- Nearly half of U.S. adults have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
- A new NFCC survey finds situations that immensely exacerbate financial worries include not having enough savings, losing a job and the inability to pay debts.
- Many large health insurance companies as well as Medicare have increased their capacity and coverage for telehealth visits with mental health providers.
Here are some tips from the mental health and financial experts on how best to cope with these common money stressors.
1. Not enough savings
If you find yourself struggling financially and have a limited emergency fund — or none at all — focus instead on what you can control. “First, carefully examine your expenses and reprioritize your spending. Cut out everything but the essentials , such as, mortgage or rent, food, utilities and insurance,” said author and certified financial planner Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, who is also president of the Charles Schwab Foundation. “If you’re unable to pay a bill, contact your creditors right away. They may be willing to negotiate a payment schedule or waive late fees.
2. Job loss
If you haven’t already, file for unemployment benefits immediately through your state’s program. There will likely be a lag time until you receive your first check.
- Make sure you still have health insurance. You could switch to COBRA to receive the same coverage you had under your employer for the next 18 months, but you have to pay for it yourself at a considerably higher cost than you were paying as an employee. “Do some comparison-shopping.”
- Consider other jobs that you may be able to pursue. Use your down time to learn a new skill or start that side-hustle. Education, health care, and technology companies are among some of the industries hiring remote workers right now.
3. Inability to pay your debts
Nearly half of U.S. adults currently have credit card debt and 13% of them are not paying anything at all or don’t have a plan on how to pay, according to a report by CreditCards.com.
Consider temporarily paying only the minimum on mortgage/rent, car loans and student loans as well, said Schwab-Pomerantz, whose Schwab MoneyWise website has a list of resources to help during the Covid-19 crisis. More help could be available. You may be able to lower or suspend your mortgage payments for up to one year in some cases. Contact your lender. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, talk to your landlord about your situation and your options. Some states and municipalities are providing eviction restrictions for impacted individuals. Many utilities and phone companies have stopped cutting off services for nonpayment. Call them.
For more information, click here.
- Ask students how the corona virus has affected them, their relatives, or friends. What steps have they taken to minimize the effects of the corona virus?
- List the steps to take if you don’t have enough emergency funds to get through this financial difficult period.
- How are millions of Americans coping with stress and anxiety as they deal with the fear and reality of death and disease due to the corona virus pandemic?
- Discuss the economic and emotional worries that are keeping American awake at night.
Lock-downs, sheltering in, and remote working have increased online and virtual interviews. To prepare for this activity, consider these suggestions from career planning experts.
- Some things haven’t changed. Maintain a professional appearance. Wear solid colors; stripes and patterns can be distracting.
- Plan a quiet environment. Keep the door and windows closed; silence your cell phone. Close other sites on your computer to avoid pop-ups and maintain focus. Remove pets and children from the area to prevent distractions.
- Select an appropriate background. Clutter and other home items should be out of sight. Set up a blank background that doesn’t clash with your clothing color.
- Use a small chair. Check your lighting to avoid shadows and glares. Natural light is usually best, but beware of direct backlighting, like a window behind you.
- Choose an appropriate camera angle so the interviewer can clearly see you. Avoid using a phone for a video interview.
- Test in advance and practice. Try out the software, and install a backup copy on a second device. Do a test run before the interview day to verify that audio, video, and lighting are appropriate. Record your practice session to view how you might improve.
- Check your time, especially if in a different time zone.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera. Set notes on the wall behind the screen with reminders of key points and questions to ask.
- Show energy and enthusiasm. Move around and do light exercises before you start.
LinkedIn has introduced software when preparing for a virtual interview. Artificial intelligence programs give feedback on practice answers for common questions. The critique includes an assessment on pacing, use of filler words, and phrases to avoid.
For additional information on virtual interviews, go to:
- Have students practice their interview skills for a virtual interview.
- Have students talk to others about methods used to prepare for an interview.
- What are the main differences between an in-person and virtual interview?
- Describe benefits and drawback that might be present when using artificial intelligence to prepare for a virtual interview.
When considering a career change, the following financial suggestions are offered:
- have an appropriate amount of savings for unexpected expenses during the transition.
- create a budget to live frugally; cut living costs to be prepared for sudden expenses.
- reassess your investment portfolio to reduce risk exposure and possibly eliminate fees.
- seek advice from a financial advisor.
- determine how a career switch might impact your ability to save.
For additional information on financial advice when changing careers, click here.
- Have students talk to a person who recently changed jobs to obtain information about their experiences.
- Have students create a video presentation with suggested actions when planning to change careers.
- What relationship exists between a person’s career choice and money management activities?
- Describe additional financial planning actions that might be appropriate when considering a career change.
Before a person views your resume, it might be scanned by a computer to screen your qualifications.
Career experts suggest preparing your resume for three audiences: a computer screening program, a human resources specialist, and the hiring manager.
To pass the test of automatic resume scanners, consider these suggestions:
- Be sure to include your contact information, and avoid putting required information in the heading where it might be missed by the scanner.
- Avoid fancy formats and fonts. Use a professional presentation. Bullets are suggested for an organized, easy-to-read appearance.
- Emphasize keywords that reflect your competencies and experiences.
- Connect to the job description. Use the requirements and responsibilities of an employment position as a guide for presenting your background, skills, and accomplishments. Avoid a generic resume; tailor your resume to the specific position. Especially look for keywords that are repeated in the job description.
- Use clear job titles. Adapt and simplify previous job titles to fit generally-accepted labels in an industry.
- Seek guidance. Ask for assistance from career development centers, professional colleagues, friends, and others who can help you prepare a resume appropriate for scanning software.
Of special note, job applicants with military experience should match job description keywords to their military service. They should also emphasize and communicate their background so the resume scanning software will easily recognize their employment competencies.
For additional information on automatic resume scanners, click here.
- Have students create a resume for a specific job description to connect their background to the available position.
- Have students talk to a few people to obtain suggestions for improving their resumes.
- Based on selected job descriptions, name keywords that might be appropriate to use in a resume for those positions.
- List various sources that might be used to obtain resume preparation assistance.
While many savings, investment, and retirement plans are available to achieve financial goals, other actions are possible to achieve personal ambitions. Financial advisors and counselors also recommend these actions:
- Learn a new skill, which can result in time away from shopping or expanding your career and income potential.
- Invest in friendships that does not involve a major monetary requirement as many free and low-cost activities are available.
- Participate in a reading challenge at your local library or through a community organization.
- Create art by getting involved with writing, photography, drawing, or sculpture through a community-based group.
Many activities are available to invest your time and energy without spending much money.
For additional information on non-financial goals, click here.
- Have students list free and low-cost activities that can enhance personal and career development.
- Have students talk to others for additional suggestions for free and cost-cost personal and career development activities.
- What factors might a person consider when selecting an activity to enhance personal and career development?
- Describe personal development activities that could result in enhanced career and income potential.
Hacks – skills and shortcuts – are used in many life settings. For personal finance, here are some tips that can help stop money leakages:
- Only use credit cards with financial advantages, such as cashback; always pay off credit card balances on time.
- Making weekly payments, instead of monthly, helps to save interest and reduces the amount owed faster.
- Pay off loans/debts with the highest interest rates first.
- You might consider paying off a debt with another loan if the new loan has a much lower interest rate.
- When shopping online, leave the item in the cart for several days or weeks; the price may be lower or you may decide you don’t really need the item.
- Consider bulk purchases with friends to qualify for free shipping.
- Take advantage of seasonal sales.
- Unsubscribe from email offers.
- Avoid household clutter to save time and money.
- Cook your own meals; online videos and recipes offer fast, easy meals.
- Talk to others for investment advice.
For additional information on personal finance hacks, click here.
- Have students tell their personal experience with tech, travel, or personal finance hacks.
- Have students create a video to dramatize various personal finance hacks.
- How would you decide if a personal hack will be of value to you?
- Describe actions that might be used to communicate personal finance hacks to others.
Conducting an annual review of your career situation is vital for long-term success and satisfaction. To achieve career goals, avoid these mistakes:
- Ignoring relationships within your organization. Connections with co-workers and managers is often reported as one of the most important factors for career advancement.
- Not getting proper rest. Sacrificing sleep for achieving career goals can be very dangerous, such as creating stress in your relationships with co-workers and hindering job performance.
- Becoming too diversified. Select an area of expertise to focus your efforts and energy.
- Limiting your network activities. Expanding and connecting with contacts allows you to be aware of more opportunities while also developing awareness of industry trends.
- Not being care in your social life. With social media, many aspects of your private life become public. Be cautious of what you post online.
For additional information on career mistakes, click here.
- Have students talk with friends about their experiences with these career mistakes.
- Have students suggest actions for avoiding these career mistakes.
- What situations have you heard of that resulted in limited career advancement?
- Describe other possible career mistakes that might be avoided.
“The war for talent that obsesses tech companies is intensifying and is about to spread economywide.”
This Fortune article is a must read for job seekers in today’s world, Geoff Colvin explains that after nine years of sluggish economic growth, the economy has turned the corner and creating jobs at a record pace. The hiring boom is not only creating opportunities for unemployed workers, but also currently-employed workers who want to get a better or higher-paying jobs.
In the current job market, employers are seeking talented employees that have a great future. Traits that include creativity, the willingness to work hard, and love of learning often help employers evaluate potential. Digital skills are very important, but not restricted to just tech companies. For example, many retailers are hiring workers who can use digital skills to reach customers in new ways.
Human skills are also more important than in the past. Companies want workers to feel they’re part of the organization and a valued asset. These “same people” skills are very important for workers applying for management positions.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Reinforce that employers want workers who have the knowledge and skills that they need, but also are willing to work hard, become part of the organization, and keep learning once they get the job.
- How do you develop the traits and skills so that employers are willing to pay you a salary?
- If you were an employer, how would you choose between job applicants applying for a customer service position at American Airlines? What traits and skills are most important?
Nearly everyone has minor stumbles in a job interview. However, these flaws can be overcome with actions to engage the interviewer. Some ways to make yourself memorable in an interview include:
- Start the interview with a question or comment that reflects your preparation about the company.
- As appropriate, answer the questions you are asked with a question. This approach is usually only valid when talking with operating staff, but not with a human resources person.
- Remember to emphasize your awareness and potential contributions to the needs of the company, including ideas for addressing current concerns and market opportunities. Rather than a specific solution, communicate your sensitivity and awareness of their problems.
- Show your humanness through humor, openness, and vulnerability.
- Prepare with strong research on the company that allows you to better answer expected questions and to interact as you discuss your experiences and potential organizational contributions.
- Think and talk like a consultant to communicate confidence and competency.
For additional information on strong interview impression, click here.
- Have students role play situations interview situations that they might encounter when applying for a job.
- Have students create responses to potential interview questions based on the suggestions in this article.
- How might the advice offered in this article be used when you are in an interview situation?
- Describe some common mistakes people might make in interviews. Explain actions to overcome these mistakes.
Natural disasters create a need for unique actions. After physical safety is assured, some of the activities related to finances include:
- contacting your insurance company – request a copy of your policy, take photos and videos to document your claim.
- registering for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.
- talking with your mortgage lender and credit card companies since you may not be able to make upcoming payments on time.
- contacting utility companies to suspend service if you will not be living in your home due to damage.
Beware of various scams that surface after natural disasters. These frauds can include phony repairs, deceptive contractors, requiring up-front fees, fake charities, and misrepresenting oneself as an insurance company agent or government representative to obtain personal information.
Assistance for the personal and financial chaos created by a hurricane or other natural disaster may be obtained from these organizations:
For additional information on financial actions for disasters, click here.
- Have students role play situations that might require actions such as those described in this article.
- Have students create a video with suggestions to take when encountering a natural disaster.
- How might the advice offered in this article be communicated to people who are victims of a natural disaster?
- Describe common mistakes people might make when encountering a natural disaster.