Your first instinct may be to stock up on essentials and barricade yourself in your home, but hand sanitizer and toilet paper won’t save you from the economic repercussions.
Here are some tips for protecting your money from the financial fallout of the coronavirus.
Boost your emergency savings
If your employer shuts down operations due to the coronavirus – even just temporarily – it could hurt your ability to cover your monthly expenses.
Do you have emergency savings? Many financial planners recommend stashing away enough money to cover at least six months of your regular bills, like your mortgage, car payment, utilities and groceries.
There’s no need to panic if you haven’t saved up enough to sustain your household for half a year, but you should start building up a solid emergency fund as soon as possible.
Even putting aside just $60 a month ($15 dollars a week) can help you create a financial cushion for lean times.
And be sure to keep your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account – so your savings will accumulate the best possible interest and grow over time.
Buy stocks on sale
Fear of the coronavirus has caused the stock market to take its biggest dive in over 10 years, since the financial crisis in 2008. And while now might seem like a scary time to invest, any seasoned trader will tell you that a down market is a great time to buy high-profile stocks at bargain-bin prices.
Personal finance guru Suze Orman recently went so far as to say investors should “rejoice” over the market’s drop. You don’t have to be an old hand at investing to take advantage of discounted stocks; in fact, you don’t need any investing experience at all.
With the help of a company called Betterment, investing has never been easier.
Betterment is simple, secure and stress-free. It offers a wide range of investment funds to choose from, so you can invest your money at a risk level you feel comfortable with.
The annual fee is just a fraction of what most others charge, and depending on how much you invest during the first 45 days you may qualify for up to a year of free wealth management. Whether you’re looking to take advantage of cheap stocks or shore up your emergency fund, Betterment can help.
Protect your income
As the coronavirus has demonstrated, everyone is susceptible to unexpected illnesses. And let’s face it: There’s always a possibility that a serious medical issue could leave you too sick to work and unable to pay your bills.
If you want to protect yourself from the financial strain of a long-term health problem, you should consider purchasing disability insurance from a company like Breeze.
Getting coverage through Breeze couldn’t be easier: You just tell them about yourself, choose your plan, and apply. It’s all done online, and you won’t have to deal with any pushy salespeople pressuring you to spend more. Individual plans start as low as $9 a month.
In just 15 minutes you’ll have financial protection in case you’re seriously laid up by the coronavirus or any other surprise illness or medical complication.
You can never guarantee you won’t get sick, but you can ensure you’ll have enough money to support yourself if you do.
Make the most of your time off
If the coronavirus leaves you sitting at home for days (or possibly weeks) with your primary source of income on hold, you’ll likely want to find a way to make some quick cash without venturing outside.
A great option for supplementing your income is Swagbucks, a free service that allows you to earn gift cards and cash for doing everyday stuff online.
You can rack up rewards points by taking short surveys, watching videos, playing video games on your phone, and shopping online at more than 1,500 retailers, including Amazon and Walmart.
If you’re going to be cooped up in the house, you might as well make the most of your time – by earning gift cards and cash while you wait for life to return to something close to normal.
Prepare to leave your family $1 million
The coronavirus has already claimed thousands of lives, and the number keeps swelling. We’d all rather not think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s a good idea to be prepared, just in case.
If something happens to you, you want to be sure you'd leave your family financially secure. The best way to do that is to buy life insurance.
Quotacy is a free online service that makes getting life insurance as simple as booking a plane ticket. In just a few minutes, Quotacy will find you three rates tailored to fit your needs and your family’s.
Depending on where you live and how old you are, rates can be as low as $7 a week for a policy that gives your loved ones $1 million in financial protection.
The spread of the coronavirus is a strong reminder that you can’t predict the future, but taking steps now to protect your family will give you valuable peace of mind – and for less than 10 dollars a week.