Life lessons learnt from the virus pandemic has been enormous. The unprecedented pandemic has completely changed the mindset of people after a multi-month Shelter in Place. This is the first ever time I’m seeing a huge disaster like this in my adult life. I wasn’t an adult when Great Financial Crisis happened.
Virus case tolls continue to increase, deaths also follow the same path, unemployment has soared abruptly, people have stopped spending and there was BLM protests (in some cases riots with vandal elements sneaking in) all around the US. Flatten the curve was the mantra, it seemed like it worked, before everything again went bonkers. Dreaded second wave should never come.
All days seem to be the same with the Shelter in place, going through a lot of emotions. I think I’ve seen the full picture by having complete good and bad times and still pondering over the meaning of life. Things have been a little better lately and I’m optimistic with each passing week, we’ll continue to evolve and adapt ourselves to these strenuous times.
I have a habit of watching the same movie or listening to the same audio book multiple times. Processing information deeply from important movies that aligns with my goals is important to me. I have been thinking of writing my life lessons from the virus pandemic for sometime now.
The following are the top 5 life lessons for me
A larger emergency fund
The main important lesson for me so far is that the emergency fund or cash cushion needs to cover atleast a year or two of expenses. That is when, you can peacefully think of your next plan, even if you are laid off unfortunately in this situation. It is important to find the balance between investing aggressively and prioritizing the emergency fund.
What chunk of your portfolio should be the emergency fund? What is the right number or percentage? I’d rather chase the higher returns of investing as much into the stock market as possible, since we’re investing for the long-term on our road to financial independence. FIRE makes you responsible with your emergency fund goal.
Fortunately, my day job remain stable at the moment, but I would be much more stressed without my emergency fund in place. It gives me the freedom to experiment, even at this troubling times.
I think, especially with the pandemic, it is not worth it to fret over how much emergency fund you hold. The more, the better. You just need to be cautious and improve your cashflow and cash position. Peace of mind is the ultimate goal in these disturbing moments.
Gaining a few percentage points of return is not worth it, at this point, when the markets are irrational and you never know what could happen to your life savings. That said, do not touch your long term investment. Let them grow with the market cycles. I’m just stressing on the need for an adequate emergency fund over short term investments during the pandemic.
Spending More != Increased Happiness
A lot of personal finance “experts” will tell you that the key to making money is to stop spending more. They’ll tell you to stop buying that coffee, and cancel your favorite trip if you want to save for retirement. I do not subscribe to those thoughts and think that you should spend more on experiences, rather than doing it for keeping up with joneses. Rather, concentrate on your own life lessons.
If your spending is not down during sheltering at home, then there is something wrong with your budgeting. Sure, I could have an easy life by ordering Pizzas, Grubhub, Doordash or Uber Eats everyday or splurge more on online shopping to shower new gifts for myself, but eventually that won’t fix anything.
Spending more dollars won’t buy contentment. Prioritizing experiences, preserving true friends and pursuing true passions are the prudent things to do.
Importance of simple pleasures
I’ve learnt that I generally tend to ignore life’s simple pleasures and understood the importance of them, only after a forced Shelter in Place, for the greater good. I really miss simple things like taking a walk and greeting people on the way, sitting at a restaurant and having a nice (but affordable) dinner, watching live sports on TV and getting haircuts from my barber (I have learnt to cut my own hair now).
It is natural for anyone to miss things to anticipate for, be it anything from music, sports, movies, vacations, nightlife with everything either cancelled or postponed. I was so excited for my New York trip that I booked during January, for the apparently peak Covid season around the memorial day weekend. I don’t have a Car and I miss renting a car and touching the steering wheel for more than 6 months now. Get your life lessons and passion going. Nothing can stop you.
I fall into a routine of doing my 9 to 5 and then taking care of my Instagram with more than 10K followers and write my blog from 5 to 2. I start to forget how much I value the people and opportunities around us. It is important to make a constant decision at this time, to be more thankful and never take those simple pleasures for granted.
Importance of health
Health is a state of sound mind along with a fit physical body. If only you have good health, you can have happiness. Your well being increases with your health proportionately.
Health makes primary contribution to huge progress in an economy. Healthy populations tend to live longer and are always more productive. With their healthcare costs down, they tend to save more too. Learning the health life lessons early is important.
For a healthy life, regular exercise and nutrients rich diet is going to help. We live in a fast world and consume some random frozen food and spoil our health. Make sure to care for your physical health by cooking healthy, in this shelter in place period.
Living in a proper shelter, taking at least 8 hours of sleep and having good hygiene is important. Maybe, trying medidation or even yoga may help. Instinctively, we all know that health is important. How often we follow what we think?
We all run behind something in a rat race. This is exactly why, FIRE improves your health and well being. I talk a lot about building wealth on CryptoandFire, but it means very little if you don’t have your health intact.
I have made a conscious decision to treasure the time I have with family and friends, prioritize my health, and live my life to the fullest while I still can. Value your mental health aspect more in this trying times!
Challenge Of Using Time Sensibly
I post a lot of motivation posts on Instagram to motivate myself and my followers. I mostly write about how to use this Shelter in Place to learn new stuff. Also, about developing multiple side hustles, managing money and building wealth. Allow me to be a hypocrite for a moment, when I say, there shall be balance between things in life. I definitely want to learn new things and grow, but that cannot be happening all 24 hours and 7 days of the week.
Did you notice one thing? If there is a task that has longer deadline to complete, then it will take that much longer to finish. It is humanly, to procrastinate. We all do that.
Had a meeting with your manager in a few days where you present findings for a strategic project? If you are me, you will do maximum portion of work just the night before the meeting. It’s easy to have that inertia or resistance to push tasks further, taking more time to do, than normally it would take at the last moment.
Although I’m learning a lot of new things with starting the blog, I have my own challenges to use time sensibly. I cheat myself sometimes thinking that this is going to be helpful in the future and gaze around watching random things.
For every fruitful day with interesting day job work, insightful blog work, cooking, exercise and reading, there are stagnant days where I don’t do much. It is important to try and find some balance amidst pushing oneself and giving some grace or cheat period.
The pandemic has entirely changed my work and personal life mindset. Overall, we live in an uncertain time with not so bright future in the short term. But, I’m looking at the long term big picture.
While there’s abundance of negative headlines, it is not all that bad. Cut out the negative news and look out for life lessons instead. Stop watching the virus case and death ticker everyday. Also, cut yourself from the news outlets or TV on negative things.
Blog was born in the midst of Pandemic. Try to see the positives in negatives. Pollution levels has gotten much lower. Less of stressful commute to work. More time to spend with friends & family and Covid death rate has been steadily decreasing despite what you see in the news about Cases going up.
We normally live a frantic paced life, slogging long hours at work and busy schedules. Thus, we don’t have much time for family and friends. This virus pandemic is the all way Stop Sign 🛑 for everyone. Stop your cars (lives) and look around for others.
So, these are the top 5 Personal Finance and well being lessons that I’m taking away with me. I will see how to become more mature and appreciate the positives in this tough situation.