2020 has been a rough year so far. The spread of COVID-19 seems unstoppable, causing at least 134,000 cases worldwide, among which the U.S. occupies nearly 2,000. What's worse, The U.S. stock market melted down due to the Dow Jones industrial average plunging 7.8%. Under such circumstances, freaking out doesn’t help, but these 10 things do.
1. Distract Yourself From Alarming News
From now on, stop checking news about the market meltdown, because it is very difficult to predict the market’s levels years into the future. What’s done is done. Start exercising. American Heart Association said that people who exercise moderately spend $2,500 less on annual health care related to heart disease than those who do not exercise. Or you can also find a part-time job like babysitting or dog walking. Just don’t go for "retail therapy", which only will worsen your financial condition.
2. Remember To Evaluate Your Budget
Making a budget is very important to keep your finances healthy, but sadly about two-thirds of American adults don’t even have one, according to Gallup. You can start making a budget by organizing your monthly subscriptions. You might be surprised at how much money you can save by cutting out movie channels you don’t watch or changing to a less expensive operator. Also, making a budget is proven to be an effective stress reliever.
3. Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
Washing your hands using a hand sanitizer is said to be very effective in preventing the COVID-19 epidemic, but it’s very hard to buy one now. Luckily, you can make your own sanitizer at home! Anne Marie Helmenstine, who holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences, posted a tutorial online:
2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
8-10 drops essential oil, optional (such as lavender, vanilla, peppermint, grapefruit)
Bowl and spoon
Recycled liquid soap or hand sanitizer bottle
4. Check In With Elderly Family Or Community Members
For the elderly, they seem to be prone to contracting the coronavirus. Some even haven’t heard about it. So it is very important to get in touch with the seniors, check if they have stocked up on all the medications and other supplies they need. Talking with seniors can also help combat social isolation and loneliness that a lot of elderly people are facing.
5. Be Choosy About Where You Get Your News
There is much fake news on social media like Facebook and Twitter today, though such companies have brought in third-party fact-checkers to deal with the problem. Seek out information on COVID-19 and the stock market from CDC, WHO, or other trusted sources. You’ll find yourself reassured in doing so.
6. Pay Off Your Debt
Many credit-card accounts have compound interest rates of 20% or more. Student loan has lower interest rates, but generally speaking, paying debts can guarantee a higher return than the market in many circumstances.
7. Amp Up For Retirement Investment
If you have a 401(k) account at work and there is still room in your budget, it is high time to amp up your contributions. If you don’t, signing up for a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA is also an applicable option. You can save money and get tax benefits for doing so. What’s more, keep in mind that never overinvest in stocks. It is a risky market.
8. Open A Higher Interest Savings Account
Compared with traditional banks, some online banks offer higher interest rates on savings accounts. Alice Holbrook from Market Watch recommended CIT Bank and Citizens Access, an offshoot of Citizens Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Synchrony and Barclays. Registering for these banks will only take you a few minutes.
9. Take A Financial Capability Quiz
To know your financial conditions, you may need to spend 15 minutes taking a financial capability quiz. Such a quiz will include questions like "could you come up with $2,000 if an emergency need arose within the next month?" and "are you sensibly diversified?”. Such questions will help you control your financial health and make a stricter budget.
10. Explore The Art Of Meditation
Meditation won’t increase your savings or prevent you from coronavirus, but it is an effective way to relieve your stress and help you make more rational decisions. There are many apps that offer a meditation tutorial. Get started!