If 2020 shook your financial confidence, you are not alone. Perhaps you or a loved one faced a career setback in the economic crisis. Maybe you or a family member got sick and ran up debt during the illness. Whatever challenges you faced or are facing, there are things you can do right now to get back on track.
Keep in mind, as difficult as things are, this isn’t the first time people have experienced financial shock. One survey found that about 75 percent of respondents have experienced “a major financial setback” at some point in their lives before the pandemic. Many of them reported that it took three to five years to fully recover, but they did it. Some even came back stronger than before.1
THE PANDEMIC IS UNIQUE
That said, the current moment carries a set of unique challenges. For example, hunting for a job while many businesses have transitioned to remote work is a task no one was prepared for. Doing so while homeschooling a child or recovering from illness is an even greater burden. To solve the unique problems of the pandemic can require unique solutions.
GIG WORK IS GROWING
While the end of COVID-19 may be in sight, the world remains largely on hold for now. With a little creativity you can find a silver lining in the clouds. New, full-time employment may be hard to come by, but many companies are instead hiring gig workers as a cost-saving measure.2 Flexible gig work can be a good solution for anyone stuck at home during the pandemic and looking for work, especially if childcare is also eating up hours.
WORK YOUR SAVINGS MUSCLE
One small upside of life in lockdown: it’s easy to cut back on frivolous spending. Replacing a couple of takeout meals each week with home cooking can easily save upwards of $1,000 per year.3 Combine that with the money saved from canceled music festivals, movies, or gym memberships, and you might be surprised by how much you can save. The important thing is to keep putting something into your savings account. Don’t worry about the dollar amount — just maintain the commitment to your financial future by building savings.
FORTIFY YOUR FUTURE
After a financial setback, it’s tempting to want to “fix it” as soon as possible. But a smarter course is to think about protection first. Get a safety net in place to secure your financial life from another potential crisis. For example, consider getting disability insurance. It can provide income in the event you or someone you love has another period of unemployment — from job loss or illness. Life insurance can add another layer of protection for your loved ones, and whole life insurance can even help diversify your investment portfolio. With the right mix of insurance, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from the unexpected.
BRING IN SUPPORT
These actions may sound simple, but they are not always easy. The insights of the Serenity Prayer have a place here: to recover from a financial setback, you need to accept the things you can’t change, the courage to change what you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Who better to offer that wisdom than a financial professional? If you already work with one, now is the time to reconnect. They can help you tell the “can” from the “can’t.” If you have never met with a financial representative, they can help you define the best path to financial confidence, regardless of where it begins.
Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2020. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY
2021-115546 Exp. 1/2023
1 A surprise hit to your finances could set you back for years, report says, CNBC, June 10, 2020
2 9 Future of Work Trends Post-COVID-19, Gartner, June 8, 2020
3 Assuming average takeout cost of $15 per serving vs. cooking at $5 per serving. At two meals replaced per week, this nets $1,040 in savings per year.