For better or worse, 2020 is a defining year that brought us a lot of valuable life lessons.
There’s no doubt about it — the year 2020 presented loads of unforeseen challenges that wreaked havoc on everyone’s plans. We plunged into the year realizing that anything can happen at a moment’s notice.
COVID-19 came and conquered the world. It’s evident as countries shut down their borders, stock markets came plummeting, businesses prematurely closed, unemployment skyrocketed, and lonely deaths in forlorn hospital rooms struck terrors in each and every household.
Early this year, I prayed for my loved ones to be spared from the crippling effects of the pandemic. I also included my clients in my prayers hoping that they would be able to weather the storm the pandemic would bring to their businesses just to keep me employed. Fortunately, our family has so far withstood everything; there’s food on the table; there’s a roof over our heads, and we’re able to maintain our bodies in good shape. God never left our side.
If this crazy year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. Sure, it’s difficult to look at the bright side of 2020 and think about the lessons to take away from it, but there are a few lessons to be learned especially when it comes to preparing your life for the unknown future ahead.
I thank 2020 for teaching me the following things…
Don’t rely on a single source of income.
I was among the lucky ones who regularly got my paycheck throughout the year and I am very much thankful for that. However, millions of others were not so lucky with businesses having to close and lay off people or cut their working hours short.
Although I was anxious about losing my job at any time, I knew I still have other streams of income to rely on. One upside of 2020 was that online shopping became the norm and my small e-commerce business in the USA became my fallback. I did not have to worry too much as others did because my business was doing extraordinarily well. With my income both from my jobs as a virtual assistant and my e-commerce business, I was able to double up my income despite the global financial crisis. Not only was I able to save the family from hunger, but I was also able to help in financing the construction of our two-story home in the province.
The 2020 pandemic had reinforced the reality that I shouldn’t just rely on a single source of income if I want protection and flexibility in an uncertain future. Secure yourself financially by always being prepared for any impact to your income.
Always save for an emergency
When we think about emergency situations, it’s easy for us to imagine using it only for car repairs, ER visits, and layoffs. We don’t usually think about global health crises like COVID-19 and city-wide shutdowns. It only goes to show that financial distresses can take on many forms. Hence, we must always be prepared.
I’m not going to lie but my savings have taken quite a few hits to supplement the immediate needs of the household. Financial emergencies are inevitable and being prepared when these times come is what savings are for.
Those who have built their emergency savings have a higher chance to endure it all. If you’ll be out of a job for a while, an emergency fund could be your lifeline.
Later in the year, I decided to sign up for life insurance when a friend messaged me about it. Although costly, I knew it was the right thing to do given the uncertainties this year has brought upon us. We all heard a lot of sob stories on social media about the sudden passing of friends and relatives whose lives were taken by the coronavirus. I believe in leaving something behind for my family in the event of my passing. God forbid! Furthermore, the policy I got guarantees that I get cash benefits in case of an accident, disability, or critical illness.
Invest in your well-being
Invest in yourself first! This means taking care of yourself physically and mentally. You will not become a money-making and budgeting machine if you are too sickly to hustle. Eat the right food, take your vitamins and supplements, and get into regular exercise. The goal is to be strong and never get sick.
Once the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and a new gym opened near where we live, we immediately signed up for a membership. It had been many years since my last gym workout and it felt great to be back.
You deserve to invest in your well-being; make it a priority to set aside some of your hard-earned money to give back to yourself.
Most of us would remember 2020 as the worst year we’ve known and experienced in history; however, not many would admit how it has truly provided a gift of life lessons. We can learn from them and do better by securing our future the next time we face a disruption of this magnitude.
How about you? What did 2020 teach you?