Personal Finance FAQs in the age of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

I thought I’d compile an FAQ because I’m getting the same sorts of questions in my inbox (not in person, since I’m only seeing clients by Google Meeting!). Here they are with my answers:

  1. Should I refinance my mortgage – Yes, get some quotes IF:
    • you plan to live in the house for a while to defray the service fees AND
    • resetting the mortgage clock does not ruin your plans to be paid off by retirement OR
    • you can refinance for a shorter period. Don’t be afraid to ask for quotes for 20 or 25 year mortgages. They will roll their eyes, but yes, they do offer them.
  2. OMG!! The markets!!! What should I do? – NOTHING.
    • You are a long-term investor and you have to chill out and know that the stock market will return to normalcy at some point in the future before you need ALL of your savings.
    • However, I think it’s highly likely we will have a recession because of lack of demand (all those poeple staying home and saving) and some companies and jobs won’t make it through. The best way to prepare for this is… say it with me… HOARD CASH not toilet paper.
  3. Surviving work stoppages and possible losses of income. We’re all being hit and we don’t know how long. Make sure you have enough liquid cash for co-pays and deductibles, if possible. This is what your Emergency Savings is for and I know you have it because you read my newsletter. If you’re new and maybe don’t have a full 3-6 months of expenses saved AND liquid, try this:
    • Trim everything you can trim to reduce expenses. If the kids are home, can you freeze daycare? Freeze the gym, you’re not going anyway, etc.
    • If you’re getting a tax refund, FILE YOUR TAXES NOW
    • Take a look around your house and see if you have things you can sell like books and knick-knacks you probably don’t need anyway. Remember, you are socially distancing so having people come look at furniture is going to be tough, but you can sell stuff that can be shipped.

It’s hard all over. It’s scary and isolating, literally. I get it. The last thing you want to worry about is finances. Don’t panic, think long-term and if you are lucky enough to have paid time off or work from home – HOARD CASH.

I’m ALWAYS here for specific email questions.