COVID-19, high unemployment and peaceful protests that evolved into riots have dominated our news cycles lately. And they all have something in common. Every single circumstance creates significant financial issues, concerns and ramifications.
So far in Michigan this insidious virus has been responsible for more than 5,000 deaths. Sadly, two of my clients were among those we have lost. The COVID-19 virus not only has impacted the finances of the 100,000 families that lost a loved one, but it also fueled the nation’s unemployment rate.
To help with the financial impact, Uncle Sam sent stimulus checks to millions of people. Similar assistance was provided to help keep businesses afloat, namely the Payroll Protection Program. Clearly, the virus moved both individuals and businesses from the comfort zone into a crisis mode.
During the shutdown, consumer behavior changed significantly. Because their income was uncertain and unpredictable, they spent less. And because they had no jobs, their cars remained parked. Two immediate consequences were a major increase in on-line shopping, and because they stayed at home and drove less, the oil industry tanked.
Not only did the virus adversely impact household budgets, it blew the lid off our national debt. I believe the financial impact of COVID-19 will be felt long after scientists produce a vaccine.
From coast to coast people have been angered by the death of George Floyd. Rightfully so, they have vigorously protested his tragic and unnecessary death. I believe it’s likely that, in addition to criminal charges against the officers, a wrongful death suit will be filed against the city.
We all know that no amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one, but we are a litigious society and it’s not uncommon when someone dies from neglect or inappropriate behavior that someone has to pay.
Finally, the protests that turned into chaos have many financial implications as well. Some have actually benefited by looting. And no, it is not justified. Theft is theft regardless of circumstances. These thieves have also stolen the livelihoods of local business owner whose dreams were needlessly shattered along with their plate glass windows. Some may never recover.
The point is that almost everything you do, from birth to death and every day in between has some sort of financial ramification.
At this point in time, our nation has serious issues well beyond saving for a child’s college education or a comfortable retirement. Collectively, we have many enormous challenges ahead.
Our elected officials will throw tax dollars at the problems, but in spite of their predictable efforts, money alone cannot resolve them.
As a financial advisor in these unprecedented times I encourage everyone to make certain his or her own financial house is in order. That includes having a loved one know how to access your nest egg should you suddenly be hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated.
If you’re fortunate enough to find that your finances are in good order, it puts you in a position to help others who are not so fortunate. If you have a loved one or friend who lost their job or had their hours reduced, I hope you will consider helping them out.
That generous gesture would be among the best possible financial outcomes of our current situation. For you and the benefactor.