Ever since Corona Virus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The stock market is hitting lows and the interest rates are going down.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. But a little planning now will really pay off if things take a turn for the worse later.
First and foremost protect yourself and your family from the virus. The only way to get out of this condition is by containing the spread of the virus. And the way to do it is by social distancing. If you have the privilege to work from home, do it. Don’t be SELFISH, think about the community, about the people who are older than 50, people who are immunocompromised, who might not be able to fight the virus.
I have been reading a lot about the market and talking to other people. I have jotted everything I have noticed or learned in this article.
Before we get into the post, I would like to share that I have no degree in Finance nor I am an expert. I shared what I would personally do in this situation. If you are looking for professional help, reach out to NFCC for questions on debt or Fidelity for questions on Investments.
10 Helpful Financial tips during the Corona Virus Outbreak.
1. If you have a job that can’t be done from home. Ask your supervisor if you can work overtime now and get compensated. That way you will have funds to withstand during the shutdown.
2. Increase your Savings– Start an emergency fund if you haven’t already. This is very crucial right now. If you get sick and miss work, or lose your job because of the coronavirus, you’ll need money to fall back on. Aim to put away as much money as you can.
3. Shop for high yield savings accounts (which typically only come from online banks or credit unions) and move your emergency funds into your HYSA account. The interest payout won’t be stellar, but it’s the best place to keep your cash savings, even in a rate dip.
4. If you are worried about your debt. Take advantage of the interest rate cuts, call your lenders, credit card banks and ask them how you can bank of these lower interest rates. This might not work if you have a fixed interest rate card.
Apply for a lower-interest-rate personal loan or a credit card with zero APR on balance transfer and pay off your higher interest rate cards.
5. Once you have a lower interest rate debt just pay the minimum balance on your cards and set the extra cash into your emergency fund.
6. Spend Less: Pay attention to where your money is going and do the best you can to eliminate unnecessary spending. I use Mint and excel spreadsheets to track my expenses and bills.
7. Diversify your personal investments, make sure you have a mix of stocks and bonds so your life savings aren’t tied to one market.
8. In times of uncertainty and instability, it’s better to leave your long term savings alone. Stop obviously checking your 401(k), Roth IRA, 529 or other retirement savings. Let them be. Instead, focus on keeping your income flowing. Do you have a job that offers a salary even during the shutdown? Are you confident you will keep the job through and after this period? then You are fortunate.
If you are nearing retirement and worried about low balance in 401(k) consider moving your savings to a lower-risk investment like a CD account which will offer a locked-in interest rate for a fixed length of time or talk to your financial advisor.
9. If you have extra money that you don’t need to save, invest in index funds or in familiar stocks like Apple or Google. The stock market is continuously falling right now but if you plan to hold the stocks for many years, you have time on your side to reap positive returns.
10. Help others- Support local businesses by shopping locally online, order from local restaurants, don’t ask for refunds if possible, buy gift cards from your favorite spa’s or restaurants that you can use later, donate to local charities.
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Do you have any personal finance tips? Let me know in a comment below!