virus transmit airborne, I’m told to wash my hands and stay home as much as possible to stop the spread. The Coronavirus has slowed down manufacturing, distribution, travel, lodging, and the food industry to name a few. Businesses were ordered to close down, and consumers to stay home. As a result, our economy was hit hard, and the Dow Jones eventually went down a record 30,000 points. We are facing perilous times, as people are getting sick, laid off from work, students forced to take online courses and parents having trouble finding childcare.
However, it is in our best interest not to let fear cause us to panic, become depressed or without hope. It is imperative that we take the time to learn the lessons and to look for the opportunities that present themselves. We must adapt, come together and make it through this. In this blog, I want to layout some of the lessons we can learn from this recent pandemic.
[Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is a resource to get you thinking, and to inspire you to do your research. I am not a Financial Advisor.]
1) We Need an Emergency Fund: This global pandemic qualifies as an emergency. Businesses are being forced to shut down and to lay off workers. Some people have received their last paycheck. Yes, most will qualify unemployment benefits to supplement some of that lost income. However, having a 3-6 month (of living expenses) cushion would add extra comfort and give you more time to plan your next move. Imagine how different it would feel if you knew your rent, insurances, food and utilities were covered while you look for ways to replace the lost income. You would be less stressed, more optimistic, and able to make better decisions.
ACTION: Start cutting non-essential spending and direct that money to your Emergency Fund.
2) Which Businesses are Essential: When the government started closing nonessential businesses, it really opened my eyes to which businesses are vulnerable. I decided to connect with essential businesses. These essential businesses include: grocery stores; convenience stores; pharmacies; farms; plumbers; electricians; HVAC; cable, phone, internet providers; banks; insurance companies; laundromats; drycleaners; automotive repair; warehouse and distribution; healthcare and emergency services; critical manufacturing; energy; IT; and transportation. Connecting with these businesses reduces the chances of losing your income. By connect I mean work in these industries (or a related industry), own these businesses, own the commercial real estate associated with them, or invest in them.
ACTION: If you were laid off, look into careers in these fields for opportunity. If possible, start looking into and see what it takes to start a business in these fields or to become an investor.
3) Why We Need Multiple Streams of Income: Having multiple streams of income is a necessity these days. In addition to your main job/business, a side hustle, a consulting business, a hobby, something in demand you can teach others, downloadable products you can sell online, a rental property so you can collect rent, even a part time job will help reduce the damage when one source is taken away from you.
ACTION: Put a list together of your current skills and seek opportunities where you can sell these skills. Take action today to bring in a second income get a part time job, do odd jobs, baby sit, tutor online, or consultant online.
4) The Value of Communication Technology: To contain the spread of the Coronavirus workers were told to work from home. All classes were shifted to online study. This was only possible by means of a great internet connection, some type of computer, a web cam for video conferences, video conference programs like Zoom, cloud technology to share files and IT personnel to keep the systems running. If it weren’t for this technology, a lot of companies and schools would have been hit harder by the pandemic.
ACTION: Take advantage of the value of this technology. If you are looking for a new income, learn a new skill to support and innovate ways to develop this technology. Think of ways your business can use it to your advantage.
5) All Investing Comes with Risk: The recent stock market plunge into record lows reminded us that when you invest you could lose money. There are no guarantees that you will make money it’s possible to lose money. Historically, the stock market still has the best rate of returns over a long period. Being in a bull market for so long can numb you to the fact that the market is cyclical. What comes up must come down and eventually back up then eventually down and so on. I myself am guilty of this; I got lazy, stopped checking on my portfolio monthly, and missed opportune times to sell at good profits in January and February.
ACTION: Before you invest in anything, take the time to figure out your risk tolerance. Make sure you use money that you don’t need for your essentials. Make sure you have a fully funded emergency fund. Ask, yourself, will it end me if I lose all this money in this investment?
6) Importance of Diversifying Your Investments: The stock plunge reminded us not to put all our eggs in one basket. Your portfolio needs to be diverse to mitigate loses. With a diverse investment portfolio, when one sector is doing badly, another can be doing really well to balance it out. Invest in different vehicles such as stocks, bonds, real estate, high interest savings, and CDs to name a few. Diversify within those vehicles. An easy way to diversify in the stock market is through mutual funds and ETFs. They house a different percentage of various companies within a single holding. Check to make sure the mutual funds and ETFs you buy don’t have the same companies within them or it defeats the whole purpose.
ACTION: Diversify your investment portfolio. Do your research. Look into the different investment vehicles and see how you can diversify. If you are a current investor, look over your portfolio to see if it’s diversified. If not, make the necessary changes.
7) Your Health is More Important Than any Amount of Money: Governments shutdown countries, regions, states, cities, beaches, businesses, schools, and travel to stop the spread of the Coronavirus to save lives. This virus was the great equalizer. Everyone, is susceptible to catching it no their matter status. Leaders, the rich, the famous have caught it along with the common man. Poor health takes you out of the game and hinders your ability to obtain your financial goals
ACTION: Take your health serious because it greatly affects your quality of life more than any amount of money. Eat foods that are more nutritious, exercise, take your vitamins, practice stress relief strategies, connect with friends (virtually at this time). Most importantly follow the CDC guidelines to protect yourself from this Coronavirus pandemic. Be safe out there everyone!
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