Since 2020, many folks have had to reassess their finances due to various effects of the pandemic. Extended unemployment, business closures, social unrest, and economic volatility have impacted many Americans’ personal finances. New Jersey CPA firms and financial advisors have had to adapt their thinking to overcome the unique challenges of these times. Here are five post-pandemic financial tips that we are now suggesting to our clients.
1. Protect Your Assets
Establishing an estate plan or revisiting a current plan is an excellent first step to getting your affairs in order post-pandemic. Take the time to compare costs and terms for a good life insurance policy that will protect your loved ones. Revising any necessary beneficiary designations and adding new assets to your estate plan will ensure a smoother process. You should also ensure your will and other documents are up to date and reflect your current wishes for your assets.
2. Reassess Your Budget
Many Americans experienced a rapid shift in their budget priorities during the pandemic. People were spending less on going out and entertainment and more on convenience services like DoorDash and Instacart. Now that things are back to normal, you may have a topsy-turvy budget that doesn’t reflect your current financial situation. If your income or expenses changed significantly during and after the pandemic, it’s time to reassess your budget. This will help you see where you are spending too much and ways to cut back. Establishing a realistic budget will give you more money to put towards savings and paying down debt.
3. Recharge Your Emergency Fund
Before early 2020, we recommend having enough in your emergency fund to pay for at least six months of expenses. Post-COVID, most experts have bumped this number up to twelve or even eighteen months. Halter CPA advises our clients to determine a realistic emergency savings goal. Ensure that you can achieve this goal by including it in your monthly budget.
IMPORTANT: Even if you were not forced to use any of your emergency savings during the pandemic, you should bulk up on your savings so you are genuinely prepared for whatever the future holds.
4. Save, Save, Save for Retirement
In times of financial uncertainty, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and avoid thinking about the future. While it may seem impossible to start saving for retirement – the best time to start saving is NOW. Even if you only put a small amount into your retirement account every month, it will benefit you immensely in the future. The sooner you start saving for the future, the more money you will have to cushion your retirement in your golden years.
5. Tackle Your Debt
Long-term unemployment and disruptions in income led many Americans to accumulate significant debt. A debt repayment plan can help you take charge of your debt and regain control of your finances. Write all of your debts down and work with your Mullica Hill CPA to determine which debt repayment method will suit your circumstances best.
In 2022 and beyond, we’re entering a time of high interest and inflation. Make an appointment to sit down with us so that we can re-evaluate the best strategies to help you meet your financial goals.