Discomfort brings the opportunity for learning.
Over the last few months, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the lessons we can learn from the financial struggles we have seen from this virus.
While there are many lessons to be learned, there is one that seems particularly significant.
It is the need for savings.
I believe this lack of savings has shown us some very uncomfortable truths about our money.
If we are paying attention, we can learn a great deal from these trials.
If not, well, we just may continue to live our lives without becoming better because these struggles.
Let’s explore a few things we can learn from this lack of savings.
Firstly, on of my favorite quotes I would like you to keep in mind as you read this post:
“You only find out who’s been swimming naked when the tide goes out. “ –Warren Buffet
The Impact on Business
There is a strong allure – in my opinion – to owning a business.
There is a great deal of POTENTIAL freedom – financial, time, independence, etc. - that can be gained because of it.
But there is also significant risk.
Right now, business owners are seeing this risk first hand.
Within a few weeks of the virus shutting down the economy, many businesses were at risk of never opening their doors again.
Many are still facing that reality.
Think about that, after just a couple of weeks, many businesses risked shutting down.
That means these businesses had little to no savings in place.
Many of us have the misconception that if a business is open, they must be doing well.
The reality is that they are facing the same struggles we see in our own personal finances.
Not the least of these being lack of savings.
Entrepreneurs should be practicing the same financial principles that households do.
Just like households, business need to have 3-6 months of expenses set aside for uncertainty.
This would have solved many of the issues we are seeing today.
Lack of Savings Limits Our Freedom to Choose
Out of all of the issues I believe this should cause us the most concern.
There are two examples that come to mind that I have seen over the last few weeks.
First, are the police officers and the virus.
I have seen numerous accounts as it relates to covid where officers felt trapped into doing something they disagreed with because of their dependence on a pay check.
Accounts of officers who were forced to arrest people who were not supposed to be in public without a mask.
These officers believed deep down that the mandates were unconstitutional, but they had a choice to make.
Feed their families and make the arrest, or risk losing their jobs.
Many had to go against their belief in freedom.
Secondly, the complete insanity and abuse our officers have endured because of these riots.
Again, many were trapped and unable to walk away because of the financial ramifications.
I don’t believe most would have done this - because that is not the kind of people they are.
They want to protect and serve.
But I have seen similar reports about officers feeling cornered because if they didn’t stay and take the abuse, they would lose their jobs.
They had to choose between potentially not going home again to their family, and not having a job.
Thirdly, our school teachers will have a similar choice to make next month.
Many are concerned because they are in the demographic that is most impacted by the virus.
Putting them in a dilemma where they have to choose between a potential health threat and income.
Many may not be able to choose the best option for themselves because of lack of savings.
They may not be able to take a few months off until there is a vaccine.
Savings could have potentially avoided this tough decision.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not advocating quitting because of difficulty.
And I don’t think these officers or teachers should be walking away - that doesn't feel like the American way.
But I do believe when we rely on an income, we give up part of our freedom to choose.
Similarly, many of us go through life hating our jobs and are unable to make a change because of financial dependence.
This sucks the life out of us - but we have little choice but to deal with it.
If we have savings in place, we are giving ourselves more control.
We can make decisions because they are the right thing to do instead of what we have to do to pay our bills.
There is a big difference between these two options.
Savings make a big difference in the way we can respond when these choices come along.
Lack of Savings Adds Undue Pressure
When the virus hit, life changed completely - and pretty much overnight.
The worries started to pile up quickly.
Families were worried about things they hadn’t thought about before.
There was the stress of an unknown virus and its impact.
Parents who were still leaving for work were unsure of what to do with their kids that were no longer in school.
On top of all of it, parents became instant school teachers – a heavy responsibility to say the least.
But what made it worse, the financial struggles.
Many jobs were quickly eliminated or furloughed.
Households found themselves in the same situation businesses did – only having a few weeks of savings.
These financial worries became the biggest worry for many households.
Even for the most financially prepared, the loss of income, savings, retirement, etc. was very daunting.
But those who were more prepared had less worry in this area.
I have talked with many people who shared their relief that they had savings in place.
This allowed them to spend less time worrying about money, and more time preparing and adjusting with their family.
Not all financial worries can be completely eliminated, but having savings in place can make it much easier to handle.
I have NO doubt that savings would have lessened the negative financial impacts we are seeing today.
There would be less worry and stress.
More freedom to choose how we respond to outside influences.
More time to focus on taking care of our families.
Not all economic impacts can be avoided, but the degree to which they affect us can definitely be mitigated.
And from what I have witnessed over the past few months, savings is the first line of defense.
There will be another downturn, so start today by getting this key element of savings in place.
Thanks for reading,
Founder of 1911 Apparel