Suddenly a big “What if?” has become a big “What now?” Not only has the longest economic expansions in recent American history come to an abrupt end as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, economies around the world have slowed significantly as people stay home and businesses close to weather a global health crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen in at least a century.
The unprecedented scope, suddenness and seriousness of the coronavirus crisis leaves us to navigate uncharted territory in virtually every aspect of our lives. For obvious reasons, some of the most pressing questions people have relate to their financial lives. What does all this mean for me financially? is a common one; What should — and shouldn’t — I be doing now to protect and position my assets going forward? is another.
The first step is to resist the urge to let emotions dictate how you manage your money and assets in the face of an economic downturn. “The bottom line, for any risks in life you need to address, you should have a plan – don’t react. Once a…recession is upon us, many will react on fear which typically ends in a less than optimal solution,” FPA member and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional Scott A. Bishop writes in a blog post on his firm’s web site.
One silver lining to the disruption created by quarantine, sheltering in place and social distancing is that it creates plenty of downtime to think through the steps you need to take to put yourself, your household finances and your assets in the best possible position in light of the economic realities we’re already facing and are likely to face in the near future, then to actually take action. Here are some suggested action steps from CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional members of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®):