Taking Control of Your Finances During COVID-19
These are unprecedented times, creating anxiety for many as there is uncertainty surrounding health, economic, and financial issues. I’d like to share a few tips to help you stay focused on what you can control.
1) Your Health is #1
Staying safe and healthy through this pandemic is the first priority. Whether you choose to self isolate completely or maximize social distancing, it’s important to do what you can to stay healthy. What good is your wealth if you don’t have your health? Over at The Wealthy Life, we are working remotely to ensure we stay healthy and are grateful to have the technology in place to do so. We’re also finding time to fit in some exercise (I love taking the dog for a walk) and eat healthy well-balanced meals.
2) Update your Cash-Flow Snapshot
Take a few minutes to complete the Cash Flow Snapshot Worksheet (available in resources) with the perspective that you will likely be spending less than normal over the coming months as many businesses are closed and travel is not an option. This worksheet will help you identify where you need to spend money and where you can hold off &/or cut-back. It will also identify what your current sources of income are, which allows you to assess the risk or stability of these income sources. Seeing how much you need to spend each month is a powerful exercise that puts you in control of your finances.
3) Revisit your investment withdrawals
If you are currently pulling income from your investment portfolio, but can possibly reduce that amount and still meet your income needs, consider doing so. It’s normally best to stay invested through volatile markets, and even add to your portfolio while stock valuations are low. We can’t predict where the bottom is, but we do know that markets recover over time. This creates investment opportunities for those that are in a position to take advantage of it. If you don’t need to withdraw the interest & dividends your portfolio is earning, those funds can be used to reinvest at low stock prices.
4) Protect Your family
Although the death rate associated with COVID-19 is low, it’s normal to think about the “what if” scenario. As unpleasant as it is, now is a good time to ensure you have your finances and estate wishes in order. If something were to happen to you or a loved one, what would the financial implications be? Do you have adequate savings &/or life insurance to cover your family’s needs? Is your will updated and does it still reflect your wishes? To help you through this thought process, we are pleased to attach an estate planning booklet (Estate Planning Booklet Fillable.pdf)and encourage you to complete it and share it with your executor &/or your financial advisor (excluding the part that shares your personal passwords). If you prefer not to share it at this time, store it in a safe place and ensure your executor knows where to find it when needed (hopefully not until a date far into the future). This information should be updated annually as circumstances do change. ??Are we providing a link to the Estate Planning Booklet??
5) Get Social while keeping your distance
Although we aren’t able to connect with people in person, for the time being, we can embrace technology to stay social and feel connected to friends, family members, and our trusted professionals. FaceTime, Skype & Zoom are just a few of the tools we have available to communicate live in video with one another. I encourage you all to use these tools to stay connected. They’re easy to learn and fun to use!
6) Switch to Paperless
To ensure you have timely and secure access to your financial statements, credit card, phone, hydro, electric, and many other bills, I encourage you to sign up for online access to accounts and paperless billing (if you haven’t already done so). This will ensure you don’t miss anything should mail delivery become an issue, will provide quicker access to timely information, and will help reduce your carbon footprint. This can be easily done with a quick Google search: “Paperless and [company]” or through the websites of each company &/or institution.