Covid-19, Emergency Preparedness, job loss, Retirement

Playing the ‘what if’ game if we lost our income.

apple business computer connection
Photo by Vojtech Okenka on Pexels.com

It’s no secret that it’s a huge mess out there.  This health crisis has caused so much loss, both in life and security.  My heart breaks for all those who have lost loved ones.  We lost a very good friend, not from Coronavirus, but from not going to the hospital when an emergency surgery was needed because they feared contracting the virus. A ton of missteps by both health workers and the family members.  But that’s not what this post is about.

I want to talk about the economic mess.  Many people have been furloughed without pay, or let go completely from their jobs.  Many small businesses have closed.  Unemployment is at an all-time high. Stimulus checks won’t be enough, and the government can’t keep printing money.  It will render cash worthless.  A recession may soon follow if we all can’t get back to work.  But we can’t go back too soon, or we will be right back to the health crisis.  It’s definitely a conundrum.

My husband, fortunately, has kept his job so far, but we are aware that he could lose it.  No job is safe, in my opinion.

So, we decided to play the ‘what if’ game.  What if my husband lost his job tomorrow?  What steps would we take?

This morning we sat down at the kitchen table and started listing in order what we would do if he were to be let go tomorrow.

Immediately:

  1. Apply for unemployment.  It won’t cover anywhere near his normal paycheck, but it will be something.  Virginia is in the top 10 for top balanced fiscal budgets and Virginians aren’t having a problem receiving it.
  2. Hoard money.  Stop paying for gifts, subscriptions, clothing, personal spending, travel (obviously). Eat from pantry, freezer and fridge.  No need to worry about credit cards, car loans — I’m debt-free.
  3. Look for another job.  This may be difficult for several reasons.  Timing and age.  It’s not the best time to find a job, and our age would make it nearly impossible, however, our area has many more jobs than most, and I’m pretty confident that we both could get some type of work in our field.  (We aren’t that old, but old enough. 😉

In a couple of months:

  1. Sell home (if not able to find employment).  This area is very expensive, and real estate is ridiculously expensive.   We have a very strong housing market, even during Covid-19.  We would sell our present home and buy a much smaller one in a less expensive area outright. (No mortgage for us!)  We already researched this, and there are three areas we would consider: Southern VA, North Carolina and Florida.  We could possibly walk away with $230,000 in surplus.
  2. Sell one of our cars.  If we decided to retire from paid employment, we would definitely not need to support two SUVs.  This would save us almost $3,000 a year in expenses.
  3. Cash in my pension account. We would only do this once I turn 59 1/2, (which is one year from now) and only if it were necessary.

Down the road…..

  1. Take Social Security at 62. If my husband lost his job today (at 56), we would have to live off the proceeds of our cash savings and real estate surplus until we could tap into retirement plans at 59 1/2.  That is 2.5 years.  Our investments would grow to a nice sum, but we would only pull 3% out to make it last more than 30 years.  This would create a small shortfall, so we would start social security at 62.   We will have more than enough for one nice trip a year as well.
  2. Find part-time jobs.  If we did move into a smaller home in a new area, we both would look for fun part-time jobs to supplement our time and income. (I have my eye on working at a golf-club – when they reopen, of course.)

Our current plan (before a lay-off):

  1. SAVE MORE MONEY IN CASH.  We are fortunate to have some savings, equity in our home, and a good retirement portfolio.  However, we do realize that we are a bit short on available cash and only have enough to see us through for 6 months.  I would like to see that grow to at least 9 months to feel secure in a layoff situation.

Of course if my husband keeps his job, which I hope he will, we’ll have a different financial plan.  It’s just nice to know what to do ahead of a crisis, instead of being blind-sighted by it.

Hope you are all doing well and staying safe.

 

Emergency Preparedness

Fearful of a pandemic? 15 Ways to Prepare.

brown and white bear plush toy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A possible pandemic for the United States?  Don’t fear it, prepare for it.

15 Simple Tips to Help you Stay Safe and Prepare for a Possible Pandemic

  1. Keep a stash of cash in your home in case you can’t get to a bank, or ATMs are down.
  2. Create an area in your home to store extra food and supplies.
  3. Make a list of your favorite foods and non perishables and stock up.  Choose long lasting storage items such as canned fruits, veggies and meats (i.e. tuna, chicken). Have enough on hand to be able to eat for at least two weeks.  A month would be better.
  4. Don’t forget comfort items such as your favorite chocolates.  You must never run out of chocolate kisses. 😉
  5. Keep a month’s worth of bottled water in storage.
  6. Keep a 90 day supply of prescription medications.  Include over the counter medications and a first aid kit as well.
  7. Keep extra candles, flashlights and batteries on hand.
  8. Stock up on soap and hand lotion.  (You should be washing your hands more often than ever before).
  9. Stock up on Clorox, disinfecting wipes and household cleaners.
  10. Purchase N95 face masks if available.  3M is working overtime to make these, but they are currently unavailable on Amazon.
  11. Don’t forget your beloved pets!  Stock up on food and meds for them as well.
  12. Stay away from large crowds.  Go for nature walks instead.
  13. At work, keep a pack of lysol wipes at your desk.  Wash your hands before and after eating.
  14. Don’t sell stock, buy it!  If stock market is crashing, it means stocks are on sale. 😉
  15. For now, avoid overseas travel if you can.  If you must travel by plane, don’t forget to wipe down seats, trays and anything else you come in contact with.  Wash your hands as soon as you get off.

Extra tip:

  1. Above all, don’t panic.  Once you have the above in place, relax.  Wash your hands, exercise, and eat well.  The majority of the coronavirus cases had successful outcomes.  Just as most survive the flu, most are surviving this virus.  Thanks to our wonderful medical researchers and medical professionals, I believe there will be a vaccine soon to alleviate the fear soon.

Check here for more information.

Please comment if you have more ideas! 🙂