It is famously said that the only certain thing is uncertainty. No human being ever has managed to look into what the future holds for them and uncertainty is a big part of our existence. The current times are the perfect example of the uncertainty playing havoc and turning lives upside down. The unforeseen advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the entire world. It has thrown governments, businesses, individuals, and families in uncharted territory without any warning, and is forcing everyone to adapt rapidly.
This is a time for families to come together and manage their finances and lifestyle smartly to tide over the tough times. Read on to know how you can get started.
How has COVID-19 impacted lives?
Despite the warning, no one could have anticipated the extent to which COVID-19wcould impact every sphere of life. With over 53,000 fatalities and almost 1 million confirmed cases globally as of today, Coronavirus is a serious challenge for the entire world. It has already been declared that the pandemic would have a drastic impact on the world economies leading to a global recession.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report, the global economy could shrink by 1% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With 6.6 million people in the US alone filing for unemployment last week, the unemployment rates are expected to surge further not just in the US but worldwide.
With almost 100 countries closing their international borders, international trade has taken a severe hit. It would specifically impact the growing and developing economies of the world. As per the report, the pandemic would have a severe impact on sectors like retail trade, leisure, and hospitality, recreation, etc. in the US and Europe, resulting in massive layoffs.
This uncertain future is bound to cause anxiety in millions of people. The best way to fight these gloomy days is to rely on your loved ones and develop a robust support system. This would help immensely in overcoming these tough times. The following tips might help.
Managing Family Finances and Personal Life During this Crisis
- Handling Debt, EMI & Loan Payments
Worried about meeting your debt obligations? A lot of banks and credit card companies are offering assistance with regards to debt and EMI repayments arising out of credit cards or instant personal loans. Many organizations have lowered interest rates, waived of penalties, etc. to help those in distress owing to their debt commitments. The right approach would be to get in touch with the lender and discuss the inability to pay the dues. The creditor might provide the best solution basis on the current situation helping in fighting the anxiety.
- Prioritize your spending
While creating a budget is essential when it comes to prioritizing spending, right now focus only on necessary spending. Look out for small ways which might help save a little money. Use online payment apps as they provide cashback, reward points, and other lucrative offers like discounts on making an online purchase, etc.
Similarly, many sellers might offer huge discounts or clearance sales to attract customers and enhance buying in the coming days. Look out for these attractive discounts or deals that would be on offer. This might help you buy the things you need at a lower price.
However, avoid impulsive buying. An ideal approach would be to think a little and evaluate the actual need before buying. This would help stop unnecessary expenditure. Deferring the nonessential expenses would also help in saving a little money for emergencies.
- Take extra care of the elderly
The medical fraternity says that those people above 60 years are more susceptible to experiencing the severe symptoms of the Coronavirus and are at higher risk of fatality. This is being related to a decreased overall immunity combined with numerous underlying medical conditions that the elderly suffer. The number of fatalities worldwide is also high in the age group of 60-80+ as compared to other age groups.
It thus becomes vital to be extra cautious while caring for the elderly. Ensuring that they practice and maintain hygiene is one major factor that could help. It also becomes important that older adults follow the special guidelines issued by the government for them. The elderly should avoid going to crowded places and stay indoors as much as possible.
- Do family activities together
The family time has taken a backseat in a fast-paced life and these stressful times should be seen as a perfect time to bond with the family. Plan activities that would help everyone to spend some quality time together. Play board games, plan a movie marathon or cook your favorite dish together.
These are some ways that would help everyone reconnect and also create a happy and healthy mindset that would help in fighting anxiety.
- Consider using your emergency fund
The emergency fund is created with a purpose to counter unforeseen contingencies. So, you can use the emergency fund in case of a job loss or a pay cut, if you run out of options. Try to use the funds wisely and minimally, and start replenishing the fund as soon as you’re back to earning a stable income.
You can consider taking a short-term personal loan, but make sure that you will be able to repay it in the future. And if you haven’t already set up a contingency fund, start as soon as the crisis is over.
- Look for government assistance programs and benefits
Governments across the world have announced various aid programs and stimulus packages to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, check if you are eligible to benefit from these assistance programs and benefits. These are specifically for the people who are facing layoffs or are impacted by the pandemic in any other way. Countries like the UK are coming up with plans to cover 80% of the wages of the workers for the next three months to combat the Corona crisis.
Governments have also announced special packages for those running small businesses in the form of tax benefits and other welfare programs to help them overcome the crisis. Even the Indian government has announced a Rs. 1.7 lakh crore stimulus package for those impacted the most.
- Connect with extended family virtually
The lockdown provides us with the perfect time to connect with old friends and extended family. And since we are all staying in our homes, put technology to use, and video chat with cousins or grandparents.
Revisit good old times over a video call before the professional hustle-bustle takes up your time again. This would act as a great stress buster and surely cheer you up, and allow the young ones in the family to reconnect with everyone. It would also create a social framework to fall back upon in case of any emergency.
- Maintain a positive outlook and don’t panic
In the prevalent times, it is reasonable to feel anxious or stressed. However, it is necessary to have a positive outlook to get over hard times. Indulge in a hobby or some activities like meditation, yoga, etc. to help overcome the stress.
Adopting the right approach is important, and make sure you talk about your anxieties with family and friends. Ensure not to get panic by the situation. Take the professional help of a counselor over the phone if stress becomes too much to handle.
- Avoid consuming too much information or news
With the world battling one of the worst forms of crisis, it becomes difficult to escape the constant updates in the news cycle. Make a conscious effort to detach from indulging in too much information. Do not browse through the pandemic related news feed on social media or news websites.
Also, avoid watching the news updates on the coronavirus all day long. Sure, stay up-to-date, but don’t lose your sleep or peace of mind.
Consuming too much information could also trigger panic and anxiety. Try to follow only one reliable source of information. This would give the latest and correct source of information in a timely manner.
- Tackle misinformation and rumors in family groups and chats
While social media platforms have emerged as a strong way for people to connect and help each other, they are also the hotbeds for rumors and misinformation. The right approach is to differentiate between the correct or the incorrect facts. Rely only on trusted sources of information like government agencies, health department bulletins, and news channels. Avoid believing in and forwarding messages that make unreliable claims. So, whenever you notice someone in your network posting incorrect information, promptly correct them, without losing your cool.
The current situation is alarming, and the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly taking over control of our lives. It is vital to avoid any triggers which might harm an individual or society per se. The need of the hour is to adopt a proactive approach like maintaining hygiene, practice social distancing, and adhering to the government regulations.
A positive mindset and calm demeanor and a strong belief that this too shall pass would help the world tackle the biggest crisis of recent times. Families will need to relook their expenses and financial management until we emerge on the other side of the challenge.
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