As the dust slowly begins to settle and we watch companies draw up their action plans to recover, we all sit and wonder what this might look like for us. How will I recover from this? How can I cover these unexpected expenses? How will I increase my earning potential? Whether you're navigating the muddy waters of unemployment, vacation, returning to office plans, or working remotely, we have many things to consider as time goes on faster and faster. How should we deal with debt? Are there any other aid programs or funding? How can we pick up the pieces and properly restore what may have been lost? Use the tips below to begin your journey to recovering your finances.
Identify your financial priorities
In the course of this year, many originally set financial goals had to be optimized or come to a standstill. While it would be nice if we could correct all of the financial aspirations we have for ourselves and our families at once, it's just not realistic. To ease the emerging pressures, which many have experienced for a good portion of the time this year, it is best to identify two to three main areas of focus. By restricting your focus, you can not only determine where to put your efforts, but also remove unnecessary stress so that a plan of attack can be created and executed. For example, if you want to start rebuilding your emergency fund, savings, or just bills and other overheads, make sure the actionable steps you take are aligned with the overall goal. This helps create tunnel vision to achieve the goal while also reducing the noise of things that may be addressed at a later date. You owe it to yourself and your finances to get these goals to the finish line.
Review your budget and make adjustments if necessary
Many think of budgeting like this tedious task that you put off every week. It is what you know needs to be done, but you will always find something else to do instead. Once that's done, you'll always be glad you did. Even if you do have to have an adult tantrum, pull out a pen and paper (again) to compare your income with your expenses. Has your income increased or decreased? Are there any issues that are no longer on the list? Are there certain needs or luxuries that can be temporarily put on hold until things settle down? Take all of these factors into account when recalibrating your budget. Are there spending habits that you've noticed that have increased as more time is available indoors? If these questions aren't easy to answer, check the last few months of your bank statement. Do you notice more takeaway orders? An increased number of emotional or impulsive purchases? Be honest with yourself and your habits so that you can rebuild your finances in a healthy way.
Adjust the debt settlement plan
If you didn't take the opportunity to contact your creditors, consider this a reminder! It is imperative that you maintain an open line of communication with all lenders. These conversations can potentially result in various options available to assist you in your debt settlement process. Remember, you are not the only person suffering from financial hardship. So make pride a thing of the past and be open. Are there any options for help during the pandemic? Will interest rates be lowered due to the current climate? If I miss a payment, what are the consequences? Are negative comments reported to the credit bureaus? Be very clear in your delivery. There are thousands upon thousands of people trying to pick up the pieces on their money trip. Take some time to check all creditor accounts for the latest balances. From there, create your plan (or adapt it to your personal circumstances). When dealing with the smallest of debts is easier, turn your attention to these accounts. If utility catching up and restoring and other overheads needs to be addressed first, do this. There is no right or wrong way to approach your plan. Just don't adopt the spirit of avoidance.
Monitor your credit score regularly
Due to the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in personal data. To protect yourself and your creditworthiness, you should obtain a copy of your credit report from at least one of the offices (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) and review it regularly. You will typically be given a free credit report each year. Due to the pandemic, you can now request your report free of charge on a weekly basis until April 2021. We all know that there is a lot written on all of our plates, but this may be built into your weekly routine to make sure the information stays correct. If something is wrong during your review, file a dispute and make sure you have evidence to back up your claim.
While we may not like to admit it, life can present many challenges that we may not be fully prepared for on our ever-changing journey into adulthood. This pandemic has shed light on the areas in our lives that require more time, intent, and attention. Instead of fretting about unwillingness, we should make adjustments now so that no matter what happens to the economy or the state of this country, it does not have such a large negative impact on our financial goals. Let's be honest – even in the midst of tragedy, this year has given us a different level of endurance and resilience. It reminded us of what really matters and where our energy should really be put to use. Start where you are and do what you can. Don't compare your personal monetary history with that of others. We all have unique situations and obligations that affect our savings and spending plans. Dust yourself off, grant yourself grace, and begin a new chapter in your financial journey.
Marsha Barnes (7 posts)
Marsha Barnes is a financial guru with over 20 years of experience striving to empower women worldwide to be financially successful. Financial literacy and literacy are a passion for Marsha and provide clients with practical information that builds their general confidence in their personal finances.