We’re living in some really uncertain times right now, and it can feel incredibly overwhelming and upsetting. So many sectors are being seriously affected by recent government recommendations, and this is putting a lot of people out of work. Money then suddenly comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind, because for many people, working is the only source of income they have.
It’s a hard time to realise that having an emergency fund would probably have been a good idea.
So I get it – I see this all the time working as a GP, and not just in the current climate. Illness strikes at ANY time and can turn someone’s world upside down.
But in chaos can come clarity, and actually, this is probably a really good time to evaluate your finances – particularly if you have nothing to do right now. These are my thoughts on how to handle your money in a crisis.
This is probably going to sound clichéd but showing gratitude for what is currently going right in your life right now is extremely important, when everything around you is falling apart.
You could have gratitude for the smallest of things – warm clothing, a car to drive, having time to catch up on your “to-do” list…. it doesn’t matter how silly it sounds. Unfortunately our brain is HARDWIRED to look at what is bad so that we can protect ourselves, but spending a small amount of time everyday just thinking of the good stuff will help to soothe the constant barrage of bad going on right now.
Give it a try – write down 3-5 different things everyday if you can.
Review Your Outgoings
This is important to do regularly anyway, but especially now when you’re in a crisis. Delete ANYTHING that isn’t essential from your outgoings. If you have a lack of income right now, you’re going to have to be ruthless!
Dave Ramsey recently wrote about this. I think his advice is sound – take care of:
- transportation in the first instance.
Then, if you can, continue on the other thinigs like paying off extra money towards debt etc. But the stuff that keeps the roof over your head and food on the table is the most important.
Review your TV packages – would now be a good time to switch to a cheaper version? The amazon firestick* can be loaded with pretty much anything (netflix/disney+ for example) and might be a better thing for your going forward than one of the big TV companies. Sky is however offering a pause of sky sports until normal sport resumes on TV. The phoneline is dreadful, but they are bringing in an online way to do it.
Keep Your Investments Going
In a crisis, the stock market tends to take a nosedive. In this situation, if you invest, you may be tempted to sell everything and run….. that is definitely NOT the right thing to do. If you sell, you lock in the losses that have occurred.
What you actually need to do is wait for everything to recover – keep putting money in to buy more shares in this situation (because it’s like buying clothing in a sale – you get more bang for your buck) and then when it does recover, your portfolio will be worth a whole lot more in the long run.
Not being able to go out means that you can look at innovative ways to conduct your normal day to day. There are plenty of ways to stay in touch.
There are also some great apps you can use. The latest one I’ve started using is a new app called Snoop*. This app links to your bank account and gives tips and advice on saving money on your bills. It’s still in beta-phase, but so far I’m really enjoying using it and have found out lots about my spending.
There are apps to help you save money and invest money too, and you don’t need huge amounts to get started! You could also check out my freebie download called Money Apps and Life Hacks for more ideas.
Talk To The People You Owe Money To
When you owe money and have payments coming out that you can’t afford, then you need to speak up. Ask for payment holidays from the lenders.
Speak to your mortgage provider and see if they can help with a payment holiday so you can have some breathing space. Same with credit cards and loans, utility bills, mobile phone bills and anything else you’re struggling with.
Keep up-to-date (within reason)
Check reputable sources of information regularly for updates, but don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by it. There are key pieces of information that are useful to know, and then that’s it, switch off.
In a crisis, everything can seem catastrophic, and when a group of people all feel it too, it becomes mass hysteria and not helpful at all. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, my friend Liz Taylor (One Of Many Coach) has an excellent resource for you to help manage overwhelm. This tool can be used for emotional overwhelm as well as battling the “to-do” list. You can watch a video we did together talking about management of overwhelm and money blocks too.
Get Help and Support
If you are struggling and don’t know what to do with your money, then you need to get help:
If you run a business, the HMRC have a helpline you can access for help if you’re struggling to pay your tax.
The UK Government also has a website up and running to help business owners specifically.
If you need support with food, here is a site that can help.
Money Chat and Support
I run a free facebook group you can join with others who can support you – no question is too silly!
The money advice service is a great place to look for general advice and guidance with your money.
The Money Saving Expert has got some great advice on travel and your rights.
If you have a problem with debt, get in touch with step change for help.
Take Time To Refect
Now is NOT the time to beat yourself up about anything. Some common issues that people become starkly aware of in a crisis include:
- being in a lot of debt
- not having any emergency savings (check out my £1000 emergency fund challenge!)
- not having a will and
- not having life, critical illness or income protection insurance
Once the crisis is over, use this time to think about how you could protect yourself if/when another one comes along. It is definitely worth reviewing your goals and deciding what is your priority so that next time your money can be more prepared.
If you would like to have a comprehensive money check-up to sort out your money, then feel free to get in touch with me to see if you qualify for a free, no-obligation money MOT with me or one of my team.
Stay safe, and look after eachother. Every crisis will eventually pass, and you will come out the other side much stronger. Make this an opportunity for growth and learning and try to focus on the positives as much as you can.
Love to you,
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