How did this all happen so quickly?
When I got back to Toronto from my trip to Mexico at the end of February I made small talk with someone at the airport about the Coronavirus. Everything seemed like it was business-as-usual. Nothing felt out of the ordinary.
Things escalated quickly. Now we’re dealing with shutdowns of everything that’s not considered essential, people are losing their jobs, and we don’t even know if there’s an end in sight. We don’t have any clue when (or if) things will go back to normal. What makes this terrifying is that nobody seems to have any answers aside from telling us to stay home.
How do you handle your personal finances during a crisis? How can you survive this financial disaster?
I reached out to the financial experts and I compiled the best resources from around the web to help you figure out what to do with your money during this COVID-19 global pandemic. There are tools and options out there for you. There’s help available at levels. More help will come.
Before we move forward, I have to stress a few things about this current global pandemic/financial crisis:
- I don’t know anything about the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Your friend from high school who shares conspiracy theories all day certainly doesn’t know anything about it either. So stop using Facebook as your main source of news. You can follow the World Health Organization or CDC for live updates.
- We have to take this seriously. The implications are real. I don’t want to fear monger, but this looks to be sticking around for a bit.
- We’re all being impacted by this. Our investments are down, our lives have changed, and we’re all anxious about what’s next.
- Check in with your parents/grandparents and relatives.
- Stay home if you don’t have to go anywhere.
- Thank you if you’re working because your work is essential.
These times are going to bring out all kinds of characters. Frauds will be exposed. We will see who has our backs. We will see which corporations just want to send long emails about nothing.
Don’t do this during a global pandemic…
Before we go into what you should do, it’s important to look at what you shouldn’t do during a time like this.
- Rant on social media all day. Stay off social media if you’re angry. There’s no need to be arguing with people. Many of us aren’t thinking rationally right now. Let’s try to stick together.
- Don’t just follow the news 24/7. I get it. I’m hooked to following this thing. However, it won’t do us any good. Try to read, go for a walk around the block (away from people), or anything to distract yourself from the news.
- Try not to touch your investments. I’m down more money than I want to admit. I get updates from Wealthsimple and Questrade daily about my stocks going down.
How can you survive this financial crisis?
There are many levels of financial disasters that people are experiencing. My week was frustrating because my Airbnb Experiences guide launched the same day that Experiences got paused and I have a feeling that my rental won’t get filled up anytime soon with a new tenant. However, those are minor issues compared to those who don’t know where their next meal will come from.
Level 1: Catastrophic disaster with immediate impact on your finances.
You lost your job. Your spouse lost their job. You don’t know how you’re going to pay your rent or mortgage. You don’t know when you’re going to be able to go back to work.
With events shutting down and non-essential establishments being forced to close down, many employees are being sent home with no pay. Layoffs are happening all around us. This is terrible. What makes it even scarier is that companies don’t even know when they’ll have employees return to work.
See what help is available to you.
- You can contact your bank to see if they have any flexible payment options.
- Contact your lenders and creditors to see if they can delay payments or if there’s any help available.
- Can you apply for Employment Insurance? Emergency measures are being introduced.
- What measures has your government introduced? Prime Minister Trudeau announced $82B in financial aid. The Trump administration is looking to send checks to Americas. Toronto announced a 60-day grace period for tax, waste, and water bill payments. I’ll update this page as more comes out.
There’s help available around us. See what your government is offering and apply for assistance right away.
My friend Alyssa wrote about the financial support available to Canadian homeowners. There’s a list of emergency fund options for freelancers and creatives losing money right now. This article on the Financial Post looks at what the government is offering you in Canada.
It’s important that you ask for help if you need it. This isn’t the time to be proud. Seek out financial or emotional help. Check in with your friends to see how they’re doing. Check in with your relatives. This is the time to be helpful.
Jason at Phroogal wrote an extensive piece on protecting yourself during the Coronavirus pandemic.
My side hustle is an Airbnb Experience. When the platform got shut down, every single host went to an income of zero. Many hosts were full-time. That means that 100% of their income went away. That’s catastrophic. I’ve spoken with many folks who don’t know how they’re going to pay rent. Hopefully your government has measures in place to help you get by. Most governments are also putting a hold on evictions to ensure that nobody is put on the streets during this crisis.
Try to spring into action.
Remember that this will end eventually. I know that it’s tempting to eat an entire bag of chips while you binge watch. I get it. You just want to try to take action so that you apply for assistance and use any help that’s available to you.
Level 2: Any kind of other financial issues.
Are you losing hours? Are you making less money? Are your investments crashing?
It may be a long time before things go back to normal, but you can at least try to work on your finances. It’s going to suck. It won’t be easy. You won’t see any results overnight. You may experienced the toughest period of your life.
Look for “lost” money.
Do you have any gift cards around the house? Are there any rebates that you forgot to cash in? Do you have any case in your trading accounts? This is the time to see what money you can collect on.
Now we may have to revisit frugality.
When I first started this blog in 2008, I talked about saving money often because we were dealing with a recession. Times eventually got better and we started talking more about how to make money and optimize life. Now we may have to return to frugality and extreme methods for saving money.
Look, I don’t want to eat tuna and eggs everyday nor do I want to live like a hermit. However, when shit hits the fan, we have to adapt. We may have to hold off purchases and tighten up our belts as we brace ourselves for what’s next.
Work on bringing in more money.
This is the time to work on bringing in more money. I hate to be a broken record. I’ve been ranting and raving about side hustles for about a decade now. It’s more important than ever to have multiple streams of income. This free time could be used to try to improve your income situation.
Here’s how you can start making money today with my exact tips:
- The exact steps to getting paid as a writer.
- How to start an online business in 6 easy steps.
- How to make money off social media.
- How you can make money online.
Wait it out.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen next. That’s what makes this is so scary. We don’t know if we’re on hold for a few more weeks or a few months. All we can do is wait it out as we work on protecting our finances and our families.
What are the best resources to help you figure out what to do with your money?
I don’t have all of the answers. I have more questions than answers if anything. I searched to find the best resources for you guys at this moment. This page will be updated as often as new updates come out.
Kyle wrote a piece for Million Dollar Journey where he took a serious look at investing after COVID-19. His conclusion on the stock market stuck out to me:
“Finally, remind yourself that ultimately investing is the stock or bond markets is NOT the same thing as placing a bet in a casino. Those stock prices that are going up and down in a seemingly random pattern right now are not some weird VLT game. Stocks are real pieces of real companies that will make (or in a few cases “not make”) money every day going forward. Ultimately those companies are still worth a lot of money.”
The Coronavirus stock market crash was addressed in this article over at How to Save Money:
“No matter how prepared you are, a stock market crash can be a scary thing.
That’s why it’s important to remember to keep calm. Panic selling at this point only means you’ll lock in your losses and lose your chance to recover your money as the market gradually rebounds.
Because the fact is this has happened before. And while there’s no guarantee the markets will recover, they always have in the past.”
Here are a few other articles worth checking out:
- Mitigating the damage @ A Dime Saved.
- How will Coronavirus impact your finances, student loans, 401k, and travel plans? @ Making Sense of Cents.
- James Altucher asked about opportunity in disaster.
- What You’re Feeling Is Plague Dread @ The Atlantic.
- Coronavirus will bankrupt more people than it kills — and that’s the real global emergency @ Independent.
- 4 key coronavirus personal finance questions @ CNBC.
- What to Do if You’re Freaking Out About Your 401(k) Right Now @ Vice.
- What’s Next? @ The Best Interest Blog.
- Why My Clients Aren’t Worried About The Coronavirus Market Scare @ The WLTH Blog.
Every morning this week I woke up hoping that everything that happened was just a nightmare. It’s not. This is real life for now. We will survive this financial crisis. There’s no other choice.
How are you coping with everything?