Personal Finance Thoughts From COVID-19 Isolation

PERSONAL FINANCE THOUGHTS FROM COVID-19 ISOLATION

These times are weird. In Denmark where I live, nearly everything has been on lockdown for weeks. We are just slowly starting to open society again.

I must say I underestimated the coronavirus. I thought the media were exaggerating everything. I still believe they are to some degree. I also believe that people too often rely on stories and not facts when they judge COVID-19.

However, it’s fair to say that I never expected this would happen. The whole world shut down with social distancing and home quarantines being some of the most used words in our vocabulary.

In all of this, the most important thing is to keep perspective. We will recover from this. People will die and companies will close, but we. will. recover.

To the best of my knowledge, I and my close family have not been infected with the coronavirus. My thoughts go to all the people who have had the coronavirus closer to their lives than I have.

During my time in COVID-19 home isolation, I have had some time to think about all the good and bad things that come from a pandemic like this.

I’m not going to spend much time on the bad things. I am sure the media has you covered here:

  • People will unfortunately die
  • Economic growth will decline and companies will close
  • People will be unemployed
  • Net worths will decrease
  • People will get nervous
  • Global institutions will come under pressure
  • Etc. etc.

The good things that I believe will come from COVID-19

I will rather focus on the good things that I expect will come from the coronavirus. These originate from experiences I have already had or from having a lot of time to think these days ๐Ÿ™‚

The feeling of being financially secure

During the COVID-19 outbreak, I have never been more confident that pursuing financial independence is one of the best things I have done in my life.

The feeling of having enough savings to weather years of potential unemployment is indescribable. Not only does it make me sleep well, but it also makes me immune to making bad financial decisions in the stock market.

This has been a very positive surprise for me in this crisis compared to the last financial crisis where I had debt and no savings.

I hope more families will use this opportunity to do more to save up money for tough times.

Staying the course and investing

Because I have not stressed about our financial situation at all, I have instead kept on investing throughout the pandemic. I have bought as many stocks as often as I would if there had been no crisis.

I’m not trying to time the market, however, I do believe that investing in times of crisis can lead to some of the best returns.

The market might fall even more than it has done, but I know that I will continue investing. Hopefully, in a few months or years, I can make a follow-up post about what it meant financially ๐Ÿ™‚

Dealing with the environment

If you follow this blog, you know that I invest sustainably. I do it because I care for the environment and because it pays off.

We travel and produce much less during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s amazing to see the positive impact it has on the environment. Global greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing. You can even see it from satellites.

I hope that two positive things will come from the coronavirus: traveling and mobilizing resources.

I hope that we will travel less in the future. Companies (including my own) are realizing how easy it is to have teleconferences and not taking an expensive and time-consuming airplane for short meetings abroad. People might start traveling shorter distances to go on vacation because they are afraid of diseases and because they realize the good opportunities they have locally.

I hope that we will be better at mobilizing resources in the future. Imagine how quickly countries and companies took action to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. If we could do the same thing towards the environment, we would be doing better than we are.

Collaborating globally

I hope we will become better at dealing with global issues because of the coronavirus in the future.

There’s no doubt that we will be more ready to collaborate internationally to fight future pandemics. I consider us lucky that we had a less deadly virus as a global test because we will face more pandemics in the future.

I hope that international collaboration can be extended to other areas as well (peace, environment, equality, education, health, etc.).

Appreciating the small things

I have become much more aware of all the good things in life during our isolation.

Being able to see friends, give hugs to people or going to a festival. These were all things I took for granted before.

I have started to appreciate all the small things more. Once the virus is over, I will probably return to normal and forget about this, but it has been a good experience to take a step back from everyday life.

Spending more time with the family

Despite working from home, I have spent much more time with my family than I would have under normal circumstances. It has been a gift to me to be more around my wife and daughter. Seeing my daughter grow up much closer than I would at work has been one of the best things.

I like to believe that spending more time with your family is a good thing that has come from the virus. Both because some people have found out how much they enjoy spending time with their family, but also the other way around. Some people might find out that they might not be together with the right one. In both cases, I hope that people have become more aware of what matters to them and how they want to spend their lives in the future.

Spending more time on hobbies

Along the same lines, I know that I have spent more time on hobbies than I usually would. I have a newfound love for playing instruments and luckily my daughter is a forgiving audience.

I hope that people have found or rediscovered hobbies that make their lives better.

Spending less (stupid) money

As a personal finance blogger, this has been one of the key benefits of the lockdown for me.

We spend far less money on going out to restaurants and bars. Also, shopping for clothes and other accessories have been nearly eliminated from our family’s spending. Although we spend less money overall, our grocery spending is up by at least 100% since we eat all meals at home now.

I believe it’s a good exercise for people to see how little money they can spend and still live a great life. Hopefully, people make the analysis – and make some of the good habits stick afterward ๐Ÿ™‚

Experiencing more solidarity

It’s fascinating to see all the things people, companies and governments do in times of crisis.

Individuals giving a lending hand to strangers, companies offering help for free to healthcare workers and governments sending aid to countries struggling with an overburdened health system.

I hope we are all inspired by the solidarity we are seeing. Hopefully, on the other side of the pandemic, we will be more likely to help our neighbor or lend a helping hand to those most in need.

Being more hygienic

I have never washed my hands as much as I do now. They are all dry because I’m being more hygienic than I have ever been before.

I have learned a thing or two about hand hygiene – and I will never go to work being sick again.

Hopefully, this little crash course in hygiene will mean that people get less sick (and infect fewer people) in the future.

What do all these points have to do with personal finance?

I know not all the points above are directly related to finance. However, to me, personal finance is as much about living a good life as it is about building high net worth.

Despite all the negative effects coming from this virus, I hope that the positive effects of the coronavirus will ultimately help more people achieve both a better life and more healthy financials ๐Ÿ™‚

Your turn: What do you believe could be the positive effects of the coronavirus?

2 comments

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2 comments

Carles April 16, 2020 - 23:49

I also think it’s a great time to reassess what do we really need to be happy. Personally, I’ve always been quite a minimalist, but this time locked in home (a 23sqm apartment!) made me happy that I only own things that are useful for me. Some my friends are taking this time to declutter and be more organized.
And of course, not going out at all, that’s a huge savings.

Be safe!

Reply
Carl Jensen April 17, 2020 - 13:21

I fully agree with you. Even though I consider us relatively minimalistic, we have also spent time on decluttering our lives. As an example, we have donated and sold a lot of clothes. And yes, not going out makes a positive impact on the budget, but I would perhaps not live like this forever ๐Ÿ™‚
Be safe!

Reply

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