I’m a glass half-full person – for every loss, there’s a win to be found – and the impact that COVID-19 is having on our economy is no different. Millions of Australians are suffering the shock of suddenly not being able to work, or work as you usually do. If this is you, I feel for you – and I urge you to see this as a moment in time, not forever and look at how this could actually work for you, long-term, financially.
#1 Work in another field
Not every industry is shedding staff. Hospitals are pleading for more trained staff and the increase in patient load creates need for more administrative hands too.
Likewise Centrelink, under siege since Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced financial supports for coronavirus-affected job seekers and students, has had to look to hire.
Supermarkets are now an ‘essential service’. Coles alone was seeking 5000+ casual team members to serve customers and replenish shelves fast. Telecommunications and technology services are also said to be in demand.
#2 Pick up some home gigs
Community platforms like Airtasker are so much more than a place to find someone who can move the fridge or walk the dog. There’s
#3 Invest in yourself
Perhaps you want to learn something for yourself. Now could be the best time to do online study to enhance yourself, personally or professionally. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of setting up your own business one day. What skills do you need to learn to make that happen? Along with financial support for coronavirus-affected job seeks and students, the federal government has made early access to superannuation funds possible. You may be able to withdraw $10,000 of your superannuation in 2019-2020 and a further $10,000 next financial year.
That same strategy could deal with debt and the reduction from your normal salary mean you may be entitled to certain superannuation strategies that were irrelevant previously.
#4 Work from home litmus test
My friend Karen envies another friend Sue because she’s been able to work from home – telecommute, twice a week – for years. Now Karen has found herself forced to work from home and she’s struggling with the lack of routine and office supports, and social contact! But, as I’ve said to Karen, she can make the most of this opportunity by proving her work ethic, productivity and diligence to her boss when this pandemic is over. Bosses will have a hard time saying ‘no’ if you’ve proven yourself as a self-starter who can get tasks done effectively and efficiently without supervision and you’ll save yourself time and money commuting. Just think what you could do with a couple of extra hours in your day for yourself! Working from home also brings tax deductions you may otherwise not be able to claim.
#5 Reframe your investment thinking
When I see shoes marked down by 30%, I just have to buy a pair (or two). Yet we don’t look at a share market the same way. The coronavirus has seen share prices tumble. Some people have sold off because they’ve needed to financially, while others, I suggest, have been ‘nervous Nellies’, reacting to emotion. Those motivated by greed and fear are not investors. An investor, by definition, stays with their investment to reap the profits and profits come in the form of dividends and income. To receive dividends, you must invest long enough to reap those rewards. Buying in and selling out is not investing: it’s speculating. Talk with your financial adviser about whether now is the time to refocus on your investment portfolio.
In reframing the way we think about our work and our skills, and using the stimulus to support us, we can create opportunities to make money through the coronavirus crisis, and it won’t have anything to do with hoarding toilet rolls or spray tans.
The Carousel would like to thank Helen Baker for her article.
Helen Baker is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of two books: One Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence and On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide. Proceeds from the books’ sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who holds a master’s degree in the field. Find out more at www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.