Tips on how to practice 'financial self-care' during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 1:47 PM, Sep 11, 2020

When you hear “self-care,” you might think of mani-pedis, relaxing facials, or soothing massages. But with millions of people struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic, practicing “financial self-care” is important, too.

Rachelle Beazley of Detroit was working in sales for a food broker when COVID-19 first hit back in March.

“I was lucky I didn’t lose my job – my full-time job – but I did lose my three side hustles,” said Beazley.

She was a dog-sitter, an overnight nanny, and taught workshops on making hand-knitted blankets.

“I think immediately with the pandemic, it was a strain. Like, oh my gosh. I’m not going to have all these financial streams coming in – this extra revenue,” Beazley recalled.

She’d just started working with Ann Arbor financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin – who advises people dealing with financial anxiety to practice five steps of “financial self-care.”

Start Emergency Fund

Bryan-Podvin said the first step is starting an emergency fund – even if you’re only adding a few dollars at a time.

“I know a lot of viewers are going to be like, ‘Lindsay, I don’t even have time to think about an emergency fund. I’m just trying to make ends meet.’ Any time you can scrap away ten-dollars here, 30-dollars there, it again just gives you a little bit of peace of mind that if something were to happen, you’re not totally at zero in that bank account,” she said.

Bryan-Podvin advised Beazley to add up her essential expenses and multiply by three – making that amount her new emergency savings goal. Anything over that would go towards paying off debt.

Insurance, Will & Trust

Her number two recommendation is to set up life insurance – if you don’t have any already – along with a will and trust.

This is particularly important if you are married and have kids in the home under 18.

“I would say get your life insurance first, and then get your will and trust in place,” Bryan-Podvin said.

“That 20, 30, 40-dollars a month can provide out a benefit of anywhere from a quarter-million-dollars to a million dollars. So that again is that peace of mind.”

Explore a Side Hustle

The third step is to explore a side hustle or new ways to make some extra money.

“A lot of us might be taking jobs that we might be over-qualified for, or we might be picking up some odd jobs here and there just to make ends meet,” said Bryan-Podvin.

She said you need to remember that the situation you’re in now will get better. “Going back to that mantra of this is temporary,” she explained.

If you’re looking for ideas, think of the sectors of the economy that are doing well right now.

Food delivery services, tutoring, even COVID-19 compliance consultants – a good opportunity for furloughed health care workers Bryan-Podvin explained.

Give To Others

If you are one of the fortunate ones still working during this health crisis, Bryan-Podvin said you may be experiencing Financial Survivor’s Guilt.

So, her number four step with financial self-care is to give to others -- volunteer, donate, help someone in need. Even small gestures can go a long way in lending support while also making yourself good knowing you’re doing something to help during this pandemic.

“if you’re in a financially stable situation, practicing some gratitude, saying I’m thankful that I have some income coming in and how can I give back to my community in other ways,” Bryan-Podvin said.

Lean On Community

Her fifth suggestion for practicing financial self-care is to lean on community – whether it’s taking turns meal prepping or entertaining the kids in your “pandemic pod.”

“It’s about opening up your house safety to a handful of other people who you know are already practicing safe behaviors to get some additional help.”

Back to Rachelle Beazley.

She took the money she’d previously spent on gas and dining out and saved enough for her emergency fund and paid off two loans.

Then, she leaned into a side hustle!

She started a new business hosting virtual wellness retreats for women.

“I’m not sure if my parachute is going to open just yet but I have to believe in what I’m passionate about,” said Beazley.

Beazley quit her day job on September 1, 2020, to start working on her business – Aloe and Alchemy.

Her next virtual retreat is October 17.

As for financial self-care– Lindsay Bryan-Podvin said you can re-order her five steps to suit where you are in your life.

This story was first reported by Alicia Smith at WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan.