Practical advice for finding financial certainty in uncertain times
By Shelia Tutwieler-Dawkins
The pandemic has certainly created an unprecedented level of change for everyone. As women, we have been challenged with a wide assortment of new and different roles while we continue to provide for our families. We have become secondary educators, social planners, and restaurateurs, just to name a few! Women in particular face a variety of social and economic inequities because of income loss due to companies downsizing, businesses closing, and industry shifts. Whether you are working for someone else or for yourself, now is the time to be honest, create a plan, and work that plan to navigate these difficult financial times.
Be Honest: This is an excellent time to look at your job situation and determine if your current profession is viable.
Some industries are hurting because of COVID-19, like hotels, restaurants, travel, and retail. So, you may need to find a new vocation or strengthen your current skills. LinkedIn Learning and Google offer some excellent career path courses from becoming a customer service specialist to a digital marketing guru. Additionally, Udemy offers some low-cost courses (most courses cost less than $20), ranging from beginner to expert in various industries. Upgrading your skills can increase your chances of expanding your options; an expanded skill set is a great tool for now and the future.
Create a Plan: Creating an effective plan begins with a clear purpose and goals. Your objectives should be specific and measurable, fit within your life plan, and have definitive dates.
Knowing what you want to achieve is essential. Can you routinely add new or additional things to do in your schedule? Are you creating mini-tasks to keep yourself motivated? Do you have contingencies (Plan A, B, or C) if you need to adjust your original plan? An example of this would be “I want to increase my monthly income by $500 in the next three months by adding new skills to my resume.” Therefore, over the next 60 days, I will take three free courses to build my administrative skills, and I will reach out to three employment agencies to find new employment. By completing each course, you will have mini-gains to keep you motivated, and each step moves you closer to your destination. If your goal is to start a new business, the steps may be slightly different, but the approach is the same.
Work the Plan to Survive Difficult Times: Over the next couple of months, look at your budget, tax implications and future endeavors.
Reducing your expenses is the first step to improving your finances. Eliminating non-essentials can increase cash flow. If you received unemployment benefits, your tax liability might increase because unemployment is taxable unearned income that can decrease your earned income credit. On the other hand, if you decided to enroll in college, you may receive educational tax credits. If you owed taxes last year, this is an excellent time to talk to a tax professional about future endeavors.
This year has been challenging, but the pendulum will move in an upward motion soon. Understanding where you are today and planning for tomorrow will give you purpose. It is possible to find financial certainty in uncertain times!