Okay, the world is upside down. You’re probably scared, frustrated, overwhelmed, and plain exhausted. I know I’m feeling all these things at least. You may be dealing with stir-crazy kids, job loss, sickness, elder parents whom you’re trying to keep safe, or staying up late just to get a spot to place a food order. It’s a lot to handle. Trust me I know. I’m currently writing this post while our newborn is nursing and our toddler is napping. If you lost your job or are worried it’s unstable, you are probably very worried about your money during this Corona Virus lockdown. Have no fear, Investor Mama here with six money Do’s and Don’ts to make during the Corona Virus.
1. Do protect your brain
You may be surprised to see this as my first action step in a money blog but it is so important! What does this mean you might ask. Stop reading articles, scrolling through social media, or watching the news about what is going on. Shut it all off. Tune out family members and friends who only share negative thoughts about the current world. I believe this is the new “normal” and we need to be present for it.
There is no good that comes out of you wasting your energy and focus on things you cannot control. Click To Tweet
If you must get the news, set aside a few minutes in the morning to read updates on what’s going on to be informed. Stay away from political sites, opinions, and everything else that will make you angry and drain your energy. You can worry all day but that won’t help your family. Instead, focus on the rest of the items on this list.
2. Do cut expenses immediately
Let’s face it, whether or not this is a recession or becomes a depression, things are bad out there and may get even worse. This article is not about being doom and gloom but about being smart and proactive for your family’s security. The first thing you can do to protect your family is to review the past three months of your expenses. Go through and put the numbers 1-3 next to each item.
Place a 1 for essential expenses that you need to live like food, rent, or mortgage. Put a 2 for really important items like utilities and cell phone bills. Put a 3 for the nice to haves like having both Amazon prime and Netflix at the same time. Then I want you to cut out all the number 3’s you marked moving forward. Do this by canceling ongoing subscriptions, pause on ordering in more frequently (I know you want to support local businesses but you need to also support your family), and stop spending money on things that are not essential. This will help cut your cost of living if you’ve been laid off or could be laid off. If you still have a job, take the money you just saved each month and put it into a crisis fund which leads into #3. Check out this article on how we saved over $1k this month from our budget.
3. Do save $1k for a crisis fund
Many of you have heard the advice about saving an emergency fund. That’s great but right now we are in crisis mode. If you do not have $1,000 in cash, find it now and don’t touch it. I don’t care if you need to sell some of your stuff, pick up a side hustle Ubering (using social distancing and other protective means to stay safe of course), or do anything else that’s kosher to get it. You can even use your stimulus check as long as you can pay for food and housing.
Over the long term, you need an emergency fund, but right now you at least need a crisis fund to give you a little cushion during this pandemic. Click To Tweet Having easy access to money will put you at ease during this Corona Virus lock down. If you do have an emergency fund, kudos to you! I’d still encourage you to find a way to quickly add an extra $1k to it given the current uncertainty. This $1k is very attainable and will give you a sense of control and peace of mind. If you can quickly find $1k, you can find more if you really need it.
4. Do protect your assets
Now is a good time to make sure you have adequate life insurance and proper estate documents in place. You should have enough insurance that if something happens to you and/or your spouse, your family will be okay. Everyone’s situation is different but you can find cheap term insurance that will cover you until your dependents are old enough to take care of themselves. Check out Policy Genius to get a quote on low cost and effective term insurance.
In addition to insurance, make sure you have the proper estate documents in place and that they are up to date. I won’t go into too much detail but you need these documents to make sure your assets go to those you choose and not to the state. You also want to make sure you spell out your health wishes in the event you are no longer able to make them. These documents include the following:
2. Durable power of attorney
3. Health care directive
We had ours created by an attorney which can be expensive but much safer than the DIY will kits. You may save money but it might not hold up in court or accurately depict your wishes.
I also highly recommend checking out this In Case of Emergency or ICE binder from Smart Money Mamas. We bought one and absolutely love it. This binder is a huge asset for our family because all of our information is in one place in case something ever happens to us. It has space for you to put all of your typical “when I die documents” but also the things you might not think to about but would want someone to know in case you’re gone (I.e. kid’s bedtime routine). It opened our eyes to documenting the important things to ensure our kids are well protected if something were to ever happen to my husband and me.
5. Do not sell your stocks or portfolio assets
The market is tanking. You see your investments drop 30%. You’re scared. What do you do? I’ll tell you what not to do.
Do not sell your stocks or index funds. That means waiting to adjust your portfolio until things calm down.
If you don’t sell you can’t lose. You only lose when you lock in the drop. Right now, you should continue investing as you normally do (assuming you have not lost your job). In fact, I’d encourage you to invest in low-cost index funds for the long haul and just ride this out. Everything is on sale now so take advantage. You can actually make money during the Corona Virus
6. Do not stress, breath, and give yourself a hug
This is so important! You must not forget to catch your breath and be kind to yourself. You are trying to juggle many conflicting properties at once and it can take a toll on you both physically and mentally. Times are tough and they may get tougher but the more prepared you are, the better money decisions you will make during the Corona Virus.
Stay positive and know you got this mama.
Like this article? Sign up to receive more awesome free content from Investor Mama that will help you on your money journey!
Some links in this article may include affiliate links. These are items that I’ve personally used or can highly vouch for!