Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic

When COVID-19 began impacting the United States during early 2020, many Americans were left feeling blindsided.  Businesses suddenly closed, kids were unable to go to school, and people from all walks of life became concerned about serious risks to their health.  While some people were able to hunker down and take comfort in knowing they had financial stability that would carry them through the uncertainty we all faced, others struggled.  Regardless of where you may have found yourself at the beginning of the pandemic, now might be a good time to review your financial position. 

What can we do to be better prepared?

Having a plan in place to help you navigate unpredictable times is important for your family’s overall wellbeing.  Are you financially prepared for an extended time without a paycheck?  How would you cover your expenses if you became disabled?  Questions like these should be considered now so that you can take steps to provide a measure of security and stability for your family in difficult situations.

  • Emergency fund – By setting aside at least three months of expenses, you can have a little breathing room to regroup if you suddenly find yourself without a steady source of income.  It is not a permanent solution but does offer a safety net while you are determining your next course of action, whether that might be transitioning into early retirement, seeking new employment or applying for unemployment benefits to offset costs for what might be a lengthier time without a paycheck.  If sudden financial strain has caught you off guard without an emergency fund, remember you can always start building your reserves slowly and adding to your savings as you can.  
  • Have important documents completed and accessible. The height of the coronavirus pandemic reinforced the need to have legal documents such as health care proxies and living wills completed and signed before we need them.  Anyone in your household over 18 should have these documents.  While the challenges of health care during the pandemic were intensified, living wills and health care proxies allow you to make specific directives regarding your health care at any time, which is important in assuring that your wishes will be respected in situations when you may not be able to speak for yourself.  
  • Review your portfolio.  How did your portfolio fare during the market volatility earlier this year?  Is it positioned well for the potential volatility to come?  By taking a step back to review the impact that COVID-19 may have had on your finances, you can reassess your portfolio and use this as an opportunity to be better prepared for possible disruptions in the future.
  • Review your insurance coverage. Renters or homeowners insurance, health insurance, disability, long-term care and life insurance are all policies you should consider carrying to afford you and your family protection in a variety of situations that have the potential to cause financial hardship.  While you may have all the types of coverage you believe you should have, when is the last time you reviewed your policies?  As life changes, your needs may change as well.  By taking the time to review your coverage with your agent when things are good, you can ensure that you and your family are protected when you need the benefits. 
  • Consider working with a financial advisor.  The coronavirus pandemic has affected people from all income levels in different ways.  You may have had to adjust your retirement goals, deplete emergency reserves while paying monthly bills or alter your contributions to your children’s education costs.  No matter how you were impacted, a financial advisor can help you assess where you are now and where you want to be down the road so that you can get back on track toward achieving your financial goals.

As we have adjusted to wearing masks, social distancing and family get-togethers via web-conferencing, we have learned to adapt to new ways of doing things.  While you may have had a financial plan that was suitable for your needs prior to COVID-19’s disruption of our lives, now might be the perfect time to review your overall financial position and make any adjustments necessary.  We would be happy to review your current financial scenario with you.