Reach for the Stars: How to Achieve Financial Wellness Post-Pandemic
It is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind. And it is hard to think about the future when you are feeling uncertain about the present.
The pandemic has affected many businesses’ and individuals’ finances, leading to significant losses as opportunities became scarce. In fact, 44% of people whose financial situations got worse during the pandemic estimate that it could take them three or more years to recover. What’s even worse is that 10% believe that their finances might not ever recover.
However, it’s important to understand that thinking about the future can help you in the present by providing you some much needed motivation. There is a saying “You have the power to change your life at any given moment”. So, never forget that. It is so easy to forget and let go of your goals because you have to worry about them now.
Have you ever tried to advance in your job or start a new career? Perhaps a new career or advancement will help you make more income so you can feel more financially comfortable. If so, here are some ways on how you can do just that:
Assess and Budget
The most practical way to start managing your finances is by assessing where you are and budgeting accordingly. Given the way life has changed for most people, spending and saving habits have inevitably transformed. Take the time to sit down and go through your monthly income and expenses and the status of your accounts.
It’s good to pay attention to where most of your money is being spent to see how much can go into savings and, more importantly, where to cut back. Your budget should adjust to accommodate your changing needs during the pandemic, so do your assessment for personal finances periodically using budgeting tools from Marine Credit Union partners, budget apps, or even a spreadsheet with simple formulas. Online banking platforms are also an excellent way to stay on top of your financial progress and handle your banking. Our Marine Mobile banking app lets you do this in just a few taps, allowing you to manage your budget well.
Manage Your Debt
Several people are finding themselves in difficult financial situations amid the pandemic. Some are turning to loans and credits to scrape by, leading to debt. While debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, good debt management is essential to financial health. Zero debt is the ultimate goal, but it isn’t a practical or realistic goal for most people, so prioritize managing debt instead.
Start by making a list of your current debt in order of importance. Then, get to work on finding the right approach to pay them off. Perhaps this involves consolidating multiple debts into one payment with a lower interest rate or contacting creditors to discuss options on delaying or cutting back payments for the time being. Above all, it’s important to take accountability for your debt, says Brad Klontz, an associate professor at Creighton University Heider College of Business. Taking ownership over incurring debt may be hard, but it can help you reflect on your learned behavior around money. This makes working on your finances much easier moving forward.
Increase Your Income
The road to being financially healthy is more attainable now due to the rise of remote work. A part-time or freelance job is a great way to boost your monthly income, alleviating financial stress. With most jobs online, you can find a role that suits your schedule and expertise, whether that’s tutoring or graphic design.
Securing a side hustle can protect your finances and diversify your income, especially if something happens to your main job. It can also help you pay off debt and beef up your savings for a financially healthier future post-pandemic. Of course, it’s best to be wary of any too-good-to-be-true offers or get-rich-quick schemes. If your side hustle asks you to invest money or resources you don’t have, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid taking any risks.
Connect with New People
Meeting new people and building relationships with them, is very important, especially when you share the same goals. Connecting with people outside your immediate circle gives you access to new ideas and opportunities — both critical to financial wellness. For one, you can get advice from a mentor who has traveled the same path; you can also build valuable partnerships with your professional peers through networking.
Right now, you can do this on social media and other virtual platforms, like LinkedIn. In a column on The Hill, Dr. Erika Rasure states it’s important to be deliberate and proactive with these interactions, especially as most people are seeking professional connections to improve their careers. Dr. Rasure is an assistant professor in the online MBA in financial services program at Maryville University. She stresses that it’s important to take your time in building strong foundations for lasting partnerships and relationships.
It might seem difficult right now, but by following these tips and our guide to ‘Navigating Financial Uncertainty’, it can help you through these turbulent times. There are various options that you can take to rebuild your finances. All it takes is the first step to get started.
Written by Aubrey Grace Connell Exclusive for marinecu.com