Call it what you will, recession or depression—neither is good, and most everyone who isn’t in the 1 percent is going to feel it one way or another. Tens of millions of folks are already unemployed and struggling to pay the rent or feed their families. Financial insecurity is also affecting landlords, some of whom retired on the income from their one rental house, who are now not getting paid either.
Most people are feeling the various effects of the pandemic—isolation, overwhelm, lives and careers on hold, not to mention the fear of becoming ill—all of this along with a looming financial crisis. How are we supposed to deal with it?
If things are okay for you right now, count your blessings and save your money, because it could change at any second, and that is a stressful thought to live with, day in and out. The stock market is not an accurate depiction of the real financial strain the pandemic has put on us, and I am seeing more of it every day.
Fortunately, therapy (via the internet) has never been more widely available, and you can find help for free or very inexpensively if you look, and most insurance covers it these days. Financial therapy may not be so easy to come by, but it is out there.
If you’re in a bind, now is the time to reach out and start asking some questions about what you can do to change your situation. You cannot just hang out and wait for things to get better, because it could be a very long wait.
There is an organization that offers free assistance. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) has many people available to counsel you about things like emergency loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), unemployment insurance benefits available to independent contractors from the state Employment Development Department (EDD), and how to keep your financial life going. Many cities are offering grants for people in trouble, and you might not know about them if you aren’t talking with the people who do, so reach out. You can also call the SBA and EDD directly — they are nice people who will work to help you.
I am writing about this now because some of these things may take a little time to come about, as will any federal government assistance, so you need to look into how you can stay afloat until you no longer need the help. That day will come, but too many people are food- and-housing-insecure right now, and others are only moments away.
Coping with the fears of financial insecurity is not easy, but it is doable and you are smart enough and creative enough to figure out what you can and need to do to keep your ship afloat.
If you are comfortable and have an income, count your blessings and do what you can to help those who are in trouble right now. It will make the world a better place, and you will also feel good about yourself. The holidays are coming, and we need as much of that spirit as we can get right now.