7 Areas COVID-19 can be One of Your Life’s Greatest Opportunities.
Not everything is as grimly as you think. This is your life’s opportunity for great things to happen. It’s your choice to make.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, it is probably you have seen for the FIRST time:
- Mandatory closure of schools for at least a month
- Mandatory closure of workplaces for at least a month, apart from essential industries like healthcare and certain banking sectors.
- Widespread closure of malls, sports & recreational facilities, places of attraction, etc.
- Cancellation/postponement of major sports and entertainment events
- The steepest fall in the stock market in history
- The sharpest increase in unemployment within a month
- Governments across the globe are tapping on reserves to pump vast sums of capital into the economy to support their people and business as much as possible.
And the list goes on…
If you are in one of the countries undergoing a semi-lockdown or a full lockdown, you are going to be stuck at home like how the people in Wuhan, China, have been for the past three months.
Use this opportunity as a chance to reset and refocus the direction of your life.
And here are 7 areas of your life you can start working on now.
You can’t complain that your work’s too busy for you to exercise now if your country is undergoing a lockdown. You don’t need transportation time. You don’t necessarily need one hour of lunch every day now. Use the time to move your muscles and sweat it out. Do a 30-day challenge or whatever that suits you. There are tons of online tutorials.
Also, it is time for you to learn some simple dishes. Home-cooked food is (almost) always healthier and cheaper than outside food. However, keep it simple. You don’t have to torture yourself with salads every day if you hate it. A healthy lifestyle, including dieting, should be a long term process, a process that you enjoy. COVID-19 is just an opportunity for you to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. It shouldn’t just end after COVID-19.
2. Personal Finance
It is the best time to learn to manage or plan your finances now.
It is time that you take note of your :
- Monthly income
- Monthly budget
- Monthly expenditure
- Investment plans (will talk about this in my next point)
Use an excel sheet or any personal finance apps to record the numbers.
- Set realistic targets to clear your debt, if you have any. If it's a huge sum, such as school, house or car loan, record how much of your monthly income needs to go into repaying the installments. Take note of things like interest rates. If they are fixed, you need not worry too much. If they are based on floating rates, do buffer yourself for the unknown — they can make a lot of difference in the long run.
- Record all your sources of income. Start looking for alternative sources of income if you are at risk of losing your job. You are strongly encouraged to do so even if you are not. This COVID-19 has never been a better example to show us that relying on one single income is just too dangerous.
- Next, look at your monthly expenditure. See where you have overspent. See what the months are you plan to spend more, e.g. because of travel plans, medical treatments, etc. Then, start to set your budget and stick to it.
- Finally, we all know there will always be unforeseen circumstances. So, try to set aside an emergency fund of three to six months of your monthly expenditure in case anything happens.
Also, remember to set aside some money to treat yourself from time to time. Saving up is a long term process; thus, blind saving without rewarding yourself sucks.
Just remember two things from Warren Buffett:
- “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.”
- “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
3. Personal Investment
For those who always wanted to find a good time to invest, now is the best time to kickstart your portfolio.
We all know how COVID-19 has hit the global economy and the stock market. Almost all classes of assets have gone down. While, as of last week, the markets have rebounded much, it is still far from February highs.
If you started two weeks ago, good for you. While we may never know where the market will head for the rest of the year, you are already investing at discounted prices.
If you have not, start to plan where you want to invest now. However, please don’t put all your eggs in one basket at one go. There are still a lot of uncertainties in the market. We are not yet sure whether the rebound took into account the damage done to the global economy. After all, the changes and even shocks in the stock market are mainly based on investor’s expectations and emotions.
Starting now does not mean you dump the entire sum of money you have to invest now all at one go. Prudence and doing your homework before taking action are essential.
If you are ‘stuck’ with your family or your spouse during the lockdown, this is the best time to work on your relationship. Now that we have to stay indoors temporarily, there is little chance for us to have some space and time apart from our family members and/or spouse.
Before COVID-19, we can always leave the house for a while to take a breather if there is some fight or conflict going on in the house. Now we can’t. You are going to hear your siblings fighting in another room while you are trying to concentrate on your work. If you have young kids at home, you are going to see them throwing tantrums because they don’t understand why they can’t go out and play.
There is bound to have a lot of quarrels and conflicts in the house. This is the time to learn to understand, tolerate, and embrace each other’s flaws, pain points, and moments of temperaments.
I am sure if we can get through this, our relationships will turn out stronger than ever.
5. Skills Set
One extremely underrated or overlooked investment opportunity that many people missed is investing in themselves. Now is the best time to build up your skills set! Whether you want to be more competent in your current job, or you just want to learn something extra, just do it now. Take an hour or two every day to learn it. This is probably one of the investments with guaranteed returns. No losses.
This brings me to my next point.
6. The Habit of Reading
Time to start a mini library of your own!
We all know how often and how much successful people read. They are no less busy than any of us, yet they spend at least an hour a day reading.
Books are another type of underrated asset. Read a variety of genres, not just romance and thrillers, please. There are a lot of great non-fiction titles out there. If you don’t know where to start, you can try google “Bill Gates’s reading list 2020” and start from there. The Google algorithm itself will probably begin to recommend other books from thereon.
Don’t waste this opportunity to binge on Netflix, Disney+, or whatever. Now there should be plenty of time for you to think about your life’s direction.
Be it your fitness, your wealth or plans to start a side hustle, now it is also the best time to set some realistic goals for yourself to work towards. The younger you are, the luckier you are because you probably can restart your life with minimal losses.
- What are the dreams you always wanted to achieve?
- What activities do you love so much that you don’t even find the process of becoming better a painful one? (Hint: This is probably the answer to your life’s direction)
- What do you want to do that your older self will not regret?
Take risks if you dare. For if you win, you will be happier; if you lose, you will be wiser.
I know it is an extremely tough period for all of us in general.
As humans, social distancing, and isolation both challenge the basic human need to socialize and interact. Even if you have been isolating yourself all along, you would love to at least take a walk in your living estate, watch people walking their dog or exercising, take the bus or train and submerge yourself in the views of the cityscape.
For some of us, times like this are awful. In countries undergoing a lockdown, there has been a significant rise in cases of domestic abuse, depressive episodes, panic attacks due to anxiety, etc. Breakups and divorces are predicted to rise. The same goes for family conflicts, misunderstandings, and emotional battles.
Those who have been significantly affected by either (or both) the stock market or the economic downturn are already in a struggle to keep themselves afloat. I mean, any government can only do so much.
However, life has to go on. Whether you choose to live each day happily or unhappily, the day still goes on. COVID-19 or the economy is not going to change for the better soon because of you.
Nevertheless, it WILL change for the better.
After every dark rainstorm, comes the bright sky and rainbows.
And, what doesn’t kill you WILL make you stronger.
Therefore, make use of this opportunity to reset your life.
Thank you for reading:)