How to Respond to the Financial Impact of Coronavirus

By Stowe, Vermont Financial Planner Steve Schleupner

We are seeing the COVID-19 Coronavirus taking its roots well beyond the body. Just as each body responds differently to the virus, each of our financial bodies are fighting differently. I am quite often asked how to respond to the financial impact of Coronavirus and what to do now that one's financial life is not where it was.

Financial implications of the Coronavirus vary as much as do the physical implications. Some bodies, in the physical form, are immune, while some experience fever, respiratory issues, and even larger life-threatening issues. The underlying theme is some people are impervious to the disease, while others have to fight, and in a small population really struggle through.

A similar parallel exists with our financial lives. Some are fortunate enough to be in a position of strength with their employment and personal finances that allows greater immunity to the financial impact of Coronavirus. Meanwhile, others entered the advent of the Coronavirus without having the financial resources to handle the unexpected life event. The question of how to respond to the financial impact of Coronavirus feels heavier and the financial impact, much greater.

Just as the virus can leave a scar on one's health, it can also leave a scar on one's financial life in the form of debt, job loss, decreased or exhausted savings. Scars however are a sign of healing. Each scar has a story. Some scars are seen as beautiful, while others are lasting impressions of a time one wishes to forget.

How to Respond to the Financial Impact of Coronavirus - Choose Your Lens

It comes to how we view the scar. Are we going to view the scar under a financial scarcity lens? Or, are we going to view the scar under a financial sufficiency lens? It's not a question of whether the COVID-19 is good or bad. It's a question of how we respond, which results in a good or bad outcome. Are we going to grow from the implications of this virus - in terms of our relationship with our health, finances, family, emotions and faith?

Author, Lynne Twist, is in tune with the scarcity-sufficiency view around money in her book "The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life." She identifies a scarcity mindset as one where the thinking is around "not enough," "more is better," and "that's just the way it is." When we are always on a quest to obtain more, we find ourselves unsatisfied shortly after we obtain what we set out to acquire, which drives one's scarcity to pursue even more. Scarcity thinking also permeates in "more is better" thinking. The more financial reserves we have, the better we are. This leads to a "me versus them" personal view, rather than a "me and them" personal view. The result is a life mode that is self-serving. The last form of scarcity thinking is "Things are as they are. There is nothing I can do about it; therefore, I will just accept the way it is." The thought that things won't change is scarcity thinking.

Lynne counters scarcity thinking with a sufficiency mentality. She defines sufficiency as "an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources. Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough."

This, I believe, is the key to how we respond to the financial implications of the Coronavirus COVID-19. Note, there is no reference to a size of account. There are wealthy people who harbor scarcity mindsets, and therefore harbor unhappiness, while there are financially poor individuals who are rich in life and its treasures. Mother Teresa was financially poor, and, in my view, the richest woman on the planet.

Scarcity thinking has lived with us through time. Our history is littered with devastating financial periods, either caused by scarcity actions, or that resulted in even more behavior propagated on scarcity thinking. Within the last 20 years we have lived through the Tech Boom and Bust, 9/11, The 2008 Financial Crisis, and now the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Pandemic. There have also been personal catastrophes with divorce, death, job loss, and disability. What have we learned as a society? What have you learned? How many more catastrophic events will it take before we become good stewards of all our resources?

When deciding how to respond to the financial impact of Coronavirus, remember how you respond is the difference on whether your life experiences struggle or growth. My former business coach, Steve D'Annuzio, states, "Lessons in life will repeat themselves. They will repeat themselves with greater magnitude until learned." This is so true. Now is the time to take inventory of your resources and how you view each one. Think about what you think you own that can be taken away in a snap, and then think about what you really own. We don't own anything external, such as jobs, houses, bank accounts. What we own is our knowledge, wisdom, compassion, joy, love, and all other internal qualities. When we seek to expand more of what we own, versus what we think we own, then our riches expand. The external resources are merely the means to aid in this expansion.

Questions to Ponder When Asking How to Respond to the Financial Impact of Coronavirus


  • Are you going to continue to pursue investment risk, while over-spending on things you do not need? Or, are you going to use your resources smartly so you can save for your future with lower risk?

  • Are you going to allow money to slip through your fingers following the same patterns of poor stewardship? Or, are you going to develop a budgeting and household cash-flow tracking system that allows you to account for all the dollars you earn through your sacrifice of time?

  • Are you going to allow financial institutions to make exorbitant amounts of money off your money? Or, are you going to reduce the costs within your control?

  • Are you going to follow the same patterns of poor self-care, which might be little exercise, unhealthy eating, and low self-reflection? Or, are you going to allocate a portion of what you earn to your vitality?

  • Are you going to stay in a job that you don't enjoy, and that steals the desires of your soul? Or, are you going to begin a plan to take ownership in your capable life's work, and migrate away from what does not serve you?

  • Are you going to allow the pre-Coronavirus work-life imbalance to rebound as it was before the work stoppage? Or, are you going to set intention to keep in place the newly found balance you once craved?

  • Are you going to live in a scarcity mindset? Or, are you going to live in a sufficiency mindset?

Personally, I see a huge miracle within all of this catastrophe, and that is not to lessen the heartfelt empathy I have for those of you that have lost their life or their financial well-being. This is an inopportune time, but, within this inopportune time lies the greatest opportunity. Let's not revert to the patterns of the past that did not serve us. Let's not waste the loss of life we witnessed. When pondering how to respond to the financial impact of Coronavirus, let's challenge ourselves to use this opportunity to see the sufficiency within our own capabilities, and grow. Let's view this scar as a beautiful reminder.

Notes:

(1) Lynne Twist, "The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life"

(2) Steve D'Annunzio, Soul Purpose Institute


Written by Stowe, Vermont Financial Planner Steve Schleupner


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