We recently talked about how to maintain your financial plan during volatile times, and this week we’ll focus on one of the few things you can control in this pandemic: Expenses.
As we continue to hunker down during the fight against COVID-19, revisiting your budget may seem like the last thing you want to do, but controlling spending could be the key to riding through the outbreak with your finances intact. Here are a few strategies to consider:
- Update the battle plan. In this sudden new reality, it’s time to change your budget strategy. For many, vacations, weddings and nights out are off the table (particularly for those who have lost a source of income). Redeploy those funds towards new priorities like paying down debts or equipment needed to make working from home more seamless. We’d recommend taking the time to revisit (or create) your budget for the next few months with our budget worksheet or by clicking the spending tab on your personal Adviser Insights website.
- Build a moat. In times of prolonged uncertainty, your cash reserves provide a welcome spending buffer. As you revise your budget, make sure you’re using cash you’re saving today to build up six months of expenses if you’re single. If you’re married and have children, bump that up to a year.
- Buy on sale. If possible, continue contributing to your retirement accounts as before. It may be hard to put money into a declining market, but history tells us that bear marketsA period in which stock prices decline significantly from recent highs and remain below previous high marks for weeks or months. Generally, a decline of at least 20% in stock prices is considered the threshold marking the start of a bear market., while painful, can end as swiftly as they start. And missing out on the recovery could do more damage to your long-term returns than the fall itself.
- Maintain morale. As you rework your budget, once you’ve taken care of savings, put a little aside for something that will lift your spirits if you can. Maybe it’s a Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ subscription. Or ordering delivery for yourself or your loved ones to support your favorite restaurants—a little self-care helps all of us focus on how lucky we truly are despite the turmoil that surrounds us.
If you have questions about how to reprioritize your spending or saving plan, or if your circumstances or needs have substantially changed due to recent events, please give us a call. Your wealth management team is here to help answer your questions about expenses and your portfolio or to conduct a comprehensive review of your financial plan.
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