It’s widely know that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought big changes to many people’s lives. Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. have come down with the disease. Stay-at-home orders in states across the country have forced people to shift from office environments to work-from-home arrangements. Millions of others have lost their jobs entirely, creating financial uncertainty for countless families.
Situations like these would stress anyone out. Even happy milestones — a pregnancy, an outstanding personal achievement, the purchase of your first home — can come with a degree of anxiety as you adjust to your new normal.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Surrounding yourself by a team of reliable people, including your friends, relatives and third-party professionals, can help you share the load and better manage the curve balls life throws your way.
Beyond your family and trusted confidants, start building your support network by adding these five professionals to your emergency call list.
5 experts who can help you cope with big decisions
These professionals can provide trustworthy guidance on specific issues that can come up throughout the pandemic — and your life.
Certified financial planner: Feeling secure about your current financial situation as well as your future financial security is critical to your overall well-being, according to a 2018 study from the Journal of Consumer Research. If the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has you worried about your finances, you might want to get in touch with a certified financial planner (CFP) who can help you tighten your budget, manage your investments and walk you through the process of applying for any government assistance or loans you may need.
Besides dealing with the pandemic, they can also help you develop a financial plan to achieve your goals, like getting out of debt or saving for retirement, and teach you about complicated financial tools, like certificates of deposit (which only 50% of Americans understand), annuities and real estate investment trusts (REITs). They may also be able to point you toward an accountant — another professional to consider adding to your list.
Talk with friends and family to see if they work with any planners they’re willing to vouch for. The Financial Planning Association also has an online search function to help you find a planner in your area.
An important note: Make sure to opt for “fee-only” planners, not “fee-based.” Fee-only means the planner only gets paid by the client and doesn’t earn commissions from companies after selling you a product you may not need. They are also fiduciaries, which means they are required to put your interest first.
Therapist: The uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak can cause fear, anxiety and a variety of other emotional reactions to stress. Science shows that having a safe place where you can verbalize feelings like sadness and anger can make strong emotions feel less intense. Whether you’re stressed out from work, grieving the loss of a loved one, dealing with a conflict with your partner or facing any number of other challenging situations, you can find support from a mental health provider. A mental health professional, like a psychologist or a licensed professional counselor, can teach you healthy coping skills for difficult situations and techniques for taking control of your life.
Primary care physician: A primary care physician is the person you can turn to for guidance if you think you have COVID-19 or any non-emergency health issues. They’re typically involved in your care for the long term and can help you make healthy lifestyle choices. Having trouble quitting smoking? Looking for tips on how to lose weight? Need a referral to a specialist? You don’t have to wait until your annual physical to get your questions answered — you can call your primary care physician to address your health concerns whenever they arise.
Veterinarian: Animal shelters across the country have reported surges in pet adoptions during the pandemic. Bringing a new animal into your household can be a major change, and it’s important not to wait until an animal emergency pops up to find a veterinarian for your furry friend. Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian early on is key to keeping your pet in good health through its life. He or she can provide preventative care, administer vaccines, keep detailed health records and help you look out for potential warning signs of illness in your animal companion. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind that they’re just a phone call away in an urgent situation.
Insurance agent: An insurance policy adds a layer of protection to everything from our homes and cars to our health and lives. An insurance agent or broker can help you find the right policy for your needs at a competitive price. The services of some insurance agents go beyond simply selling policies — they can also help you implement risk management strategies, find alternative ways to cover potential losses and manage any claims you file with your insurance company. They may also be able to offer information on potential refunds to policies, such as car insurance rebates, that are currently available due to the pandemic. You may want to give your insurance agent a call whenever you experience major life changes, like refinancing a home, having a baby or changing jobs.