Lost job or your income fell during the pandemic? Here’s how you can overcome now – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/how-to/lost-job-or-your-income-fell-during-the-pandemic-heres-how-you-can-overcome-now/articleshow/85919723.cmsSynopsis

No two situations are exactly alike, but when you have been on edge – emotionally and financially – for this long, it is especially important to conduct three types of check-ins.

Maybe you lost your job. Maybe your hours were cut. Or maybe you had to take over caregiving responsibilities. If your income fell precipitously in the past 18 months – even if things have gotten better – it is an uncertain time.

No two situations are exactly alike, but when you have been on edge – emotionally and financially – for this long, it is especially important to conduct three types of check-ins.

Also Read: How to Improve your general well-being

First, find another human to talk to who has seen more (and hopefully knows more) than you. Then, do a quick nuts-and-bolts audit of your financial standing. Finally, check in on your feelings – which can influence how you plot a recovery from a pandemic that has permanently expanded our understanding of what qualifies as a volatile industry.

Take Help from Good financial planners
Good financial planners are a reliable source of guidance, but you may not be able to afford one right now – or find one who will take you on pro bono.

So consider that nearly every workplace or industry collective has a go-to guru or two for all matters of personal finance advice. Seek them out.

Talk to Freelancers to get over income Shocks
If that does not work, where else might you look in your acquaintance list? Consider freelancers, especially people in creative industries. Sudden income shocks may be familiar to them because they often lack regular paychecks and usually know from dry spells.

The Stephens (and Stephanies) of the world are still out there, dispensing all manner of useful advice to people who lack professional financial planning.

Or maybe you believe in strength in numbers. If you are hurting or trying to heal, there is a good chance others in your profession or at your job site are, too. Consider forming a support group – a kind of book club but for money. It may come with an uncomfortable amount of transparency, but it can help you learn and stay accountable for your decisions.

Get Some Certainty About your Loans and Taxes

Perhaps you ran up credit card debt because you had to, or decided to spend more to make life easier and safer these past 18 months.

Your credit file serves as a transcript and resume for lenders sussing you out, while your tax return is a kind of self-evaluation on earning, retirement savings and your own record-keeping skills.

Credit agencies have enormous power over what you will pay when you borrow or whether you can even obtain a mortgage, credit card, auto loan or rental dwelling.

Also Read: How to avoid missing EMIs

These bureaus are notorious for the number of errors their credit reports contain. If you find any, dispute them. For starters, you will want to contact both the credit bureaus and the financial services company or banks that may have furnished the incorrect information.

As for that tax return, it never hurts to organize all the tax data you can. It is a record of your recent past and a window into your long-term future (say, via any notation about retirement savings). The process may also serve as a reminder that there is often at least one more thing you could do in the present to help yourself while handing less money over to various governmental bodies.

Also Read: How to save Tax

Prepare yourself now, and you can file as early as possible and quickly get any refund.

Don’t Just Contemplate Catastrophe
Now, for the searching questions about your feelings.

Even for those accustomed to financial uncertainty, the pandemic may have increased the kind of catastrophic thinking that can suffocate your ability to plan and prioritize.

Out in the film industry, among a class of workers that resemble theater people, even the most successful were often gripped by fear, said an actor, whose financial planning firm works often with people who move from gig to gig.

Also Read: How to achieve financial freedom

“The fear was that things would take much longer to recover,, she said. “People thought they were going to have to pursue other means of employment., What they really hoped to avoid was what she called “Plan Z,, the code for former jobs in different industries that they were hoping never to have to take again.

“Minimizing the catastrophizing means ensuring there are multiple layers to every safety net,, she said. “Because at some point or another, they are going to fall through the first one and then the second one.,

Make a Backup Plan

So rather than lose yourself in contemplating what unfathomable thing might be the next unfathomable thing, make an action plan for the next upheaval.It can be relatively simple: If income falls from B to A, tap C, D and E in that order and cut F, G and H. If that isn’t enough, swallow pride and ask people I and J for help.

Also read: How to become rich by following simple rules

“It’s like asking 5-year-olds, ‘If you get into trouble, what should the punishment be?’, she said. “If it happens, they’ve committed to it. These were your words, your feelings.,

When things are falling apart, she said, “no one likes being told what to do.,

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