7 Things a Financial Expert Says to Do to Prepare for COVID-19

March 18, 2020
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We’ve been spending a lot of time at Create & Cultivate HQ discussing how we can best show up for and support our community during this uncertain time. Community is at our core, and connecting with others through one-of-a-kind experiences is what we love to do. While the world has changed, our mission has not. We’re committed to helping women create and cultivate the career of their dreams, which is why we’re proud to announce our new Ask an Expert series. Starting today, we will be hosting discussions with experts, mentors, and influencers daily at 9 am,12 pm, and 3 pm PST on Instagram Live to cure your craving for community and bring you the expert advice you’ve come to know and love from C&C. Follow Create & Cultivate on Instagram, check out our Ask an Expert highlight reel for the latest schedule, and hit the countdown to get a reminder so you don’t miss out!

Needless to say, the coronavirus outbreak has financially impacted businesses both large and small and employees and employers alike. With the OECD cutting global economic growth projections in half, the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) falling to its lowest level since 2009, and U.S. stocks having their worst day since the 1987 stock market crash, it’s safe to say money anxiety is at an all-time high.

To help assuage our financial fears, we tapped money expert and financial advisor Kristin O’Keeffe Merrick, a financial advisor at O’Keeffe Financial Partners,  for the first-ever installment of our Instagram Live series, Ask an Expert. She answered all our burning money questions in the wake of the coronavirus, including, how to cut unnecessary spending from your budget and how to fund your small business after you’ve maxed out all your credit cards.

Read on for seven things you can do right now to feel financially stable, and be sure to tune into our next Ask an Expert conversation with Jamie Lieberman, attorney and founder of Hashtag Legal, on force majeure and if you can get out of a contract due to unforeseeable circumstances, tomorrow at 9 am PST on Instagram Live. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it!

1. Take stock of your subscription services.

“If you haven’t used your Hulu subscription by day four of self-isolating, you probably don’t need it. If you’re in a cash crunch, consider canceling or putting subscriptions you’re not using right now on hold.”

2. File your taxes.

“If you’re worried about a cash crunch and you might be in line to get a refund, file your taxes early. If you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur, you might need some liquidity right now, so think about filing now to get that refund.”

3. Make an IRA contribution.

“If you have a high risk tolerance for investing, put your IRA money to work.” (Note: If you’re a first-time investor, you should seek out professional advice before taking action here.)

4. Pay off debt.

“If you’re still getting a regular paycheck, use this as an opportunity to pay off some debt and put some money into an emergency fund.”

5. Start a savings account.

“One of the silver linings is that we’re not going out and spending money on drinks/dinner/coffee. Consider moving the money that you’d normally be spending to live and enjoy your life to a savings account or an emergency fund.”

6. Create a budget.

“Think about your fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are things that won’t go away no matter what: your rent, car insurance, utilities, mortgage, etc. To look at your variable costs, pull up you bank and/or credit card statements for the last three months, and look at how you’re spending your money. Think about where your money goes and why you can’t save money; think about all the things you can lower and ways to allocate ways to save money.”

7. Read books that can help you get more financially savvy.

“If you’re looking to get more financially savvy, there’s no better time. One of the few money books I love is You Are a Badass at Making Money. Don’t overwhelm yourself with info, but use this time to get familiar with financial terms or investment terms.”

About the Expert: Kristin O’Keeffe Merrick is a money expert and financial advisor at her family-run firm, O’Keeffe Financial Partners, based in Fairfield, NJ. Kristin has over 19 years of investment experience, having spent the first part of her career as currency trader, and serving most recently as Vice President at Morgan Stanley. She has contributed to Forbes, CNBC,NY Magazine, Girlboss, Hey Mama, My Domaine, and Coveteur. She is a frequent guest on the Today Show, the NBC Nightly News and Yahoo Finance. Kristin was also recently named as 2020 Badass 50 by InStyle Magazine.

Tune in daily at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm PST, for new installments of Ask an Expert.

Follow Create & Cultivate on Instagram, check out our Ask an Expert highlight reel for the schedule, and hit the countdown to get a reminder so you don’t miss out. See you there!

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