coping with uncertainty in business | planning for uncertainty | uncertainty in business environment

Show Notes for this Episode:

We are now heading into the second half of 2020, and my what a surprise the first half of the year has been. The COVID-19 virus continues to linger and is spiking in some states at this time. The economy has been improving, and the stock and bond markets are holding up pretty well.

However, how the economy holds up over the remainder of the year is a function of the virus. At this stage, it appears that will either develop herd immunity if the current rate of spread continues, and that means many more lives will likely be lost. Or, we will see more effective medical treatments come to light and ultimately have a vaccine.

In either scenario, there doesn’t appear to be a short-term solution. The next six months are likely going to be challenging. The goal of this podcast episode is to help you prepare for the possibilities in your own life. Even if we can’t predict or control our circumstances, we can certainly prepare.

In this episode of the podcast, I share 3 P’s that can help you prepare for possible outcomes that you may encounter: Protection, Planning, and Preservation.

Protection – Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. This is not about politics, it’s about health science and economics. Doing your part to protect others and yourself can help contain the spread of the virus. It’s just that simple. You also cannot control what other people do. It is best to let that go.

Planning – Consider all of the possibilities for what could take place in your own life over the next six months with your work, your family, and your finances. What will your plan be if you or someone in your family becomes ill with the virus? What will your plan be if you lose your job or take a pay cut? What financial steps can you take now to help curtail any hardships down the road?

Preservation – There are two areas of preservation I focus on here; preserving cash for the unexpected, and preserving your energy so that you can remain as healthy as possible and reduce stress.

Finally, I share my thoughts on minimizing news intake from your life as much as possible. There will be some positive headlines to come, but also many negative headlines. Why add to your mental stress with headlines that are usually designed to trigger fear and uncertainty? Save yourself the emotional energy.

Overall, the best thing you can do right now is prepare for the unexpected. Planning can mitigate negative outcomes in advance. Think through all of your options and make some notes!

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Other Related Posts:

Surviving Market Volatility

How to Protect Yourself from a Recession

7 Midlife Money Moves for the New Economy

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(00:05): Welcome to the midlife money gal podcast. I'm Stephanie Sammons and experienced certified financial planner guiding women professionals in midlife to and through their retirement years. Hello and welcome back. Well, here we are

(00:27): In the exact middle of the year 2020. The air date of this show is July 2nd, 2020. And my goodness, what a year it has been. It kind of feels like the last six months have just been one big blur, uh, with lots and lots of stress. So I thought today I would do more of a timely show where we talk about where we are with this virus, with the economy, and also give you some things to help you prepare for what may be ahead in the near term future. This virus is obviously very stubborn. It is lingering, and in fact cases are surging in certain areas across the country. One of those areas being my home state of Texas and it's frightening, but at the same time, it was really predictable because I think many people were not taking it seriously. Once we opened up, I also feel like we opened up way too early in Texas, and we are paying the price for that.

(01:57): But clearly this virus has a mind of its own and there is nothing stopping it right now from doing whatever it wants to do. Ironically, the economy is looking okay. The stock market has held up fairly well. Although that's a little bit misleading because what's really holding up. The markets is a handful of growth stocks that are benefiting from all of us, staying at home and sheltering in place more. And also the fed has pumped a tremendous amount of stimulus into the debt of many, many companies, and that is propping up companies and keeping them afloat, frankly. Um, there have been some bankruptcies and there will probably be more to come. But I think we are in the early innings of what is going to be a pretty volatile year ahead. I do believe that ultimately, we will recover from this as a country. The economy will recover.

(03:24): The virus won't last forever, but it's still going to be challenging for a good while. The pace of the economy getting better and rebounding is really a function of containing this virus. And so everything hinges upon how long the virus lingers, how many cases we actually end up seeing how our healthcare system can hold up through all of this. And if we are able to turn the corner here and manage this virus and mitigate the risks effectively until we get some kind of a vaccine in place. So that's kind of a big picture painting of where things sit today, smack dab in the middle of the year 2020, in case you are listening to this podcast, you know, way in the future. It may not make sense to you. So I wanted to put a date on it. So in this episode, what I thought might be helpful is to prepare you for the possibilities ahead.

(04:42): Now, as I always say on this show, we can't predict with accuracy, what is around the bend, but we can prepare for difficult times and it's possible that we will rebound more quickly and times will not be challenging for that much longer. There are many, many possibilities here. I just want to be realistic and help you plan and prepare for the unexpected. That's when a plan really comes in handy. And it's, I want you to start thinking about these things so that if any of these possibilities occur in your life, you've got a plan and you know what you're going to do about it. You know how to execute on that plan. I think we will continue to see lots of ups and downs in the markets, in the economy. We will see good news headlines and bad news headlines. And my best advice is to get yourself off of the news headlines, rollercoaster, keep your emotions out of it.

(06:08): As much as you can and protect your brain and your body taking in all of those negative headlines that hit us on our phones constantly are creating stress in your life. And they're creating stress in your brain, which then causes your body to produce cortisol, the stress hormone, which creates all kinds of problems. You can't sleep well. You gain weight. It's a, it's a terrible hormone that you want to try and minimize and keep at Bay. And the more stress you allow into your brain and into your life, the more you drive up your cortisol hormone levels. So just try to stay away from the news headlines and remember they are going to be bad for awhile, and we may get some weeks and, and days of positive headlines mixed in, but just expect that it's going to be Rocky for a while for the coming months, probably through the end of the year at a minimum.

(07:23): So I have come up with three PS. It's just easier to remember. Each of them start with the same letter, three PS for you to think about how to prepare for what may unfold, what the possibilities are in the near term. So number one is protection. Please wear a mask. When you go out and practice social distancing, this is not about politics. It is about personal health and it is about economics. Remember how the economy does is a function of keeping this virus contained. And the more of us who wear masks, the more possible that is to get this thing under control. And there has been research on this. There is science on this. It is proven to help prevent the virus from spreading. And it's not just about you. It's not just about me. We need to think about others. We need to protect others and also protect ourselves of certain activities.

(08:59): It's really tempting to get together with family, to go out to dinner, to go to a gathering with friends and to participate in other activities that may carry more risk in terms of your ability to get infected with the coronavirus. So just really evaluate the risks and be safe and be careful, especially if you are in an area right now where the virus is, surging and cases are spiking. And then also under protection stock up on supplies, such as over the counter medicines that might alleviate symptoms. If you come down with this virus or you have someone in your family who comes down with it, and that way you have, and I'm not saying go crazy and buy up everything in the store. No I'm saying, get yourself some things like Tylenol. Musinex these are just some basic over the counter medications that can help alleviate symptoms.

(10:15): If you go down for the count or somebody in your family, and you've got a fever and a cough and you don't feel well, uh, it's crazy many people haven't thought about this. And I think it's just a good idea to have that stuff on hand, have lots of water, maybe have some Pedialyte, some things that can help keep you hydrated if you get sick. So think about protecting not only yourself, but protecting others throughout this time. When the virus is obviously at higher levels of contagion, number two P is planning for the unexpected. I want you to think ahead about all the possibilities that you could face and what is the probability that you might face these things. For example, if you were to come down with the virus and you couldn't work for a week or two or three, how will that impact your life?

(11:30): What plans need to be put into place if that happens so that your business can carry on, your family can carry on whatever you manage and take care of. You want to be able to have that continuity in place. So just think about it now. I'm not saying you're going to get it, or I'm going to get it or anything like that. I'm just saying it's possible, right? So you want to be prepared for that. You want to be prepared. If someone in your family becomes ill, you want to think about a planning. If your kids are going to be home longer and actually not going back to school or not going back to college, many college campuses are going to be operating on a completely different level. And there are probably going to be a lot of kids at home, not going back physically to their college campuses, but instead learning remotely, how's that gonna affect your life?

(12:38): And what do you need to plan for to make sure that everything goes smoothly when your kids are at home with you? This could also be the case. If you have young kids and daycares are more risky and it's, it's more difficult to take the kids to daycare until the virus starts to get back under control things you want to think about and plan for also the possibility of, if you lose your job, maybe you've held onto your job up to this point. But what about three months from now? If things continue as they are, what if you get furloughed from your job for a while, or you have to take a pay cut. These things are already happening. So you want to be planning financially for any kind of potential hardship that might be ahead. And that also means looking at your savings. So if you do lose your job and you can afford to pay your mortgage or your rent for another three months beyond that, let's say, then what happens after that?

(13:50): What happens beyond that point? These are really important financial issues that can arise, that you might not even be thinking about today. So you want to have some plans in place for the possibilities, have a plan B. So you'll know what to do. If this virus lingers another thing in the planning category, if you were looking at retiring in the next year or even the next two years, maybe you want to consider potentially delaying your retirement or pushing that out. If you have that ability. So lots of things to think about in terms of what could happen that is unexpected and life really is a journey of curve balls. Uh, as much as we do plan for the way we want things to unfold, many times we don't have control over that. So we can't predict, but we can prepare and we can plan for all the possibilities.

(15:03): Number three P is preservation preservation means, do you need to preserve capital right now? Does it make sense to raise some cash, have more cash on hand than you might otherwise in a normal environment. Again, this goes back to any potential financial hardship, losing your job, being furloughed. You might want to have more cash on hand. If you see that as a possibility. Also, if you are someone who is very close to retirement or already retired, having enough cash on hand to weather, a difficult time in the economy is always a good idea. And something that I advocate also under the preservation idea is preserving your energy, doing things, to preserve your energy, like getting good sleep and resting your brain from your phone and constant notifications, taking care of yourself, eating healthy. All of these things contribute to preserving your energy and minimizing your stress levels.

(16:47): We're all more stressed right now and have probably higher levels of anxiety than we are accustomed to normally. So if you can put things in place that will preserve your energy and help you reduce stress and have a plan for any of the possibilities that could happen. And there can be, as I said before, good things that happen, you know, opportunities that come from this and happy things that come from this, of course, those things will happen. But planning is about, and being prepared is about having a plan B thinking through the possibilities and what you will do if a happens B happens or C happens. So it's a pretty simple exercise, but it's more about becoming self aware of where we are right now and what we may be facing going forward in the near term. Otherwise, I want to just encourage you to stay optimistic, to continue taking care of yourself, protect yourself, do some planning, preserve your capital, preserve your energy. These three PS, I think

(18:20): Can help you navigate the next six months of 2020. I will be back with you next week. And thank you so much. Once again for listening, this show is for informational and educational purposes only. Please do not consider any of the content as personalized financial investment tax or legal advice. You've been listening to the midlife money gal podcast to learn more and to join our community, visit midlife money, gal.com.

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