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How to Manage Your Personal Finances During the Coronavirus Disruption

The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc across the world’s commercial landscape. As shops close and businesses scale back their operations, millions have found their personal finances threatened by the uncertainties that have followed. 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee at a business, it’s likely you’re already feeling the impact of the current restrictions on business and human movement on your pockets. Or if you aren’t, you may be worried that you will eventually have to grapple with a shortage of funds.

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This article takes you through some steps you can take to safeguard your finances in these times.

Steps You Can Take

1. Reduce Your Spending

If you’re like most people, you already know that you have to cut spending when a crisis hits. But how exactly do you do this?

You can begin by reducing or eliminating your spending on non-essentials. Only use your cash in hand for things you really need.

It’s a good idea to draw up a budget so you get a clear idea what you should be spending on, and the minimum amounts of money you can devote to them.      

If there’s a complete lockdown of your area and you’ve been asked to stay indoors, you may spend a lot of time browsing the web and using streaming services. While these are fine, you risk burning a considerable bit of your money with them. Be sure that you’re using ISPs and streaming platforms that don’t charge excessively.

Now is also the time to unsubscribe from any paid service that you’re not really using or that isn’t important to you.   

2. Don’t Buy or Sell Hastily

So you know there’s a lockdown coming, and the markets will be overrun with emergency shoppers. Why don’t you just hit the stores and purchase anything useful you find in them?

This isn’t a good strategy. While it’s true that you have to stock up, you should plan your shopping before going out to the markets. If you don’t you risk spending on things you’ll eventually not need. And that would be a waste of scarce funds.

Write a list of things you have to buy, and make sure it contains the essential items.

If you run a company, don’t just sell off your inventory for peanuts because you need some change. You may wind up regretting this decision later on. Be strategic about your selling. You can offer discounts if it makes sense in the long run, e.g if it helps bring in more steady customers.

3. Have a Rainy Day Savings Pot

Maybe the opportunity to save is gone for now. But if there’s revenue still coming into your coffers, set some of it aside just in case.

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Even if you can’t or haven’t kept emergency funds up until now, you can draw lessons from it to improve your savings habits. Aim to have enough in your reserves to take you through a year. It will come in handy for you if your income flow dries up.

4. Spread Out Your Investments

This is one of the most important lessons you’ll learn from financial literacy programs. If you invest in a single kind of asset, you risk losing a lot if that asset’s sphere gets hit in a crisis. But if you put your money in several different kinds of assets, you’ve spread your risk across a broader plane, so potential losses will be lessened.

Here’s an example. If you have all your investments in a company’s shares, there’s a danger you’ll lose a lot of it if share prices plunge. But if you’ve invested in shares of companies from a range of industries, as well as Eurobonds and real estate, you will have less exposure to any potential economic risks.

5. Take Advantage of Generous Offerings

Look out for companies that reduce the price of their products and services as a goodwill gesture towards their customers. Examples we’ve seen thus far are banks offering cost-free electronic transfers and online platforms presenting premium training courses for free.

6. Look to the Future

No matter what goes on at the moment, we have reason to be hopeful for a better tomorrow. This period will be history before long. Don’t sell off your long term stocks if they’re still likely to rebound in the future. Make plans that you’ll execute with your business after the pandemic. Focus on the most important things right now: family, friends, and your personal health. Do these things, and you’ll be fine in the end.

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.



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