Weathering the (Virus) Storm
Dealing with a very unexpected worldwide event that has catastrophic consequences such as death is bone chilling when you realize it could affect you and your family. How are you dealing with it? Is this just a financial question or a much larger and diverse issue? We think both areas and they overlap.
The financial issues of living without an income and awaiting government help is one of the most stressful situations that financial advisors see clients deal with on a day-to-day basis. Also, income property owners are worried too if they have mortgage payments and tenants who cannot pay rent.
Right now, none of us know how long incomes may be affected and the ongoing consequences of postponing taxes, rent, mortgage and other important payments.
How can we manage our actions in these circumstances?
#1: Set priorities
#2: Consider government directives affecting urgency of payments
#3: Look at other sources of payment (e.g. retirement funds, lines of credit, etc.)
#4: Discuss forbearance with your creditors (putting off payment)
#5: Revise your budget. What can be postponed?
#6: Make decisions as a couple if you have a partner
#7: Discuss finances on a periodic basis, not just sporadically when the bills arrive
- Anna Sergunina calls it a “Money Date” where you set aside a specific day and time
#8: Issues jar. Write your issues on a slip of paper and put it in the jar so you have an agenda
#9: Realize you’re not alone and you can handle this within your financial plan if you have one
Now onto other ramifications of this storm. Dealing with closeness of family members, or isolation if you live alone.
#1: Teenagers may be withdrawn and have a hard time dealing with this situation and lack of hanging out with friends. Time to up your listening skills. Hearing them say they’re “Fine” may not be the true story says psychiatrist Dr. Mark Goulston in a recent blog, “Staying at Home?.” There’s a video to go along with this topic.
#2: Couples may need their own space as well. Each can have their own perspective and relationship with other close or distant relatives and friends. Psychologist Dr. Laura Kasper (PhD) points out it’s a balancing act between autonomy and dependency. She also says:
- Attitude: Don’t be afraid to say you’re afraid
- Give them their space
- Have fun
- Acknowledge and accept differences
#3: Even before the coronavirus crisis there was a “loneliness epidemic” says psychotherapist Rachel Wright M.A. She points out in a recent article on Shape.com that the emotions of loneliness, jealousy or stress are not necessarily bad things and are natural human emotions. Wright points out several coping mechanisms:
- Decide how often to connect through video. One to three face-to-face interactions a day is healthy, she writes.
- Write down how you’re feeling, thinking and doing.
- Time for self-care too. Look for achievements here.
- Seek professional help if you feel the need. (That’s for everyone, not just the lonely)
Financial advisors, like those of us at MainStreet Financial Planning, realize we have a relationship business and are as prepared as possible to help our clients make smart financial decisions and deal with other situations as best we can by delivering our suggestions and pointing out places for further situation advice.
Stay safe and follow the best health advice.