Panic Vs. Planning

Danielle Wright

Ok, so by now you have undoubtedly read or listened to a million articles, podcasts and news reports discussing the ever growing problem that is the Coronavirus. And let me tell you, there is absolutely no shortage of misinformation out there. Thus resulting in a panicked public reducing grocery stores to vacant shelves everywhere we turn. I mean, a sister can’t even find a roll of paper towels to save her life! And that does not bode well for my mental health.

Now, while we most undoubtedly should take the safety of our loved ones, as well as ourselves, very seriously and do all that we can to reduce the chances of transmission, we should be sure to get the right information from reliable sources. Then apply this information the best way we can according to our personal situation and finances. You see, most people in America right now aren’t necessarily most concerned with getting sick. Most are worried about going broke. After all, many large employers are shortening operating hours or closing offices indefinitely until this thing gets under control. But the truth of the matter is that as long as we keep our mind on the ominous, we will surely miss out on an opportunity.

Speaking of opportunity, I used to always wonder how so many people in the financial services industry struck gold when the stock market would fall. I thought the only way a person could get rich on wall street was to invest in stocks that rose in value. I understand now that many investors take a bearish position when trading securities. This means they believe certain stocks and bonds are overpriced or will soon lose value when the market recognizes it. Thus, they engage in short sells or other investment activities that allow them to hedge their losses or even make substantial gains when the prices of securities fall.

While I promise not to delve into a complicated commentary on short selling and bearish attitude investing in this article, I would like to suggest ways you can hedge your losses and possibly make some substantial gains (both monetary and not) during the outbreak.

But first, you’ve got to stop consuming negative news. Whether via social media or your favorite news channel, most of it is hype. Stay informed using one or two non-partisan sources and then steer clear for a few hours, if not a full day. If you are panicked, you can’t think clearly. If you can’t think clearly, you won’t take notice of the opportunities. So, take a deep breath, light a candle and grab a notebook. Now, let’s begin.

1. Make a list of all the things you have at your disposal that can create additional streams of income for you. Do you have a car that you aren’t using as often now that school is out, or you are now working from home (or layed off all together)? Turo may be an option for you. It is like AirBnB for cars. Maybe you have a skill you can teach others. Start providing online classes. Are you an educator? VIP Kids and companies like them are constantly hiring virtual teachers for students in foreign countries. Brainstorm and do your research. Find at least one you can implement right away.

2. Cut out careless spending and start saving. This is something we should be doing anyway, but sometimes a national crisis is the motivation we need to move us into action. We don’t know how long the impact of the Coronavirus will be, so we must consider creating a cushion against the potential loss of income should the situation persist. And if all bodes well, we will have inadvertantly created an emergency fund to boot. Now that is a win!

3. Finally, if you find yourself with more time on your hands now that you have been forced to work from home, focus on those goals you “never have time” to accomplish. Begin that squat workout you’ve been meaning to do. Paint that room you said you would as soon as you could find the time to do it. Or, start on that book you said you were going to write. I am positive that you have one or two goals you seem to be completely passionate about accomplishing, but never get around to starting. Doing so will help you stay in a positive space and build upon the gains you will earn in steps one and two.

While none of these suggestions are novel or new, they have been previously unaccessible to you because of time restraints. But now, These host of opportunities are available to help you gain an upper hand on what seems to be an unfavorable situation. It’s not always gloom and doom! As a matter of fact, I can already see a silver lining beginning to form. It’s always been there, it’s just that now we have the opportunity to see it a little better.

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