July 06, 2020
You and I know that July 4th is likely to be much different this year. The need to protect ourselves and protect each other makes it hard to gather and celebrate as we have in years past.
Nothing is normal right now, and I know what we are going through can weigh heavily on your spirit. My heart is most with those of you who have lost jobs and aren’t sure what’s next.
At the same time, I am actually quite hopeful. While I would never wish for anything like the world we are navigating right now, it is wonderful to see so many of you making the most of a truly hard time.
On my Women & Money app I have been asking members how they are doing, what they miss, what old habits they think they might never return to when the economy is able to fully and robustly reopen.
And what I hear is that so many of you have found a new commitment to financial independence.
Many of you are so glad you went into the shutdown with an eight-month emergency fund. That is making it all the easier to weather the current economic storm.
Others are taking the lesson of what has happened to get serious about building up their savings to eight months. Might it take months, or years? Maybe. But you know you are on the path and I can hear in your posts how excited you are to be taking this step for your future.
So many are sharing that you expect to spend less going forward. That not being able to spend on certain wants during the shutdown has shifted your priorities. One community member wrote in to let us know she let her gray hair grow out and now intends to skip color treatments. That will save her more than $600 a year!
I am not suggesting that everyone should stop coloring their hair. That’s not the point. This is about listening to your inner voice. Are there habits or tendencies that were put on hold during the pandemic that you realize you don’t want to, or don’t need to return to?
Maybe you (and your manager) realized remote work is not a productivity drain. In fact, you’re rocking the work and your manager is thrilled with things. Doing the math on what you might save by working remotely maybe two (or more days) a week can be an eye opener. Commuting costs. Wardrobe savings. (Isn’t it interesting that everyone thinks you’re just as smart when your Zoom attire is a whole lot less fancy than what you used to wear to the office?)
Some of you are finding you actually like to cook. Imagine! That can be a great way to spend less. But I sure hope when it becomes safe to go out in your area that you also consider supporting your local restaurants. They are part of our communities and a vital part of our economy. The ultimate goal is finding a balance that works best for your finances, and when possible, also helps you support your community.
For those of you who are struggling right now and thinking financial independence is not in your grasp, please listen to me. When you stand in your truth—even if that truth means a move, or a new job that isn’t exactly what you want or getting honest with your (adult) kids about what you can afford—everything is possible. Everything. If you need more convincing, come join the community at the Women & Money app, and be sure to listen to the podcast (you can listen through the app). I have advice, your fellow community members have inspiring stories, and there you will find a welcoming world of others who are also eager to work toward financial independence.