Money Management During a Pandemic
Despite our fervent wish for things to go back to the way they used to be, it seems that we still have a long way to go before we can revert to our pre-pandemic normal. The road to normalcy necessitates a vaccine so before that blessed day arrives, we all have to get used to our new normal.
All signs seem to point to mask-wearing, social distancing and limiting outside exposure as the new normal. I can't wrap my head around a new normal with social distancing for our public transportation system though. The reality is that our public transportation is sorely lacking for the number of people who depend on it, so social distancing will only exacerbate this since vehicles can no longer be packed like sardines like we've become accustomed to. I'd hate to be in the Inter Agency Task Force's shoes right now, as its members must be squeezing their brains dry trying to come up with a solution for this conundrum.
When it comes to money though, the situation becomes more cut and dried. In a pandemic, liquidity is the name of the game as you have to have cash on hand to buy groceries and supplies as you try to ride out the virus during the lockdown.
Those who continue to get paid during the lockdown and/or have a robust emergency fund can just focus on taking care of themselves and their families. But if you have neither of those and you can't wait or are not qualified for government assistance, then you have to hustle.
I can't find the photo now, but there was this news item about a guy who used the cash assistance he received (I think it was Php2,000) to set up a barbecue stand. The news report said that from his barbecue stand, he was able to bring home about Php1,200 per day as sales. That's a lot better than waiting for your next food pack from your LGU! Although I wonder how that guy is now faring with the stricter quarantine measures in place. I sure hope he was able to maintain his barbecue business.
Also along the lines of food entrepreneurs, I always browse the BF Homesarap Facebook page with envy and drool dripping from my chin because although we're so near BF Homes and have a resident's sticker, my husband refuses to pick up food items for me. BF Homesarap features home cooks and bakers, and have recently included sellers from the wet market to offer fresh seafood, meat, fruits and vegetables.
Aside from foodstuff, you can also offer services during the lockdown, which is what my yoga teacher, Annie Mesina, is doing with her Zoom classes.
My husband was also able to pick up two new web design clients during the lockdown and is ironically much busier now than he was pre-lockdown. It just goes to show that even if we're in a lockdown status, life goes on and the hustling never stop.
Assuming that you have sufficient cash on hand which will allow you to live through a 2-3 month lockdown or you continue to draw a salary, I would then encourage you to donate to the numerous fundraisers for PPEs for our healthcare workers and food packs for those who are not as privileged as you.
You can give as little as Php1 by donating your Globe Rewards points or donate to the Office of the Vice President's joint fundraiser with Kaya Natin Movement for our healthcare workers and poorer sectors of society.
There are literally dozens upon dozens of fundraisers ongoing even up to now, with private citizens also using their own funds to deliver meals to hospitals and poor families.
When it comes to generosity and mobilization in times of disaster, Filipinos are definitely the ones to beat.
I was iffy about including this third suggestion here since it seemed crass to talk about investing, when the money you invest could have been donated instead. But really, with the stock index tumbling down* because of the corona virus, discounts are to be had everywhere and now is the best time to buy your first stock or to average down on your existing stocks.
However, it's up to you to come up with the percentage of giving versus investing that you're comfortable with. Personally, I donated more than what I invested because that's what felt right to me.
If you think that we'll overcome this and that we'll all emerge from quarantine, albeit with a new normal, and get on with our lives, then you should invest in stocks. But if you think we're doomed and this is the end of humanity, then feel free to ignore this suggestion.
To summarize, in this pandemic you should: (1) have money on hand; (2) give away some of that money to legitimate charities; and (3) invest in stocks.
* The index actually already rebounded a bit, clawing its way up from the lower 4,000 level a few weeks ago to its current level of 5,450.45
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