The economy hit a downturn in February and we are now officially in a full blown recession. As the coronavirus began to make its way across major US cities, shops began closing, traveling stopped and people stopped spending money. According to a study by J.P Morgan, credit card spending took a sharp decline in March, gradually climbing back up a little, however spending is still at an all time low. Unemployment rate is 13.3% and it is generally acknowledged that it may take a few months for us to start climbing our way out of this.
People tend to freeze when there is bad news, however the first step is to acknowledge the reality of what is happening, make a plan and act on it. Taking action and keeping your eyes and ears open for creative ways to manage this pandemic will give you a sense of control in a world that lately has been feeling turbulent.
Family first. Keeping our family and friends safe is the first action step. Safety means physically safe in terms of following the rules of social distancing and emotional safety in terms of managing the mental health aspect of not being able to actively engage in your community of friends and family. This situation and the uncertainty of it has created havoc in terms of our mental health. Mental health is our number one priority and will help us to manage this situation in a calm, grounded manner. The key to managing our mental health is connection.
Use this time to find creative ways to connect with loved ones. It is time to form deeper and more meaningful relationships. Stay connected by calling friends and family, getting on zoom, watching a Netflix movie together remotely or going for a social distance walk.
Help someone else who is worse off than you; buy groceries for elderly people in your neighborhood or donate to help someone with a medical bill or a necessary expense.
One of the challenges we have faced as a family is not being able to go on vacation. Taking a break over the summer has always been one of our go to ways to decompress and connect. We have had to come up with creative mini vacation “day trips” . Some of the “day trips” ideas have worked and some have not, but we keep trying to find creative ways to have fun, stay connected and be outdoors.
Do not worry excessively about spending. Most people have been spending a lot less these last 4 months. The only items we are over spending on is the grocery and water bill for all the excessive meals we are cooking. LOL.
Opportunities. Yes you read that right. There are opportunities everywhere including during the pandemic. Companies are still hiring and positions can be filled remotely. I see this as an opportunity to find that position you always dreamed of but was afraid to go after. Update that resume and work those LinkedIn connections and you may just come out of this with a brand new job.
Small businesses have been pivoting and the successful ones have gone online to sell their goods and services. People are now on the internet more than ever before and are looking to buy things that will enhance their lives. Gardening services, home projects, tutoring services are all much needed right now as more people are at home and looking to spend some of their stimulus money on creating a nicer home. Parents who are working from home and teaching their kids at the same time need someone to help with homework since it’s almost impossible to do both at the same time.
Learn a new skill that you can eventually charge for..Yes, you can start that ‘side hustle” you have been dreaming about for ages and make some money while at it. I have seen online painting classes, Zumba classes on zoom, music classes to name a few. We recently signed up for a cooking class by Rachel Ray which looks like loads of fun! Opportunities are everywhere. Be creative about how you can provide a service remotely and charge for it.
Investment. Continue with your investments. The market fluctuates but over time it goes up 7-8% annually on average. Do not panic and sell your investments. Now is not the time to let your emotions take over. Keep calm and keep on investing. In fact, if you have extra cash, add to your investments this year. In the long run this strategy will pay off and you will do very very well.
If you have excess cash sitting around, consider buying a house. Whether it’s an investment property or a home for yourself, you can’t go wrong with this investment. According to Money.com, 30 year fixed mortgage rates are at an all time low of 2.99%. A year ago, 30 year fixed mortgage rates were 3.75%. This decrease in interest rate will result in a substantial decrease of your monthly mortgage payment. This is certainly a buyer’s market since home prices have also been decreasing in some markets. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you check out the property in person especially if it’s somewhere you plan to live.
As we continue to live life in the pandemic, I do hope you consider the rules above. Stay calm and grounded. Family first, opportunities and keep on investing!!!