My inbox’s tone has been very gentle lately. The newsletters tell me, it’s a big scary world and I shouldn’t feel bad staying in the fetal position. Drinking more wine, spending time alone, and vegging out are encouraged, perhaps even celebrated.
Most of my newsletters are directed at women. This is not a coincidence. We teach women to retreat, we teach men to take charge. But that means we are teaching women to be weak, and we are missing out on all this resilience from half of our population. In difficult times, we need to encourage women to be resilient.
I was chatting with someone about who’d you most like to be quarantined with and we were debating the perks of being quarantined with a billionaire. He figured that any billionaire would have a fantastic personal chef, but I wasn’t so sure. Billionaires tend to have weird eating habits. Extra money means more options – it might mean you can try things you hadn’t had before. But money doesn’t change what you like.
Setting a budget may is tough already but following a budget requires a never-ending slew of decisions and judgments. Budgets are cruel dictators, mean CEOs. They don’t care about us, the little guys, the minions that are carrying out their wishes. But even though we may all complain about how arbitrary and unhelpful our bosses are (I know I do), we may not all question our budgets. Even the best laid plans need to be evaluated and revised as conditions change. Budgets are no different and this is the perfect time to determine whether your budget is ailing from one of the following three mistakes that mess up budgets for lawyers.
There is no shortage of bad things to discuss right now. It’s easy to lambast governments for their actions or inactions or to be indignant at people for not socially distancing properly or for panic buying or other acts of selfishness. We were already in an outrage cycle before the world fell apart.
If I move away from the internet, I see so much good and so much to be grateful for. I could find good stories even during the coronavirus lockdown. If this pandemic were happening pre-Zoom and Google Hangouts, pre-Internet, pre-Tiger King, it would be way worse. I’m grateful that this is all happening as the weather is getting warmer so people have the option to go outside and might even get more sunshine than normal. I’m excited for my friends who are new parents, who get to spend more time with their newborns while on lockdown. Really, it could have been much worse.
It’s not helpful to scold anyone for not saving for the present moment. And it’s a lot of people. 50% of Americans don’t have the emergency savings to live through the Covid-19 pandemic. Maybe you’ve just started your job or just started to get your financial life under control. Or maybe your financial situation was never in control. Whatever your situation, if you find yourself in an emergency situation without an emergency fund, here’s how to handle it.
There are so many financial tasks that we “know” we should do, but who has the time to even remember them, let alone do them. But now that we are all in social distancing, do we have a lot of excuses?
I’ve compiled a list of 50 quick and simple financial tasks you can complete in quarantine to get you jumpstarted on your money goals. These aren’t all clearly “financial” but every part of your life impacts your finances – your health, your relationships, etc. I wouldn’t do them all in a day, but any one of them is feasible in a day. These are all beginner tasks but stay tuned for another post with more advanced tips.
It’s always been easy for me to save money. I would love to congratulate my self-control, but I never realized there was any other way. I saw how my parents and their friends managed money, and I just followed suit.
My environment fully formed my spending habits. It made me consider that we are wrong to congratulate themselves and shame others too much. There are many reasons why it’s hard to save money that have nothing to do with self-control. Let me explain some of the reasons why it might be hard for you to save money.
I saw a FIRE blogger mocking the idea of following one’s passion. Instead, the standard FIRE plan is to find a lucrative job, save money, and then retire early to THEN focus on one’s passion. And granted, I’m a lawyer, and I’m on a mini-retirement so it would seem like I would agree with that path.
But I don’t. Here are several reasons why I think you should pursue your passion.
When people talk about personal finance, they usually want to know how to save money. It’s a little odd that people would be more interested in saving money, i.e. how NOT to use money, then how to use it.
Money is a tool. It’s more important to know when to use tour tool than when NOT to use it. So let’s take some of the stigma out of spending and talk about how to spend money to create a better life.
When I first visited China as an adult, I was really surprised to see Chinese people (over there they just call them “people”) drinking and smoking, wasting time, and being below-average violin players. =P Chinese Americans are not like that. It was then I realized, Chinese and Chinese Americans are fundamentally different people. After all, it’s the group of people who stayed versus the group who left.
I guess this is the fundamental problem with stereotyping over a billion people. In retrospect it seems silly to characterize so many people in a certain way, without really understanding what causes them to be that way. That’s where we start mistaking cause and effect. For instance, let’s start with killing this stereotype: Asian Americans are not cheap. You may see Asian people refusing to spend money on certain things and having high savings rates, but I’d argue it’s not because they’re cheap but because they’re different.