How is everyone doing? If you’re not sure how to answer that because you run through every single emotion in a day, well, same. This world right now…it’s a lot. I’ve taken some time off from the blog in the last bit, firstly because I was traveling in February, and recently because I just don’t know what to say. And that’s kind of why I’m checking in today. None of us have answers right now, but maintaining ties is especially important right now.
Where I’m At
The bf and I are currently sharing the dining room table while we both work from home. We are both lucky to be able to keep working and not have our incomes negatively impacted. We are staying home as much as possible, only venturing out to walk the dog and grab groceries when absolutely necessary. Other than a bit of cabin fever, we are not at all in a bad situation.
And for a small bit of positive news. We have a new foster puppy who is keeping us busy and makes social distancing that much easier. Internet, meet Ranger…
I know there are a lot of people who are having a much harder time than I am. This is a shitty situation, and I’m sorry you’re struggling. Know that I’m here and happy to answer any finance-related questions that might come up. I’m also going to share a few things that I think are important for all of us.
What To Do If You Are Stressing About Money
Short Term Cash Flow
If you have lost your job or are facing a decrease in income, then you need cash now. The Canadian government has started to introduce programs to help with this. Whether you are an individual or run a business, take the time to read through the Economic Response Plan to see what you may qualify for.
The big banks in Canada are all offering assistance to those affected by COVID-19. This can include measures like delaying your mortgage payments for up to six months and deferrals on loan and credit card payments. They’ll handle requests on a case-by-case basis but take advantage if you need to free up cash flow right away.
I’ve also received quite a few emails from my own service providers offering similar assistance with deferring bill payments.
Finally, apply for a low-interest credit card or call your bank and ask for a lower interest rate on your current card. Now is not the time to worry about debt; you need to eat. The MBNA True Line Mastercard offers a 12.99% interest rate with no annual fee, or the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard offers the same 12.99% interest rate with a $20 annual fee, but they’ll refund the first years fee.
The markets suck right now. I can’t sugarcoat that for you, it’s a fact. The majority of my readers are fellow millennials, so our investments tend to be for the long-term. That’s a good thing right now. It means we’ve got time to let them recover. For many of us, it’s the first time we’ve had to watch our investments go down, down, and down some more. It is stressful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Those out there talking about buying low are also freaking out on the other side of that screen.
My advice to you? Now is not the time to be selling. We’ve got time, so let’s ride this out. If down markets are exciting to you, then sure, add some money to things you are still feeling confident about. But don’t feel bad about not “taking advantage.” If socking away cash makes you feel safe, then do that! I’m continuing to add my regular monthly deposits, but I’m not adding any additional money.
Don’t touch your investments and don’t touch your face
— Alyssa Davies (@MixedUpMoney) March 12, 2020
Support Your Community
If you are financially stable, then it’s important to understand that not everyone is in the same position. Don’t diminish people’s panic just because you’re not feeling it in the same way. This is a big deal, and kindness will get you a lot further than judgment. Use your stability to help others in your community. Small businesses are hurting, but they are coming up with unique ways to try and bridge them until things go back to normal. Restaurants are offering take-out or delivery, stores are upping their online options and giving free shipping, and almost everywhere has gift cards available.
Shop local as much as possible. The big guys will make it through this, but if there are small businesses you love, then help ensure they are still around when this is over. One of my favourite parts of my community is the amount of locally owned businesses within walking distance. This past week we’ve grabbed take-out a couple of times, ordered a grocery box a local deli/butcher put together and purchased a few gift cards. Social distancing is saving us money in certain areas, so we’re redirecting that money back into our community.
Protect Your Mental Health
I am finding everything very overwhelming. I’ve been pretty quiet on social media the past few days because my brain can’t handle the onslaught of COVID-19 information. I watch the news in the morning to stay up to date, but the online panic isn’t helpful. If you find you are feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping, then give yourself a break from social media.
It’s possible to stay connected while disconnecting. Social media can be the enemy of peace, so shut out that noise and replace it with real conversations. Call or FaceTime with your family, friends, and co-workers. Make sure your boomer parents are staying the heck home! If you usually have group lunches at the office, then there’s no reason not to do that through video chat. There are plenty of jokes online about how introverts are loving this time. Well, we might not hate it as much as the extroverts, but it’s still messing with our regular routines, which we’re not always great at handling.
Unless you are under strict quarantine, get outside for some exercise and fresh air. There are plenty of at-home workouts or yoga videos to keep you active. Don’t let your daily workout suffer because you’re stuck inside. Sticking as close to your normal routine as possible will help keep your mind on things other than the pandemic.
We’ve got this you guys. Be good to each other <3