This pandemic has given us a huge lesson regarding the importance of mental, physical, as well as financial health. The year 2020 has made us aware of different happenings in our day-to-day life and made us stronger by teaching us how to tackle a difficult situation.
Among these, the most crucial is financial health. It is inevitable to understand and improve the financial health of oneself. In the world of people being laid off or facing salary cuts and zero guarantees of promotion, it is crucial to maintain and plan a few moves for maintaining financial stability for any future challenges.
Before going ahead with the financial moves, one must ask themselves the following questions:
- Am I prepared to fund a 20+ year retirement and does that plan account for “less than ideal” circumstances such as medical expenses and long-term care?
- Is my family, financial institutions, and medical providers aware of who has decision-making authority on my behalf when the need arises?
- Do I have provisions in place to protect myself (insurance) and my assets (a will and possibly a trust)?
- Have I sat down with my family or other trusted people to discuss my financial planning?
Keeping these in mind, we will talk about the moves once must plan after the pandemic.
Adding to your emergency savings
It is inevitable to have sufficient emergency savings. Saving for three to 6 months’ worth of expenses is a wise choice. Looking at the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it’s better to have a year’s worth of expenses saved. If you are not sure how to begin, start by cutting down your expenses and save it in your emergency fund.
Many people have seen their portfolios decrease in value and the stock market being volatile. But, we have also seen the market turning around and rebounding eventually. It’s a wise decision to invest in retirement savings and the stock market, even though our appetite for the stock market has decreased. We must keep our SIP’s going, and in case of incremental money, we should direct it towards the equities. When the market recovers, large-caps will lead to recovery.
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Reconsidering the debt game
Having debt, especially high-interest credit, is never advisable. In this pandemic, the interest rate has increased a lot. One should avoid using credit card much as possible as there can be a high chance of defaulting it. And in a crucial time like this, we must not consider the point of borrowing money or taking loans.
Review your insurance coverage
It is crucial at times like these to recheck your insurance coverage and update it with time. In dire situations, having proper insurance coverage is more than a necessity both for you and your loved ones.
Cut down your expenses, save more and remake your budgets
One can simply strike off all the unnecessary and non-essential expenditures from their day-to-day life, and focus more on the habit of saving every extra penny they don’t spend. With the help of ranking in order of importance, one can prioritise their needs and handle things smoothly and eventually cutting out all the non-essential things. The money saved can help you fulfil your future goals and dreams.
In such an abnormal situation like the pandemic with such great uncertainty, knowing what’s coming next is impossible. One must prioritise in remaking their budget and make it more futuristic and flexible. If you’re earning less than before, then you may need some budget cuts. You should also include loan repayments in your spending plan if you have taken a loan.
Look for government assistance
The government provides many programs due to this situation, like an insurance program, friendly tax policies etc. It’s not too late to prepare your finances for what’s to come. By planning ahead of time, you can easily manage your finances better. Preparing also means paying your bills and government dues on time, so that you don’t incur any penalties and extra charges.
Keep your fixed and liquid assets in check
This Pandemic has also taught us how to keep enough liquid assets.
These come handy in case of emergencies like medical or any other. All the family members should have access to this. All the assets must be listed in order of liquidity. It’s is also advisable the loans are mortgages against such assets.
Considering all these in mind, we can be prepared and overcome all the uncertainties in life that the world throws at us. Maintaining a healthy financial game is the utmost important thing right now for survival. We learnt great lessons from the pandemic. People are prioritising their mental and financial health more than anything else. We are aware of our basic needs and what we can do away with.