With no clear ending in sight, the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold around the globe bringing with it a significant economic impact. In a time of uncertainty and anxiety, this month’s collection of Top Reads is intended to deliver valuable resources to support your financial and emotional wellbeing. Wealth management experts share insights on investments, taxes, and how and where to find government aid and assistance if your income has completely dried up. Shahar Ziv from Forbes reminds us that each of us has a role to play in supporting those that will be hit hardest financially. As things continue to evolve from day to day, Art Markman from Harvard Business Review advises each of us to take a few moments to pause and breathe before making rapid decisions, “quick actions may reduce some of your anxiety in the short-run, but they are likely to create more problems than they solve.”
For Americans who are seeing a sudden reduction (or complete loss) of income, columnist Ron Lieber and Personal Finance writer for the New York Times Tara Siegel Bernard have put together an informative guide on government benefits, free services, and financial strategies to help navigate the financial stress brought on by COVID-19. This extensive article includes detailed information on unemployment insurance, the ins and outs of paid leave, as well as the options available to homeowners and renters, tax deadline extensions, and most importantly how to keep the lights on.
Each of us has a role to play not only in limiting the spread of the coronavirus but also in practicing empathy for those who may be the hardest hit financially. Jennifer Tescher, CEO of the Financial Health Network, predicts the virus could in fact “bankrupt more people than it kills.” In this Forbes article, Shahar Ziv discusses how large business owners and public companies can help absorb some of the impacts by continuing to pay workers, with allowances for any temporary or contract workers. Ziv points to instituting or expanding a sick leave program for the more than 40% of gig workers in the US who don’t have access to sick leave to self-quarantine. Ziv also suggests several ways society can band together as individuals and support those who can use help and kindness during this challenging time. Read the full article here.
Americans of all ages are facing financial stress from the coronavirus fallout. CNBC’s Sharon Epperson has pulled together advice from industry professionals to deliver the answers to some crucial questions to help you stay financially healthy and navigate these difficult times. She also shares what to expect if you need to access your 401(k) retirement plan, saying you should check with your benefits department to learn if your employer has a hardship withdrawal policy.
For US freelancers facing a reduced income, financial advisor Stacy Francis suggests holding off on quarterly tax payments. Francis also suggests that younger people with secure incomes might want to take advantage of the down market and invest. With schools shut down, students are increasingly anxious about getting both tuition and housing refunded. But Mark Kantrowitz, vice president and publisher of SavingforCollege.com, points out that refunds might end up back in the hands of the lender. For more tips, check out the article on CNBC.
As we continue to see our lives disrupted in significant ways, Ben Carlson delivers an uplifting message on the power of the human spirit. Carlson draws a comparison of today’s global coronavirus pandemic to World War II, pointing to excerpts from Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath on the ways humans respond to traumatic events. Carlson says it’s perfectly rational to be scared and anxious right now, but conquering these fears will provide the boost we desperately need when life returns to normal. With hard times ahead, it’s important to bear in mind we’ve survived worse and come out stronger on the other side. Read The Power of the Human Spirit.
As day to day, changes unfold around the world from COVID-19, Art Markman from Harvard Business Review talks about why it is necessary to take a breath and slow down when it comes to decision making in a time of upheaval. Markman points to specific psychological factors that can affect our behaviour and lead us to make short-sighted decisions. Markman suggests adopting what Keith Stanovich and Richard West called System 2: deliberative reasoning with data. There is a lot of information out there – take the time to read and digest it before making important personal and business decisions. Enjoy the full article on HBR.