April 2020: We make plans and God Laughs

We make plans and God laughs!!!  

Many years ago, I was watching a TV show when one of the characters said the phrase, “We make plans and God laughs”. Well, God must be rolling on the floor laughing at this moment. If things had gone as planned, I would be writing a blog with an April Fool’s theme. I would be covering the topics of identity theft and other ways we get fooled into damaging our financial lives. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has happened, and we are all under a state-imposed “stay at home” order. I went back and forth trying to decide if I should proceed as plan or deviate. Ultimately, I decided that we need to put my scheduled calendar on hold and proceed with a blog that can give you information to help get through this time.

If I said it once, I’ve said it a million times…. 

Budget is the foundation to a good financial plan and a strong financial future. This is the moment to embrace yours and give it a good trim. Many of us are finding ourselves either unemployed or furloughed and are making ends meet from our savings while we wait for unemployment to kick in. Now is the time to take out pen and paper and write down all the expenses that we have during the month. After you have written all this down and thought about what you need, everything else is non-essential and needs to be put aside for the time being. The fact that we are staying at home makes this easier for us and we have naturally scaled back our lifestyle. Take this time to create this “bare bones” budget, if you don’t have one. For those who are still employed and working from home, whether you are making your full salary or have taken a pay cut, you are also pairing back your budget. All of us are in the unique situation of re-evaluating our budgets and really taking a look at our expenses in terms of what we need and want. Take this time to make or tweak your budget.

I need help and that’s ok…   

The COVID-19 crisis has brought home the sobering reality that many people and businesses do not have the emergency funds to survive the sudden economic shutdown, especially if this takes months to get back to work. I have spoken to many people who are facing this stark reality either for their household or business. One of the things that we must do at this time is be honest with ourselves and get help from wherever we can. If you work for a business that has been forced to terminate or furlough you, apply for unemployment from your state immediately. If you are a business owner and trying to figure out how to stay afloat, reach out to the small business administration and look at getting an emergency loan. In addition, reach out to various community partners like the United Way. They have a list of resources that you can look into. Lastly, remember to talk to your lender about deferring payments on your loans and credit cards. Many of the lenders are offering deferments of payments right now to help their clients. I would look into this but remember, there is no free lunch so read the find print.

Take a page from High School Musical     

That’s right! Remember that Disney Movie from a few years back? One of the main songs in the movie was the song “We’re all in this together”. Let’s remember this, stay home as much as possible, leaving for only essential business. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we live in a very small world and need to be kind to one another. Reach out to family and friends that you know are going through this alone. Take time to help your elderly or homebound neighbors by getting them essentials when you go out. Let’s bring back home cook dinners and sitting around the table as a family. For reasons that none of us will ever understand, we find ourselves living through the unbelievable. Maybe God is having a good laugh at our plans, or maybe, this is just Her way of making us stop for a moment and take stock of what really matters. Stay Safe everyone. Remember to check out our weekly podcast, Empowered Worth: Worthy Wisdom for Women, on iTunes and pick up a copy of my International Bestseller “Empower your Worth: A Women’s Guide to Self-Worth and Net-Worth”.