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Pandemic put you out of work? Work on something else.

There’s no doubt the pandemic crisis has altered how we go about our daily routines. After my last haircut this past February for example, I told my young hair stylist that I’d see her in early March when I returned from a conference in Los Angeles. 

We were both disappointed. My conference was cancelled at the eleventh hour, and my hair was free to grow. With no disrespect to my wife’s hair cutting ability, I’m hoping to visit my hair stylist sometime in early July.

Of course, almost everybody was caught off guard by the pandemic. And to some degree, it’s changed almost everyone’s life. Fortunately my firm adopted a business continuity procedure several years ago. Just in case there was ever an unforeseen event that prevented us from conducting business at our offices. What we had in mind was something weather related or maybe even some sort of terrorism. 

The idea of a pandemic never crossed our minds, but we were prepared and, luckily, able to take care of our clients. The situation is still not the way we want it to be, but given the circumstances, we continue to operate efficiently, helping our clients formulate and execute their financial plans. 

Proper financial planning is more than just establishing your goals and objectives. Saving for a child’s education is a given. Building a nest egg to get you through your retirement is a given. But planning also means preparing for the unknown and unexpected. 

Unanticipated events are why, at minimum, you should carry adequate life insurance and establish an emergency cash reserve before making any purchases that might be considered unnecessary or even frivolous. I was dismayed to discover how many households were just one paycheck away from financial disaster. And I fear that far too many of them are in trouble because they simply lack financial discipline or have no financial strategy.

If you’re currently out of work, do you know for certain when you’ll be returning to your job? I know some who rationalize that they’ll get serious about the future when summer is over. That’s not a good idea. Right now is the time to be laying the groundwork for your future. 

I’m amazed at how many help wanted signs I’m seeing in the front of businesses. Fall will be here soon, so don’t be idle. Get going. Start looking into temporary positions or educational opportunities. For example, I have a relative who is out of work and taking electrical classes. When he returns to work, his newly gained knowledge will help him climb the economic ladder. If he isn’t called back, he’s improving his marketability to find a job elsewhere. 

In other words, I can’t think of a better time to improve your skill set. The pandemic is changing how we live. If you have downtime or are still waiting to return to work, start expanding your skills. Don’t go bingeing on shows, binge on improving yourself.

We’re halfway though the Year of the Pandemic and all the social unrest it’s bringing. There’s a lot going on that’s beyond your control. But there are things you can control. So don’t wait for things to happen. Make them happen. There are plenty of opportunities out there for those who are motivated. Find one!