At the time of this writing, there are more than 160 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, with 12 people perishing from the deadly illness. And by the time you read this, there’s a good chance that the virus expands to more states and the number of confirmed cases is even greater.
Containing the spread of the virus is also likely to lead to many difficult decisions in the coming weeks and months in terms of business conventions, entertainment events, and perhaps even the fate of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Just yesterday, the 25th James Bond movie in the franchise saw its April release date pushed back to November over worries about the health of the global theater market.
But one question that you’re probably wondering amid the spread of this disease is simply what it means for you. Specifically, what it means for your job.
According to a report from Prudential Financial, more than half of all Americans aren’t financially prepared for a disease outbreak. Furthermore, the study indicated that a majority of those surveyed are concerned with contracting the virus, and that in doing so, they’ll be unable to work as they recover. For many Americans, not being able to work equates to not receiving any sort of paycheck. So if you’re among those concerned about your financial wellbeing should there be a mass outbreak, consider the following tips on how to build a cash reserve emergency fund in the meantime.
With the potential that the coronavirus could become a major disruption to everyday life for a period of time, the big challenge of building a cash reserve for you to make ends meet is doing so in a hurry. Hopefully you have some sort of emergency fund already — experts say you should always try to have at least three months worth of expenses socked away in an emergency fund — but if you don’t, here’s what you need to be doing now:
- Scale back your spending and increase your take-home pay now: Suspend your cable, cancel the streaming platforms you belong to, dial back what you divest into your 401K and any health savings funds. Bottom line: Do what you can to decrease your spending and increase your take-home pay.
- Use your debit card: Studies show that using a credit card on purchases has a greater tendency to lead to impulse spending. Noting this, use your debit card only so that you’re spending money that you currently have.
- Look to save money in a high-yield savings account: If you do your homework, it’s not impossible to find a bank that will give you a 2 to 2.5 percent annual return on any savings. Compared to the average .09 percent rate, this can make your money go much further.
- Put any tax refund toward this cause: If you’re expecting a tax refund this year, be sure to allow it to bolster any savings plan that you have or savings goals that you’ve established.