An Important Message About Your Finances
I’ve been at home all week for March Break so Michael decided to take me out for a drive last night. Being at home meant that I was in my own contented little bubble. Driving around made me realize the implications that this virus is having on employment right now.
As I rode passed restaurants, I realized that all those who don’t offer take-out or drive-thru are currently closed. All physio, massage, and other therapy clinics are closed, to my knowledge. Schools are shut down. Businesses have limited hours. It made me aware that all of the scare isn’t from the illness itself but from the financial implications this situation will cause.
Let me strongly stress the importance of all that I have shared in this financial column to date. Taking control of your finances and working with a written budget is crucial in times like these! I can confidently say that by changing your financial habits and following these principles, it will greatly reduce the stress you feel during crisis situations.
I’m certainly not bragging at all with what I am about to say. I’m speaking out of a place of peace. Because Michael and I have diligently worked at understanding what our habits are, and stabilizing our finances, it allows us to keep strong in times like these.
I also want to state that it is never too late to start! You may be living paycheck to paycheck right now. Being off work may have you completely stressed and freaking out. Now is the best time to sit down and look at all of your income and expenses. List them all out. Record how much debt you have, if any. Then, find where you can cut back on your spending. There’s always something you can remove, at least for a time. If you need help starting a budget, see my post “Budgets: The Necessity of Financial Life“. Here’s a basic income and expenses sheet you can work from:
The government has promised to help, which is great. But we can’t trust or expect them to meet our every financial need. We need to be diligent and proactive in planning and taking care of our own money for now and the future.
I also want to highly emphasize the importance of making an emergency fund for yourself. Start off with $1,000 in your account. This will create a bit of a buffer between you and crisis.
Paying off your debt is paramount to bringing freedom to yourself. Think of all of the monthly bills you are paying. If you didn’t have that hanging over your head, you wouldn’t be worried. If you’re worried about everything right now and paying off debt seems unthinkable when you don’t know what’s going to happen in the months ahead, keep paying off the minimum balances and create a larger emergency fund. Build up approximately three-six months if you can. Cut back on expenses and sock as much away as possible for now.
If this all blows over faster than we’re expecting, you’ll be able to take anything above the $1,000 and throw it unto your debt.
Instead of feeling fear and being paralyzed by it, find courage, get proactive, and do what you can to gain some financial stability right now.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions. I can be reached by email ([email protected]). I can also do a Zoom call and help you create a budget or sort through how to move ahead in your situation.
You’re going to be okay. You’re going to make it through. Be wise and do what you can in the here and now. If you’re still working and/or getting paid, that’s great! Save as much as you can right now. It’ll pay off in the future.
Remember to be generous as well. Drop off a coffee or something on someone’s doorstep that’s stuck inside and text them to tell them it’s there. Write someone a letter of encouragement. Generosity comes in the form of time, talents, and money. Take time to Skype or Face Time someone. Paint someone a picture. Stand outside their house and serenate them with your beautiful music. Be creative!
I’m praying peace, blessings, and health for you all,