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Overcoming a Crisis: Tips as We Navigate Through COVID-19 and Look to the Future

While we certainly could not have predicted the current environment we are in years or even months ago, there are some key takeaways we can learn from this time of uncertainty to improve our financial plan and take one step closer to our life goals. As individuals, we have been tested physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially, which can bring to light our strengths and weaknesses and provide additional time for reflection and growth. There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic will be remembered as a challenging and devastating time in history for all, however; we can take this time at home to focus on what we have accomplished so far and what we would like to continue to improve on for the future. Then, when we look back, we can find the positives out of a dark time and be proud of our strives for progress. 

Consider some of the following tips from our team as we move forward. As always, we are here to help you with any of these action items or with any questions you may have.

Lessons Learned

  • The importance of an emergency fund. We recommend having 3-6 months of living expenses for an emergency fund, invested in a money market fund or CDs. 
  • Understand your budget. Online tools and apps, such as Mint (free) or Quicken can easily help you review your cash flow. Our client portal, eMoney, allows for the integration of credit cards and bank accounts to align with your financial plan. 
  • Have the correct life and disability insurance in place to protect yourself and your loved ones.
  • Ensure your healthcare and financial Power of Attorney documents, will, and other necessary estate planning records are stored in a secure place in the sudden event you are hospitalized or pass away.

Looking Ahead

  • Put your stimulus check to work if received. If you do not need the funds for immediate expenses, consider saving the money in your emergency fund, pay down high interest debt, or invest it. If your bills are paid off and you are comfortable with your savings, you could donate the money to charity or support a local organization/business. 
  • Manage and prioritize debt. It is extremely difficult to plan for the future and save/invest if you do not understand and strategize tackling your debt now. 
  • Invest in the market if you can. The recent downturn has allowed an opportunity to “buy low.”
  • Reconsider your risk tolerance. How did you handle the recent market downturn? If it was completely overwhelming for you or you lost sleep at night because of it, it may be time to consider making your investments more conservative.
  • Review your goals. Has this time changed your financial plan or goals? If so, please let our team know, so we can adjust accordingly and revise your plan.
  • Use technology to your advantage. If you prefer to meet virtually, we now offer appointments via Zoom. Many other businesses, such as doctor offices, law practices, etc., are offering virtual appointments, which can save you time and stress (no traffic!).
  • If you are a business owner, there are a few opportunities you can take advantage of:
    1. Now is a great time to start a 401(k) plan to offer an additional benefit to your employees and help you save for your retirement! The SECURE Act has offered multiple new tax credits for new 401(k) plans and those that offer auto-enrollment, and a down market is a great point to start investing in the market.
    2. Enhance your digital presence. As we know, most people are using online resources to research businesses and place orders. Make sure your website, Google business page, and social media channels are up to date. Offer online deals and/or educational seminars to increase your online presence if possible. Brand awareness is key!
  • Realize the importance of self-care. Make time for family and friends and your hobbies/passions. Take the trip you have been putting off for years, go to happy hour, and tell those you care about how much they mean to you!
  • Support the businesses and organizations that are important to you. They need you now more than ever.

It is evident our world will not be the same after this, but hopefully the lessons learned will provide us with appreciation, advancement, and a stronger future. We hope these suggestions help you think about your current situation and provide some guidance as we move forward. To book a time to speak with our team, please go to the following link https://cookecapital.apptoto.com/ or email info@cookecapital.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

This article was written by Haley Tolitsky, Financial Planner at Cooke Capital.

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