Six personal finance lessons COVID-19 taught us
It has been over a year and a half since the first new case of coronavirus was detected. It quickly crossed all borders and reached almost all countries on the planet. And just as we made sense of the current crisis, it turned into a pandemic in its own right, infecting billions and killing millions. Besides the loss of life, it broke the back of the global economic system, stole many of their jobs and led to a complete collapse of economic activities. And as a result, humans have learned many lessons as well.
Here are six lessons we learned about personal finance:
Emergency fund: While the pandemic is surely not a daily occurrence, it can happen and so we need to have an emergency fund for at least two months of our spending. The main reason is if we were to lose our jobs like many have done in the past couple of years. Therefore, this emergency fund will come in handy while you are trying to find another job.
Your employer’s health insurance plan may not be sufficient: The reason we say it is because if the employer releases you on forced layoffs by something like the COVID-19 pandemic. Always, always have your health plan too. Its absence can cause other financial and health problems for you and your family members. It’s good that your employers cover you under a health plan, but one of yours is always better.
COVID is forcing us to think about saving more: We may not have wanted this before, but something as extreme as this pandemic and the COVID-induced lockdown has forced us to save a little more than we were. The pandemic has already forced us to cut back on additional expenses such as regular shopping, movies, concerts, etc. Save that money. While we are resuming everything we did before the pandemic, it is important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that a crisis of this magnitude cannot strike us again. Therefore, spend but also save.
Diversified investments: There is no doubt that times such as the one we find ourselves in now require us to be careful when it comes to investing and deciding how much to invest. However, if you are an investor with a diversified portfolio, there is a good chance that you will not just get through the crisis, but even profit from it. The amount you invest in each asset should be determined by the risk you want to take, not the returns it is currently generating.
Avoid High Interest Debt: You should opt for a personal loan or credit plan at no cost, especially in times of COVID-19, with a high interest rate. Imagine losing a job in the middle of the pandemic and having to pay regular installments. High interest rate plans are not the best options, even when you have a steady income, let alone when you are not in a job. If you use a credit card, spend only what you can afford.
Living on a budget: We had a steady income and never thought we would be facing a pandemic. But this pandemic has also taught us that we can live on a budget and thus save even more. Those who always followed a planned budget for their monthly expenses could easily adapt compared to those who believed in just earning and spending. Therefore, plan your expenses and be prepared for the unexpected.