Whether in the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi or a village in Zambia, COVID-19 has surely impacted your life and in some way your wallet. Here are four simple ways to begin to bring financial CARE to yourself and those around you during these challenging times.
Communicate with Others
Personal money matters have a history of being stashed in the closet with the rest of life’s pains and challenges. That place we hope no one discovers. However, during times of crisis, communication is essential to navigating uncertainty. Whether single or married, money can be a challenge to talk about. During this time of financial uncertainty, communicate with those close to you. Spouses, surely no one needs to remind you of the importance of communication. Money can be hard to talk about. Singles, maybe you just need to voice the anxiety you are experiencing or even want some accountability in your finances. Bring someone in and have a conversation.
As you begin to process and discuss your finances, you may find it’s time to communicate with a professional. You might rather revisit the pre-marital counselor than talk openly about finances with someone. Let’s give it a try. It could alter the course of your finances. Find a financial professional who isn’t trying to sell you unnecessary product and has the heart of a teacher. Allow them to help you navigate this time.
Assess Your Situation
Even if you don’t find yourself in a crisis currently, it’s likely your finances have experienced some disruption that has beckoned your attention. Supporter drop off, delayed/extended furlough, limited cash accessibility, delayed savings goals or loss of investments are just a few we’ve seen first-hand. Take a deeper look into the impact of these changes on your situation. Then you can determine what adjustments need to be made to get you back on track. Maybe that $100 balance in your sole checking account is all you have at the moment. Great, you have awareness. Now you can begin to make CAREful steps to improve your situation.
Here are some resources to help you get started. Mint.com (free web and mobile app) is great for tracking expenses and assessing month to month spending. Put the app on your phone and your spouse’s to easily submit expenses and view budget balances. While also having the ability to track cash flow, Personal Capital will give you a big picture of your overall account balances. The Investment Checkup and Retirement Planner features are helpful tools for an initial understanding of where your finances stand. For those with U.S. banking institutions, the Personal Capital link will also put $20 in your pocket and mine!
Respond in Generosity
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 strikes as a rallying cry during this time of financial disruption for millions around the world. The great hope of ours is that nothing that we give is lost. We have already gained everything in Him who for our wealth became poor. What a freedom we have to CARE for others during COVID-19. In a recent article by Joseph Silfe of Sound Mind Investing, he referred to this time of the coronavirus as our “finest hour” for generosity.
Any financial professional would tell you that having a 3-6 month emergency fund and keeping more cash on hand during these times is wise, and I couldn’t agree more. But for those of you who seek to gather for yourselves treasures where moth and rust do not destroy, now is truly the finest hour for generosity. Here are some simple ways you can bring financial CARE to others by responding in generosity:
- Pay for food to be delivered to your neighbors and have a Zoom picnic together.
- Ask your pastor if there are practical or financial needs that you can meet.
- Buy the groceries of the person behind you at the checkout counter.
- Bless others with some of your government stimulus check.
Encourage Your Supporters
Support raising is a facet of cross-cultural worker finances that can easily drift into an unengaged, seemingly one sided relationship. Supporters send the money, and you send the prayer requests and updates. An exaggeration of course, but finding ways to involve and creatively engage your supporters from the other side of the world can be a challenge. However, as we’ve seen, the inconveniences of this virus have not been limited by demographic or place. Lost jobs, limited resources, social distancing, and death of loved ones have altered life for everyone.
Your supporters need YOU right now! You have had really hard experiences in your life overseas. Many of which could make a viral pandemic pale in comparison. But you’ve learned to trust God and persevere in faith. What a treasure to share! Their prayers and financial support have sustained you through your hardships overseas. That partnership has allowed you to grow in your ability to find comfort and hope in Him alone. Send them a note. Schedule a call and be an ear for them to talk and process to. In this finest hour, YOU can support them.
Want to practice “Financial CARE” these days? Here is a printable that you can stick in your Bible, hang on your bathroom mirror, or place in your workspace to remind you instead of worrying, you can CARE. Get it in letter or A4.
The thoughts and opinions shared in this article are for general information and thought provocation only and do not take into consideration your personal financial circumstances. I am not a financial, investment or tax professional, but someone who wishes to share what I’ve learned through managing finances as a cross-cultural worker. For professional financial advice, please consult a licensed professional.
Eric, this post breathes life into an area that can be filled with anxiety. Thank you 🙂
Your CARE model has been helpful for us as a family and we have passed it along to others. Thank you for broaching a topic that can be so difficult for some to engage.
You are so welcome Thomas! Our team really desires to provide proactive tools that help you take action during hardship and challenge. Glad to hear this model has serve you and your family in that way.