Over six months have passed since the economic lockdown, and in that time, the ramifications have reached almost everyone in the country. We are all facing hard decisions about what to do with our money. Consider some of these financial dos and don'ts during COVID--and after the pandemic, as well.
Do: Stay in Touch. Don't: Go M.I.A.
Though everyone is struggling together, some people find themselves in more dire straits than others. If this is happening to you, communication is key. If paying rent is an issue, talk to your landlord about payment plans and options. Be proactive in addressing concerns; come to them before they come to you.
Your first impulse may be to avoid an uncomfortable situation by not answering letters or phone calls, but this is the worst thing you can do. You risk damaging relationships, harming your credit, and missing possibilities to negotiate an outcome that works for both sides.
Do: Be Patient With Your Retirement. Don't: Withdraw Early.
You've worked hard and planned well for your retirement. Your Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, is there to see you through your sixties and beyond. Today's uncertainties make it tempting to dip into your retirement, but you may regret the expensive consequences of accessing your IRA early. Withdrawals still count as taxable income, and when you do retire, that money is gone, along with the money it would have earned in the account.
Before you resort to IRA withdrawals, consider alternatives. Cut your personal spending as much as possible or look to other savings accounts you may have.
Do: Take Care of Your Personal Health. Don't: Run Yourself Ragged.
It may not seem directly financial, but your health and wellness matter to your money. Eating well, exercising, and taking necessary precautions to avoid contracting the coronavirus will keep you productive and healthy during this difficult time. Under stress, you may want to cope with junk food and other indulgences, but not only do these items add up, you may also find yourself feeling worse, calling in sick, and ultimately earning less at work.
Staying mindful of these financial dos and don'ts during COVID may help you navigate the difficulties we are all facing with minimal setbacks. The lessons we learn during this crisis may impart a lifelong sense of financial responsibility.