Social distancing is the main strategy being used across America to help prevent the virus from spreading. Events have been canceled, gatherings of large groups of people are prohibited, schools have temporarily closed or moved online and nonessential businesses are required to close, reduce their hours or minimize their offerings.
Small and local businesses are likely to suffer greatly, but if communities are vigilant, there are several ways you can still support your favorite spots.
Tip #1: Purchase Gift Cards
Considering buying a gift card for your favorite coffee shop, restaurant or bar to visit at a later time, or get them as gifts for a friend or family member. Some cafes and eateries may even accept payment online, eliminating the need to visit in person.
Tip #2: Buy Local Produce
If your community has a local farmer’s market, visit and stock up on vegetables, fruits or local proteins. If you are a weekly customer, consider purchasing a bit more than usual, as the market may have to close in weeks to come. Freezing, canning or finding creative ways to utilize these local veggies and fruits is another way to spend the extra time allotted from social distancing.
Tip #3: Shop for Products Online
If a restaurant or coffee shop that you love sells products online, consider checking out their offerings and ordering a few. Whether it’s a branded t-shirt, hat or coffee maker, purchasing products from local businesses can help sustain them during the pandemic. You can also consider purchasing artwork or albums online from smaller artists or musicians who will miss out on extra sales from canceled events, art shows and concerts.
Tip #4: Purchase Books from a Local Bookstore
While forms of entertainment are canceled or prohibited, reading is an excellent way to stay busy and productive. Picking up some books from the bookstore for yourself and your family can help small businesses stay afloat. Since more and more stores are closing, it’s a good idea to go as soon as you can or call to see if they’re going online.
Tip #5: Order Food for Delivery or Take-Out
While some restaurants are closing completely, others are still able to offer delivery and take-out options. Consider ordering food from a local restaurant for pick-up, and tip a bit more to help out the workers who will be missing out on a large portion of their pay. You can also opt for delivery, if possible. Some delivery platforms, like Grubhub, are doing things such as eliminating commission fees for independent restaurants.
Tip #6: Donate Your Refund
If you were scheduled to attend an event, concert or show that was canceled, donating your refund back is an immense help to organizations, artists and performers who will no longer be able to exercise a central portion of their livelihood. You can also choose to donate the refunded amount to other individuals, organizations or restaurants.
Tip #7: Help Local Businesses to Market Themselves
Spread the word about your favorite coffee shops, restaurants and stores. You can do this by leaving online reviews, interacting with their social media posts and sharing their accounts with your own following. These small marketing efforts can go a long way when it comes to attracting new patrons.
Preventing the spread of this pandemic requires effort from each individual, state and country. Just as health risks are on the rise, however, the financial implications are also increasingly wearisome. By supporting local businesses in creative ways, you can help sustain your favorite shops, restaurants and bars through the upcoming hardships.
Looking for more guidance on how to be financially stress-free? Schedule a 30-Minute Phone Call with David Hessel, Fiduciary Financial Advisor in Brookfield Wisconsin, here or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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GVCM is an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm, headquartered at N14W23833 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 350, Waukesha, WI 53188. PH: 262.650.1030. David Hessel is an Investment Adviser Representative (“Adviser”) with GVCM. Additional information can be found at: https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Global View Capital Insurance, LTD. (GVCI) insurance services offered through ASH Brokerage and PKS Financial. David Hessel is an Insurance Agent of GVCI. Global View Capital Advisors, LTD is an affiliate of Global View Capital Management, LTD (GVCM). This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.
Written By: Kaitlyn Duchien
We know what you’re probably thinking. “Great. ANOTHER PSA about COVID-19. Just what I wanted to see.” We get it. At Face The Fear, we battled whether or not we should add another voice to the already overwhelming media noise bombarding you from every angle. But, we also felt it would be insensitive to go silent on an issue that is seriously impacting the lives of our audience on a physical, mental, emotional, and financial scale. So – if you’re sick of hearing more about COVID-19 – you have permission to close out of this article and move on with the rest of your day (no hard feelings). But – if you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, or scared about everything happening in the world – stay here, friend. Let’s talk about it openly and share some ideas for how to take care of your body, mind, and wallet.
Unless you’ve been living in complete isolation (oh wait – that’s what you’re supposed to be doing), you already know about what COVID-19 is, how to detect the symptoms, and what preventative measures you can take to keep yourself (and others) safe. In case you need a refresher, you can find all of the most current and factual information from the CDC here. Also, just a friendly reminder, we are all humans and must work as a collective unit to overcome an issue like this on a global scale. That means thinking about the wellbeing of others before yourself. If you have a strong, healthy immune system, take a moment to be grateful for that blessing! But, also acknowledge that this blessing comes with responsibility. While your body might have a supercharged defense system capable of attacking and defeating the virus, others are not so lucky and depend on you to help them stay healthy. Don’t take your health for granted. Show some love for others by washing your hands, cleaning your space, and maybe leaving behind a package of toilet paper for your neighbor?
If today’s news is making you feel like you’ve somehow landed on set of the next zombie apocalypse movie, you’re not alone. Words like “pandemic” and “quarantine” are scary, especially when the last time you heard them was while binge-watching The Walking Dead (no judgement – we’ve been there). Everyone processes information differently, and some may experience higher levels of mental and emotional stress than others. There is no right or wrong way to feel in response to the media messages you are receiving. However, chances are, you’ve experienced a negative impact on your lifestyle to some degree as a result of recent world events. With that said, it is just as important to take care of your emotional health as your physical health. Case in point: research has emerged revealing a correlation between negative emotional responses and lowered immunity. So, let’s take care of our mind and emotions so our body can take care of itself. Here are a few ways to give your mind and soul some TLC (all in the comfort of your own home):
- Find a few new healthy recipes you’d like to try and get cooking! If you’re wanting to avoid the grocery store, try out a meal kit or grocery delivery service. I just received my first box from Imperfect Foods, a company that delivers high quality food deemed “not pretty enough” to be sold in most grocery stores. We received a week’s worth of groceries (including fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and fancy cheeses) all for $52. (P.S. Face The Fear is not sponsored by any food delivery service. We just genuinely like the companies linked above).
- Plan a Facetime date with friends or family! Is there a friend or relative you haven’t chatted with in a while? Now is the perfect opportunity to catch up. Check in on loved ones, share your thoughts and feelings about current world events, and strengthen your support system. You can even get creative by watching a movie, playing a board game you both have at home, or sharing a meal “together” – all over video chat. Technology is a beautiful thing.
- Have you been avoiding the gym because of all the people who never wipe down their machines after use? (You know who you are). Or maybe you’ve been wanting to save some money on a gym membership by starting an at-home workout routine? Here’s your motivation! Physical exercise will not only keep your immune system at the top of it’s game, but it will also provide your brain the endorphins it needs to combat stress. YouTube has millions of free at-home workout videos – from yoga, to strength training, to dance, to Jazzercize. Time to get your Jane Fonda on.
- Unplug. Seriously. Turn off your phone, computer, and TV for an hour. Give your brain a break from the information overload that can so easily lead to emotional exhaustion. While it is important to stay informed about world events, too much information (especially inaccurate information) can be harmful to your overall wellbeing. Instead, use that hour to read a book, watch a movie, start a new project – anything that will completely remove you from the current media madness.
- If stress is severely impacting your ability to perform normal daily activities (such as eating, sleeping, and working), please reach out to a health care professional or contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration at 800-985-5990.
- We’d love to hear your creative ideas for how to take care of your emotional health at home. Share them in the comments below.
Along with all of the media coverage about COVID-19, you’ve probably heard that the stock market had a rough week last week. The S&P 500 dropped 20% from its recent peak, an official signal of a bear market. This is due to the uncertainty that comes with how COVID-19 will affect labor, supply chain, travel, safety, and multiple industries at large (think: cruise lines and hospitality). With the market on a roller-coaster ride, it can be easy to panic and want to pull any invested funds out of the market (such as money in your 401k or IRA). However, a correction is a natural part of the market cycle and actually provides a lot of potential benefits for long-term investors. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a Millennial (or Gen Z) who’s got 40-50+ years until retirement. This means you have 40-50+ years to ride the market roller coaster and eventually retire with a significant return on your initial investment (averaging around a 10% annual return, looking back over the last 30 years. P.S. Past performance does not guarantee future results).
Side note: you might also be hearing that, currently, the stock market is “cheap,” meaning you can buy more stocks with less money. So, as a Millennial, this may be an excellent opportunity to think of increasing the percentage of your 401k or IRA contribution, or opening an investment account for the first time. Ultimately, if you buy into the market when prices are low, you’ll get more bang for your buck (one facet of dollar-cost averaging). Think about it this way: you have $100 to spend on toilet paper. Each roll costs $10, so you can buy 10 rolls. What happens when Walmart has a 50% off sale on toilet paper? Now, each roll only costs $5 and you can buy 20 rolls! (PSA: just because you can buy 20 rolls does not necessarily mean you should). Stocks function in a similar way. When the price of a stock decreases, you can buy more of them with the same amount of money and increase your potential for earnings if you’re willing to hold those stocks over a long period of time. (As always, when it comes to investing, make sure you work with a financial professional to help you achieve your specific financial goals).
For current information about COVID-19: please visit the CDC’s website here.
Got questions? Email us at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to leave a comment sharing how you’ve been taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally!
And remember: WASH YOUR HANDS (not just during a pandemic). Society (and your mother) thanks you.
She asked for a napkin to wipe the spaghetti sauce from her mouth, but all I had was a tissue, so I handed her that. She clumsily wiped her lips and cheeks, missing a few spots, and handed it back to me. She hardly ate at this point—she was so thin and weak, on painkillers, and had lost interest in food. I was happy to oblige when she surprised me by requesting a spaghetti dinner. She only ate about a dozen noodle strands, but it was something and she enjoyed it.
Flashbacks of my mom’s battle with ovarian cancer sneak up on me, sometimes out of the blue, but more often when I’m in the trenches of daily life with my 11-year old son. As I fold his video-game themed t-shirts and sort his endless socks, I sometimes imagine him in my place, with a family of his own, worried about how he’ll care for me if I need it.
I think about how I traveled to my parent’s house after a full day’s work at least three days a week (and on weekends) to give my poor dad a few hours of relief. After caring for my mom for more than two years, his skin was pale and his usual sparkling smile had dimmed. Even his posture was noticeably different; the gravity of being my mom’s full-time caregiver had weighed down his body, mind, and most importantly his heart.
At this point, my mother was dependent on my father, brother, and me to help her with dressing, bathing, eating, and getting in and out of bed. My parents didn’t have any private insurance to cover such services, so we all pitched in. My brother and I had long since left the nest and were leading our own adult lives in different cities. Thankfully, we were still close enough to help ease my dad’s burden and be there for our mother as her long battle with ovarian cancer began to enter its final chapter.
My father owned his own printing business for more than four decades. When my mom first got sick, he still worked full-time. As her condition worsened over the course of two years and he struggled to balance her needs, he made the difficult decision to sell his business and work for the buyers part-time. Eventually, he was forced to give up working entirely.
The financial hit my parents took during this period was not nearly as damaging as the mental and emotional toll it took on my father. He was a very extroverted guy and work was one of his regular social outlets. When he gave that up and was home with my mom full-time, he in large part stopped being himself. My mom didn’t want people to know she was sick, so that meant my dad didn’t have support outside of our immediate family. As for me and my brother, we struggled with balancing my mom’s care with full-time jobs and relationships, while managing the stress, sadness, and guilt that often goes along with having a loved one with a chronic health condition for which there is no easy fix.
My story is not unique. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, taking care of a loved one is a reality for more than 40 million Americans who provide an estimated value of $470 billion a year in unpaid caregiving services. Many of these people also fall into the “sandwich generation” and are squeezed between caring for both their parents and children at home. In fact, a recent survey from T. Rowe Price found that 35 percent of parents with 8- to 14-year-old kids are also caring for an aging family member. Imagine having to ensure 24-hour care for a loved one while working and maintaining all of your regular parenting duties. It’s a lot to expect of anyone.
While being able to provide care is in some ways a blessing and most are happy to do it, it’s not easy. The physical and emotional burden of caregiving is somewhat obvious, but it also has a financial impact. According to the same AARP study, family caregivers over the age of 50 who leave the workforce to care for a parent incur average income and benefit losses of more than $300,000.
As I reflect on my own experiences with family caregiving, I shudder to think about my son being in my shoes one day. While I know he’d willingly do whatever might be needed for his dear old mom, it’s not a responsibility I want him to bear, especially not alone. I’d rather he have the luxury of being able to manage my care rather than having to provide it himself.
I’m fortunate to work for a company that has taught me the value of creating a plan and exposed me to the many options that exist to help make caregiving a little easier on those who provide it. I’ve learned that planning ahead and evaluating options to cover some of the cost of future care can not only ease the burden on family members, but also help protect retirement savings by providing a dedicated source of funds to cover care costs. I also know that thinking about and planning for these things now, while I’m young and healthy, will give me and my family more options at a lower cost than if we put it off and hope that we never have to deal with it.
If there was any blessing in my family’s caregiving experience, it was that my mom was able to spend her last days in the place she felt most comfortable—at home. I didn’t know it at the time, but that night I served her spaghetti was the last night I saw her alive. As I walked out of my parent’s bedroom at the end of that visit, my mom told me something that I have carried with me ever since. Her last gift to me was to share her philosophy and an indication of her faith despite knowing she was very short on time. She said, “Meredith, kick your feet up and don’t worry about a thing. I love you.” I love you too mom. So much.
When used responsibly, a credit card can help you finance new purchases, shop securely or earn rewards in exchange for spending. But with high APRs and a range of fees, they can also be risky. Here’s a closer look at modern credit cards and what you need to know about them.
Some loans – such as purchases you make on a charge card – are expected to be repaid quickly. For example, a charge card requires you to pay off your purchases in full when you receive your monthly bill.
Other loans, such as credit cards, give you more time to pay off your purchases and only require you to pay a minimum amount each month. In exchange for allowing you to carry over your debt from month-to-month, your credit card will charge you interest.
The amount of interest you’re charged will depend on the card you choose and your credit history. For example, travel cards tend to charge higher amounts of interest. So do cards that are designed for consumers with low credit scores.
Unlike charge cards and installment loans, credit cards give you a revolving line of credit (often called your credit limit) that allows you to borrow up to a certain amount.
For example, if you have a $5,000 credit limit, you’ll be allowed to charge any amount you want, up to that $5,000 limit. However, you won’t be able to charge any more than $5,000 until you’ve paid down your balance or have been given a credit limit increase.
Common credit card charges
Most credit cards charge a wide range of fees. However, the fees are typically tied to optional services, such as balance transfers, cash advances and revolving balances. As a result, you may not have to pay any fees at all if you use a no annual fee credit card, pay off your purchases in full each month and only use your card to make new purchases.
Here are some common charges you might encounter on your credit card:
- Standard APR: Your annual percentage rate (APR) determines the amount of interest you’ll be expected to pay if you carry a balance from one month to the next. Most credit cards are variable-rate credit cards, meaning their APRs are tied to a benchmark interest rate called the prime rate. However, some cards are fixed-rate credit cards and so their APRs are unaffected by the prime rate.
- Balance Transfer APR: If you transfer an old balance to your new credit card, your balance transfer APR will determine how much interest you’re charged on your transferred balance.
- Cash Advance APR: If you borrow cash from your credit card – for example, by writing a credit card check or taking out cash from an ATM – you’ll be charged a special cash advance APR that’s often significantly higher than your regular APR.
- Penalty APR: Your credit card issuer may also charge a higher APR, called a penalty APR, if you fall behind on payments.
- Annual fee: Some credit cards charge a fee just for owning the card. For example, if you open a rewards card with extra generous benefits or get a secured card for consumers with bad credit, you may be charged an annual fee.
- Balance transfer fee: If you transfer debt onto your new credit card, your card issuer may charge you a percentage of the total amount you transferred. Balance transfer cards usually charge a fee of $5-10 or 3-5% of the transferred balance.
- Cash advance fee: Your card issuer will also charge you a percentage of the amount you borrowed if you take out a cash advance.
- Foreign transaction fee: Some credit card issuers also charge a percentage of any transaction that you make abroad or in a foreign currency. Foreign transaction fees tend to be 3% of the purchase. If you’re going to be traveling overseas, a card with no foreign transaction fees can help you save.
- Late payment fee: Your credit card issuer may also charge you a fee each time you pay your bill after your payment due date. Under federal law, a late payment fee can’t exceed $40.
See related: Picking the right credit card
Credit card benefits and promotions
Many card issuers also add special promotions and benefits to their credit cards in order to attract new customers and encourage existing cardholders to continue using their cards. As a result, your card may offer:
- An introductory APR: Some credit cards offer new cardholders a low or 0% APR on new purchases for a set period. For example, a card may offer to temporarily waive interest for a year or more.
- An introductory balance transfer APR: Some credit cards also offer a promotional interest rate on balances you transferred from other loans or cards. For example, you may be given a year or more to pay off the transferred balance before you’re charged any interest.
- Fee waivers: To attract customers, some credit cards waive common fees, such as balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees.
- Rewards: Many cards also offer a rewards program. For example, you may be offered cash back, points or travel miles in exchange for using your credit card.
- Sign-up bonuses: Some credit cards also offer a one-time rewards or cash back bonus when you first sign up for a credit card. They often require you to spend a certain amount in a set time period in order to receive the bonus.
- Ongoing bonuses: A credit card may also offer other kinds of bonuses throughout the year. Depending on the card, you may receive a bonus when you redeem your rewards or when you spend a certain amount.
- Credit card benefits: In addition, many credit cards offer purchase protection and travel insurance benefits, such as extended warranty, car rental insurance and travel accident insurance. Most cards also offer zero liability fraud protection, so you don’t have to worry about losing money if your card information is stolen.
- Additional card perks: Some rewards cards with annual fees also offer other credit card benefits, such as travel credits, airport lounge access and more.
Credit cards are also subject to a number of consumer protection laws, including:
- The Credit CARD Act of 2009: This law offers a number of protections for consumers, including protection from sudden rate increases and excessive fees.
- The Fair Credit Billing Act: Among other protections, this law gives consumers the right to dispute fraudulent or inaccurate charges.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act: This law gives consumers the right to access their credit reports once per year from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – for free through AnnualCreditReport.com and dispute errors on their reports.
See related: 8 things you must know about credit card debt
How to get a credit card
You’ll need an established credit history, with a track record of on-time payments, in order to qualify for most credit cards. However, some credit cards are easier to get – even if you’ve never used credit before.
Secured credit cards are designed to help cardholders build a positive credit history. In exchange for a refundable deposit to help secure the loan, you’ll be given a card that you can use to make a limited number of purchases. Over time, you’ll build a positive credit history by making on-time payments.
Once you’ve built up a track record of using credit responsibly, you’ll eventually be able to qualify for other cards – including cards that offer rewards and other benefits.
Kelly Dilworth is a former staff reporter at CreditCards.com. She began her career in journalism at The Atlantic in 2007, then detoured into nonfiction book publishing for several years. She returned to journalism in 2010 and since then has written about everything from 20-somethings with Herculean credit scores to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions.