Dozens of countries are in the midst of some sort of lockdown to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. This means that many industries and businesses we might interact with every day are completely shut down. Without cafes, restaurants, entertainment, bars, clubs and a swathe of other places, we are all stuck at home feeling anxious, bored, frustrated and unsure of just what to do.
Although this is clearly not ideal, it’s also the perfect opportunity to develop some key skills. The ones you never had the time for! Below we have outlined 3 steps to help you come out the other side of this, money smarter.
While this period may be unprecedented, we have in fact been here before. Isaac Newton had just started at the University of Cambridge during the UK’s last major outbreak of the plague in 1665. He was forced to flee the city with other students – he would later call this his annus mirabilis, or year of wonders.
What will you call it?
You may not resolve the laws of motion but that doesn’t mean you can’t use this time as an opportunity to take a personal leap forward. By getting to grips with your personal finance and establish how to make your money work for you.
We want to help by highlighting the topics we think are most helpful!
Get Scam Smart
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. COVID-19 time has most certainly been scam time. Fraudsters have used the pandemic as an excuse to trick people out of over £200m in the first half of this year alone, according to UK Finance.
Scammers often combine new technology with old tricks to fraudulently acquire people’s money or personal information. Don’t ever share your details (ever!), don’t click on links you don’t recognise and if you want to really protect yourself: you can find out how to protect yourself here. There’s also a guide here if you want a quick overview.
Invest for the future
During COVID-19 we have seen a record number of retail (individual) investors open accounts and start trading – trading, not investing. Register for our Financial Planning series webinar here.
Trading, as many of them have discovered, is a high-risk activity.
Investing on the other hand, when done carefully and with a view to the long term, is a core way of building your future wealth and helping you reach big financial goals.
Putting your money to work should be a financial goal (if not now then definitely in the future). Learning how to invest is simpler than most people realise. But you do need to put in some leg work and what better opportunity will you have than this time, right now.
Here you can start to get to grips with some of the fundamentals of what markets are and the bits that make them up. You can start to understand the language and, importantly, learn how to invest and how to make investment decisions that also line up with sustainability objectives if that’s important to you.
Hustle up a startup
According to the World Economic Forum student demand for entrepreneurship courses has accelerated in recent years, reflecting students’ desires to shape their own future. That was definitely the message we heard when we asked founders about their journey.
As happens in all periods of financial crisis there are business opportunities. Airbnb was founded in the months leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, Disney was founded in 1929 exactly as the Great Depression was taking hold.
Lockdown too will likely birth all sorts of great companies, as young people have the time and opportunity to really explore what creating a business might look like for them. This may be a singular and unique opportunity to explore your own creativity and finally start moving on that business idea you are sure could change the world.
While you are considering how you might use this time, be sure to look after yourself. This will pass – crises always do – so make sure you take care of your mental and physical health as well so that you are ready to fly when the skies open again for us all!
Earn yourself the Pandemic Academy Badge by completing the following action plan: