As states slowly emerge from the Great Lockdown, some public health experts are warning that there could be another spike in COVID-19 cases. While it's not clear when or if there will be a second wave of the coronavirus or how people will react, there's a chance that more stay-at-home orders could be issued.
Now that Americans have lived through this unprecedented public health crisis, many families will want to be more prepared in case a similar situation arises and social distancing once again must be put into practice. Fortunately, there are a few key steps you can take to be ready in case there's another lockdown.
1. Save more money now
A second wave of coronavirus cases could cause economic havoc, especially if businesses are forced to close again. Having extra money in savings will ensure you're able to pay the bills if your income is cut or if you lose your job because of future stay-at-home orders.
Putting aside funds from your COVID-19 stimulus check is one way to up your savings, but you can also add to your emergency fund by cutting your budget or pocketing some of your expanded unemployment benefits authorized by the CARES Act if they mean you're earning more now than you did before the pandemic.
2. Increase retirement contributions if you can
If your job is affected by a second great lockdown, that could also make retirement investing harder, because you could see your income reduced and you could lose access to a company 401(k).
If you're still working, aim to increase your retirement contributions in case your ability to invest is affected later. Likewise, if you've been laid off but have extra money from expanded unemployment benefits, aim to put those funds into an IRA if you're eligible for one.
3. Make sure you're comfortable with your investment strategy
The initial impact of the coronavirus on Wall Street was devastating, with the market crashing and the S&P 500 falling by more than 30% in just over a month's time. While the market has since rallied, many experts have warned that a second Great Lockdown could devastate stocks.
A plunge in the market isn't necessarily cause for concern, as it always recovers over time -- as long as you're invested the right way. That means having a diversified portfolio, having an appropriate percentage of your portfolio in stocks, not investing money you'll need within the next few years, and buying companies you believe in for the long term.
If you're holding shares in companies hoping for a short-term profit that you don't want to get stuck with if there's another crash, or if you're otherwise not confident in your portfolio's ability to withstand more bad news, now may be the ideal time to make a change before another crisis happens.
It never hurts to be prepared
Another lockdown may not happen once states reopen, but there's no way to predict it. The good news is, each of the three steps on this list will help make you more financially secure under any circumstances, so they're smart actions to take even if there are no future lockdowns.
You can't go wrong by being overprepared in case of disaster, so get started on these three steps ASAP.