In 2020, the Pew Research Center found that, unsurprisingly, lower-income Americans were hit hardest by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. In the second half of 2020, half of the adults who lost their job due to the pandemic still found themselves unemployed months later. In 2021, the research center also found that many Americans are expecting that the long-term financial consequences of the pandemic will make it so much harder ffor them to reach their financial goals.
But we don’t need quantitative studies to know just how many people were affected by the pandemic, financially speaking. So many people lost their jobs, businesses had to close up shop for good, and our way of life was disrupted—perhaps for good—in more ways than one. This is why if we were one of the people who experienced a setback in our financial goals due to the crisis, we need to be gentle with ourselves and believe that it’s still possible to start over.
Everyone goes through a challenging financial season. The important thing is how you get back up after a setback. Here are some pointers for starting again after a challenging financial experience or failure.
Consult with a legal professional
If your situation is dire enough that you might have to file for bankruptcy or you see yourself losing one of your biggest assets, like your home, then don’t hesitate to consult with a foreclosure lawyer or a legal professional that specializes in debts. A qualified legal professional can help you strategize so that you can find relief for your immediate mortgage problems, and they can also help you make decisions that will place you on better financial footing. They could also help you make plans that will ultimately help you settle some debts or communicate better with your creditors.
Some people are afraid to seek legal assistance when they’re already in dire financial straits. But think of it as an investment that can ultimately help you get out of your current predicament, especially if you feel like you’ve already done everything you can to fix things. However, your efforts are still coming up short. You deserve help, and it’s available to you.
Assess the situation
In the aftermath of a devastating blow to an area of our life, it’s understandable if we want to never think about it again and leave it in the past. Traumatic incidents are, understandably, so hard to be reminded of, and we all deserve to move on and find peace in our lives. However, if we don’t look back on what happened with objective eyes, we might miss out on learning some valuable lessons from it. Here are some ways you can build a castle out of the bricks that were thrown at you during the difficult financial season:
- Take a close look at what triggered the situation. While we don’t have control over “acts of God” situations like a pandemic or a natural disaster, we can know why we weren’t prepared when it took place. What’s done is done, and we can’t go back in time to change the situation, but if something similar takes place again, you can make choices now so that what happened to you won’t happen again. For example, if you failed to save for a rainy day when the pandemic first hit in 2020, then you can correct that now by putting some money on your emergency fund.
- Aside from failing to save, objectively look at what other things you could have avoided at the height of the difficulty. Did you spend unnecessarily on something you didn’t need at the time? Maybe this time, you can learn from that mistake while being gentle with yourself about it. Remind yourself that if you had known then what you know now, then you wouldn’t have made that mistake.
Establish new goals
There’s nothing like the new year to help empower your belief in yourself to make better choices. Here are some examples of the most basic financial goals you can set are the following:
- Sticking to a budget
- Setting up an emergency fund
- Saving up for your retirement
- Saving more and spending less
- Getting out of debt
- Saving money for a house
Starting all over again after a financial setback is hard, but it’s not impossible. Consult with experts, be gentle with yourself, and look towards the future. You can do it.