It’s now September, which means we have been working from home during a global pandemic for 6 months. Through a volatile stock market, skyrocketing rates of unemployment, and multiple business closures all over the world, 2020 has caused us all to face some of the scariest financial challenges in our lifetimes.
But there are things you can do to stay ahead of the game. It’s never too late to set yourself up for financial success. Take it from me. My book, Money Rules, offers up tips that will help you get through 2020 — and beyond.
Money Rule #7: “More money” won’t always make you “more happy.”
Seriously. As long as you earn enough to pay your mortgage or rent, put gas in a car that isn’t a clunker, eat what you want when you want to, pay for medical and health expenses, and oh yes, save a decent chunk of whatever you’re bringing in, more money will not make you more happy. Especially during a global pandemic. When there isn’t much else to do, there isn’t much else to spend.
Money Rule #10: Live below your means. Period.
If you’re living on what you make, you’re spending every dime. If you live below your means consistently, you’re automatically saving consistently. This is especially key right now, when layoffs and salary reductions are common and you sometimes do not know when they’re coming. If you’re saving, you’ll have something put away to get you through.
Money Rule #47: Shop with a list.
2020 is not the time for impulse buys. Stick to only what you need in the grocery store and don’t let yourself get down an online shopping rabbit hole. If you follow this rule, you won’t overspend. Right now, every dollar is important. And every dollar you don’t spend, you can save.
Money Rule #58: Losing money hurts more than it should.
Your brain dreads losing money twice as much as it enjoys making it, which means it might be time to take a look at your invested money and ask: “Is this still working for me?” If it is, ride the wave — you’ll almost definitely come out on top. But if it’s not, (for example, you have too much money in risky places, or you’re holding onto stocks that just aren’t recovering) rebalancing your portfolio is the next best move.
Money Rule #63: If you can’t explain it, don’t buy it.
And I really mean that. If it’s not an absolute necessity, it’s not worth spending money on. Your money will do so much better for you in an emergency savings account during uncertain financial times.
Money Rule #77: No one really knows where the market is going.
People who say they do are advertising the fact that at one time or another they just got lucky.
Money Rule #78: The biggest threat to your financial security is your health.
If this year hasn’t proven that anything can happen, I don’t know what will. This is why you must buy health insurance, even if all you can afford is a high-deductible policy that covers only worst-case scenarios.
Money Rule #93: Do declare some financial independence.
You need some money of your own so that you can make small financial decisions without asking permission. Having some money — particularly investments — of your own also forces you into the position of having to manage it. Figure out what’s left after you’ve paid the monthly bills and saved 10 — or better yet 15 — percent.
With Rebecca Cohen