The COVID-19 pandemic has left several individuals jobless and many others working at reduced salaries. Business owners have witnessed a significant reduction in revenue while many others have had to shut down their businesses altogether. In any case, the unprecedented outbreak has been an eye-opener on the need for streamlining our personal finances. With a greater focus on how income is being spent, saved, or invested, here are the top personal finance lessons that people must inculcate during these troubled times.
The pandemic bore witness to a lot of panic buying of essentials at the outset. This was, however, futile since essentials were available throughout the lockdown as well. So, it goes to show that reducing expenses and not giving in to panic buying should be a rule of thumb during uncertain times. Making a budget that allows you to spend the bare minimum while still maintaining your preferred standard of living is important. Stick to this budget and you will be able to save more for the rainy day.
Also read: COVID-19 crisis: 5 ways to trim your expenses and free up cash in your budget now
Stay liquid for emergencies
That said, in order to stay afloat during crisis periods, you must also have enough liquidity to meet your daily requirements. While investing, exercise caution and use instruments that can be easily liquidated, should an emergency arise. Cash and cash equivalents such as liquid mutual funds can be your best bets in such a case. Do not forget to build your emergency fund, which definitely comes in handy if required. However, on the other hand, it is also important not to break long-term investments, since crisis periods are short-lived, but these investments will help you build wealth in the long run.
Lending apps have become very popular since they offer small-ticket loans with short-term repayment tenures, which can help out greatly if you are in a fix. However, make sure you are cautious and do not pick a micro-lending app that uses fraudulent means. Use legal lending apps that are registered with the RBI and have a listed websites. Companies that are registered with the RBI are required to follow regulatory guidelines, not just to abide by the rules but also because it is the best way to run the business. These lenders usually follow a strict set of guidelines, a code of conduct, in working with borrowers and ensuring the best possible experience for everyone.
Also read: COVID-19 Second Wave: 4 money mistakes to avoid during the pandemic
Maintain a healthy debt to income ratio
A tiny virus has created a huge gap in millions of individuals’ earnings. This, alone, is enough reason to ensure a debt to income ratio that is based on your current income and not future earning potential. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that you cannot count on the future – it can change at any time. Therefore, currently, the focus should be on balancing the debt and income, giving yourself some breathing room. Remember, the lower the debt to income ratio, the better your personal finances will be. With these pointers in mind, individuals at any level of income can manage their personal finance and sail through crisis periods, should they come.