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Securing Your Future in Uncertain Times

By | Craig Middleton

Anyone who had a grandparent who lived through the Great Depression knows that they had some odd habits. Hoarding strange items, having money stashed around the house, or counting pennies at the grocery store. You knew that they had their reasons for these behaviors, but many now have a much clearer understanding of those behaviors.

Insurance

Insurance covers all manner of policies and strategies. Some kinds you were already thinking about: health insurance, for example. Life insurance may have been lower on the list, an extra bonus if you remembered to think about it. Non-insurance policy precautions like a will were probably an afterthought at best. Now, it seems all too relevant. You’d do well to examine your health insurance plan more closely, get some kind of life insurance like a 7702 plan and make sure that you have some kind of will, just in case.

Cash Reserves

Another “just in case” measure is to have cash reserves that you can draw on in an emergency. The stock market can be most volatile when you need the money most, so having a healthy amount of savings set aside is important. You may feel like that just isn’t possible in the current climate, but remember it for the future; you cannot guarantee that this won’t happen again.

Back Up Plan

It’s impossible to be prepared for every emergency, especially if you weren’t adequately warned about it. That leads to panic-buying and shortages, which aren’t good for anyone. People who live in areas where summer storms or blizzards are common know to have a back up plan for necessities, but that kind of plan is now essential no matter where you are or what season it is.

Side Hustles

In addition to a backup plan for food, it’s increasingly essential to have a backup plan for work as well. You can’t trust that your job will be deemed nonessential, or become unsafe. It’s a good precaution to have a small job that you do on the side: freelance work, online teaching, even selling crafts or driving for a delivery service. That way, in the event of another pandemic or other emergency, if one job cuts hours or employees, you can try to pick up more hours at your other job. Just like you want your investments to be diversified, in this day and age it makes good sense to have your employment diversified.

Minimal Extra Costs

If coronavirus has taught you one thing, it’s taught you how and what to prioritize. All around the world, people are learning what they really need and what they can do without. Some things that were considered essential have fallen by the wayside, while at the same time, other things that used to be small indulgences and hobbies are now vitally important comforts in a stressful time. Now is actually the perfect time to assess your priorities. It’s important to remember for later what you’re going through now. When times get tough, what was really, truly important to you? What kept you sane and what could you live without?

Ideally, you would have made preparations like this beforehand, as much as possible. If you were a naturally overcautious person, you might have had some of these systems already in place, but the odds are high that you, like the rest of the world, were caught off-guard. The first part of 2020 caught many people off-guard. It had always been assumed that in the event of a disaster, we could rely on the government to warn us, or at least help us recover after the fact. Turning instead to our state and local leaders in a time of need can be a comfort, but they simply don’t have the resources or the leverage to bargain that our federal government does. Which is, after all, why we have a federal government in the first place. People have found, in these uncertain times, that they must find a way to look after themselves.

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