KEEPING YOUR FINANCES AFLOAT ABOVE COVID
OFFGRID|Issue 40
Options to Protect Your Assets During Uncertain Times
Dennis Santiago

Americans face challenging financial times as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy. The definition of how society and the economy works is changing as companies shift to increased reliance on telecommuting. A significant fraction of the American workforce may never see an office again. Migrations out of cities to communities offering better lifestyle options for remote workforces is resulting in an active real estate market in suburban and rural areas of the country even as urban centers atrophy. This, in turn, is causing a crisis for commercial real estate and banks as companies begin to take advantage of less need for office space. The middle tier of the consumer economy, small businesses, is cratering under the combined weight of COVID-19 operating restrictions and fewer customers even when those restrictions are relaxed.

Historically, major pandemics take two to three years to work their way through the world population. The record shows multiple waves of the disease rising and falling. It goes on until the sickness works through all of humanity. With a virulent R-Zero transmission factor of 2.3, there’s no reason to believe the epidemiological process isn’t playing out the same way this time. At the time of writing this article, a mere six months of the first wave of COVID-19 have impacted planet Earth.

At the mid-year point of 2020, the world’s nations are once again beginning to see surges of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, prompting a second wave of economic shutdowns across the planet.

For the first wave of COVID-19, the United States threw the might of its economic power into easing the financial impact of the coronavirus on Americans. The CARES Act provided supplemental funds to U.S. taxpayers, subsidized unemployment benefits to the laid-off, distributed Payroll Protection Program funds to help business retain employees, offered mortgage, credit card and rent payment relief, and more. As the second COVID-19 wave hits, the U.S. is once again examining to what degree the nation can, or cannot, tend to the economics and quality of our lives.

Individual Resilience is Our Secret Weapon

The reality check we all need to face though is that government can only do so much. Yes, there are those among us who want to be completely cared for even if it means relinquishing their freedom. But that’s hardly everyone in this nation of 330 million people. There are many more people in this country who value their hardy self-reliance and ability to survive independently. Americans are diverse and come in all kinds of demeanors. U.S. national policy must not only accommodate all of these belief sets, it must find a line and make it clear to people where the support ends and the pull your own weight begins.

If you’re reading this publication, you probably want to pull as much of your own weight as possible because it forms an ethos of pride and self-worth, a critical survival factor for enduring difficult times. As the saying goes, the winner is the last one who panics.

We’ve certainly seen more than our share of people going into frenzies in the first half of 2020. COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under almost every aspect of normal life as we knew it in America. We became refugees from the world we knew and loved. As we cocooned, the adventure turned to cabin fever. The rebellion against restrictions followed, manifesting across every lifestyle and political facet of the American jewel. And, after six months, even some of the strongest among us began to show the effects of long-term stress and uncertainty.

During the great plagues, William Shakespeare wrote “The Sonnets” for his benefactors. They were poems imploring people not to give up hope. Although we can’t possibly outshine his poetic eloquence, we’d like to share a message of hope in our own way — through reinforcing the importance of steadfast preparation.

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