The COVID-19 Pandemic has severely demobilized the global economy since this spring. Many businesses and individuals were severely affected. It is changing the way people think about life, work and family, as well as money. As a life and business coach, I have seen the change in my clients, with some saying it feels like ‘’all roads were blocked all of a sudden and they were stuck with insecurity and darkness.’’ Some clients got laid off, without income or savings and for this reason struggle to pay for daily expenses. Some clients are on the edge of losing their business with sales sharply decreasing and cash flow draining.
Seeing the struggle and stress of my clients made it even more clear to me: there’s no chance of a successful and happy life without financial security. If you are worrying about where next month’s rent will come from it is hard to have peace of mind or spend quality time with your loved ones. If you are living from pay-check to pay-check, you can not afford to follow your dream and do what you really want. Depending on where you are in your financial journey, you might know what I mean.
Luckily, for most of us living in Finland, the social security system has offered a safety net in times of distress. We won’t starve to death or become homeless. However, we have higher aspiration than merely surviving, don’t we?
Despite the uncertainty of how the pandemic will develop, and how it will affect you financially, there are steps that can be taken to build a solid foundation of financial security for you and your family. Below are 7 steps I suggest:
1. Take a deep breath, don’t panic. When you panic, you are not able to think clearly and make wise decisions. When you feel overwhelmed, just take a deep breath, and give yourself the compassion you need. Trust that all problems can be solved, as well as this one.
2. Start from where you are. Know where you are. Accept where you are. Many people don’t know exactly where they are standing financially: they either have no clue or just a vague idea. In order to build a solid foundation of financial security, it’s important to really have a good audit of your financial matters. Good questions to ask yourself are:
What are my incomes?
What are my fixed expenses?
What are my debts?
What are my assets?
If I don’t get any income next month, how long can I live with my current living standard?
3. Set clear financial goals. We all have different needs and wants when it comes to money, it’s useful to find out what your financial goals are. You can explore it by asking yourself:
What do I want in terms of money/material things?
Do I want to buy my own apartment?
What would make me secure and never worry about money again?
For example, one very common goal is to build emergency savings. Most professional financial advisors recommend saving 3 to 6 month’s worth of expenses in an emergency fund. It will provide a safe base in times of sudden change.
4. Make a budget. No business can succeed without a budget, but very few people have a budget. If we want to plan and strategize our personal finances, why not take this tool into use? It’s free of charge and it will make the biggest difference in the way you handle money. Besides, you can use some of the information you gathered in question No.1, so this job is already half done when you start it. You just need to put the numbers (income, expenses) together, in a way that makes sense to you and reflects your financial goals.
5. Cut non-essential spendings. For some people, their current expenses are equal to their income, or even higher than their income. So in the situation of reduced income, or in order to make any savings, this step is essential. This is the easiest way to make saving possible, no matter how much money you make.
6. Creating new incomes sources. This is where the potential hidden treasure is, and this will be the main focus in changing your financial situation. Some questions to ask yourself:
What are the resources I can use?
What are the talents I have?
What are my interests?
How can I turn these into income creating services or products?
7. Start investing. If you can do the first 6 steps, you should be able to save some money. And if you can save you should invest. With the current interest rate, inflation will deplete your savings over time. You should start to invest as soon as you have some money set aside. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow, as well as your experience as an investor. You can consult your bank for investment advice.
I have used the above 7 steps to create financial freedom for myself over the past 9 years in Finland. Even during the pandemic, I have total freedom to decide if I want to work, how much I work and play. The peace of mind and joy that comes from living life in your own terms is priceless. (You can read more about my personal story here.) I hope this article will give you some new ideas and some concrete steps to take, most importantly, to give you hope and urge you to take a closer look at this area of your life.
Trust me, it’s totally worth it.
If you want to work on this topic with me, you can book a free coaching session here.