Coronavirus has changed many aspects of American life. And while this crisis is hopefully temporary and life will soon return to a new normal, the pandemic may very well have a more long-term effect on your own plans for the future or on how you manage money.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has you rethinking things, it's important you take the right steps to make the changes you want to see in your financial situation.
How coronavirus may lead to rethinking your financial goals
Black swan events such as coronavirus often cause you to take stock of your life and financial situation, especially in these unprecedented circumstances where both your health and your financial security are at risk. And with coronavirus leaving millions locked in their homes, the effect of the crisis may be even more profound than normal.
In these troubled times, you may find yourself wishing you had a larger emergency fund or that you weren't dependent on just one employer for your paycheck. Or you may decide that you enjoy your time at home and want to prioritize retiring early.
These new realizations you come to could change your priorities about what to do with your money -- but you'll need to make long-term behavioral changes for your new goals to come to fruition.
How to achieve new objectives you set for yourself
If you're setting new objectives for yourself in light of the coronavirus pandemic, there's a proven way to ensure you implement the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve them.
It starts by setting goals the right way, which means setting SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
If you hope to not be dependent solely on an employer for income, for example, you could set a new goal to develop your own business or to pick up some freelance work in addition to your primary job.
But you don't just want to set a vague goal that you won't achieve. You'd want to specify, for example, that your goal is to find three new clients by Dec. 31, 2020. This would be a reasonable goal, directly relevant to starting a business, and time-bound. You could also easily measure your progress to make sure you're on track with achieving it.
Whether your new goals are to retire early, save more emergency cash, change your investment strategy to better survive market downturns, or do something else specific to your situation, you can go through this process. Just be sure to be detailed, to break big goals down into small ones, and to set a timeline for achieving your plans.
And the good news is, you can do these steps now, while you are thinking about how you want to come out of this crisis and while you have time on your hands during this period of social distancing.
The pandemic may usher in a new normal for you
COVID-19 could change the world in many ways, affecting how people work and shop and even greet friends. If it's caused you to rethink your financial situation, you likely aren't alone.
By following the advice above, hopefully you can make your new financial goals a reality and can effectively re-prioritize your spending to accomplish the things that the crisis clarified are most important to you.