I know the world is panicking right now, and you’re probably a little worried. How could you not be? But I’m glad you found this article, because I want to help you weather this storm.
You can have peace during this pandemic. I don’t know your specific situation, so let’s start with what you can do based on where you’re at on your money journey.
• If don’t have an emergency fund
If you’re struggling to keep your head above water right now, I feel for you. This kind of thing is why having an emergency fund is so important. It puts a buffer between you and the unexpected stuff.
Right now, I want you to stockpile all the cash you can. Now is the time to save, and once this whole crazy situation blows over, you can pick up where you left off on your money goals. If you need some tips on how to find extra cash, I have plenty of advice for you here.
• If you have an emergency fund, but you also have debt
If you’re without work right now, put everything but your minimum payments on pause. You need to focus on covering what I call the Four Walls: food, utilities, shelter and transportation. You can dip into your emergency fund to do that if you need to. That’s why it’s there.
The good news is, if you’re paying off your student loans, all interest on federal student loans is on pause. The U.S. government announced that for right now, your unpaid federal student loans will not collect interest.
Whatever you do, don’t grab a credit card and don’t take out a loan. Trust me, taking on new debt will only make things worse. A bad financial decision in this season can have a lasting impact on your money, and haunt you for years to come. Stay strong. You don’t need debt to get through this.
• If you have an emergency fund and you’re out of consumer debt
If you need to pull from your emergency fund to get by, that’s what it’s there for. Stop for a second, and let that bring you some peace of mind. You’re in a great position, because you’ve gotten out of debt and you’ve put in the hard work to prepare for a storm.
• If you have investments
You’re probably watching the ups and downs of the stock market like a hawk. I get it, but just remember this—ride it out. Don’t pull your investments. The only people who get hurt on a roller coaster are those who jump off in the middle of the ride. Call your investing pro, and let them talk you off the ledge. And whatever you do, don’t cash out your retirement accounts.
You’re going to be OK.
Rachel Cruze , with Ramsey Solutions, is a New York Times best-selling author, and host of The Rachel Cruze Show and The Rachel Cruze Show Podcast, Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at www.rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.