April 10, 2020 • By Dennis Beaver
“The coronavirus is reshaping our world, and much of what we see today is very, very bad — from major health concerns to millions of people suddenly finding themselves out of work. To some degree, we are all finding it necessary to think more carefully about our daily financial decisions,” New York based Jon Brodsky, US CEO of finder.com strongly maintains. His advice has been featured in U.S. News and World Report and Money Tips.
“This is a time when families across America have been given a powerful learning opportunity on how to live within their means and within limitations that were not present before. Additionally, their children will learn financial realities first hand, in ways that will have a positive impact on their lives as they grow up.”
I asked Brodsky to list what he feels are steps families need to take right now to lessen the financial impact of what the coronavirus has done to America.
Spend Within Your Means
“The most important thing when they are thinking of the coronavirus and their finances is the same thing we tell people every day: Save as much money as you possibly can. Spend within your means and try not to get into debt that is not housing related or otherwise secured, like a car.”
We have all seen row after row of empty supermarket shelves.
Brodsky understands the psychology of fear that leads to this, and recommends, “Just buying a little more than you normally would to make sure you are secure in your needs. For example, if you usually buy one gallon of milk, sure, buy two, but you do not need to buy 50 quarts of things like oat or almond milk, which has a long shelf life and has vanished from supermarket shelves.
“This deprives others of a needed item. We must think of each other at a time like this. Also, the money spent hoarding groceries or toilet paper might very well be needed for some other purpose, so it makes good sense personally to be reasonable.”
For anyone furloughed or who has lost a job due to this pandemic, “Do not delay in applying for relief programs, especially those relating to mortgage payments, rent, car payments, car insurance, home insurance, student loans, any other loan payments or credit card debt. Almost every company is offering some form of relief, and you should take it.”
He underscores the importance of being proactive where loans are concerned: “Call them before you get behind.”
Advice for Small Business
Brodsky points out the stimulus package recently passed by Congress, which has a lifeline for employers who have less than 500 employees. “It is called the SBA Paycheck Protection Program and provides loans which will cover payroll, rent, utilities and other expenses. If the money is used that way, the only thing that has to be paid back is interest on the loan. This can be a real lifesaver for thousands of small businesses across America.”
As CEO of Finder.com, Brodsky has more insight into our economy than most people, and with that in mind, I asked what he sees as the long-term impact of the coronavirus on our country.
“No one should minimize the impact this has and will have on our country, and the staggering loss of life. Yet, we are seeing such things as landlords forgiving rent, the CARES Act, which is extending unemployment insurance benefits, allowing tax credits to employers who keep employees on the job and much more.
“So many of us are faced with having to live off of a lot less, with the reality that unemployment insurance is not full income replacement. Many people who had several jobs are now down to one and a dramatic drop in their income. There are companies which will never come back fully to their pre-coronavirus state.”
Brodsky is positive about the future of American economy:
I do not see a 1930’s style Depression in our future. Rather, I believe the consumer engine will kick back up again. We may see a great deal of innovations coming out of this.
“We may see significant changes in our social safety net. Children who are old enough to be fully aware of what all of this means may be one of the finest generations yet, as they become adults” he concluded.
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.