Financial Health Is Workers' Greatest Concern During the Pandemic: How to Improve Yours

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 8, 2021

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Worried about your finances? Here are some key moves to make.

It's natural to worry about money matters from time to time or even all the time. But in a recent MetLife survey, 56% of workers say that since the start of the pandemic, they've been worried about their financial health, more so than their mental, social, and physical health.

In many ways, that's not surprising. The coronavirus crisis spurred an unprecedented unemployment crisis that saw millions of people losing their jobs on a weekly basis when things were at their worst. And while there's been a fair amount of aid over the past 18 months -- stimulus checks, mortgage forbearance, rental assistance, and boosted tax credits -- it's still understandable that today's workers would have their share of money-related worries.

If financial concerns are keeping you up at night, here are a few essential steps to take. And the sooner you do, the better you might feel about your situation.

1. Build or boost your emergency fund

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of having money in savings. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to have an emergency fund that can cover three to six months of essential bills. If your savings aren't there yet, boosting them could be your ticket to more financial security.

Not sure how to add to your savings? If you're already living frugally, a temporary side hustle could be a good solution. There may only be so many expenses you can cut back on, but if you take on a second job, you can use your earnings to pad your bank account.

2. Chip away at unhealthy debt

Many people were in debt before the pandemic began. And many were forced to take on debt once the crisis erupted.

If you're now sitting on a credit card balance, that alone could be causing you a world of financial stress. And so the more you're able to whittle it down, the better.

Just as getting a side hustle could help you boost your emergency savings, so too can it make it possible to pay off debt more quickly. Even if you can't knock out your entire balance, you can lower it so there's less hanging over your head.

3. Grow your job skills

For some people, financial insecurity may stem from job-related insecurity. During the pandemic, a lot of people found themselves out of work unexpectedly, so it makes sense that you might be concerned about getting laid off yourself.

If that's the case, one of the best things you can do is boost your job skills so you're a more well-rounded employee. That alone could make the case for keeping you around if your company is forced to let people go.

Of course, in some cases, you can be the best employee your company has ever hired and still get laid off if the circumstances come down to it. But the more value you bring to your employer, the less likely you'll be to end up on the chopping block.

Financial worries can keep you up at night and impact your mental and physical wellbeing. If you're concerned about your financial health, make these important moves. They could end up changing your outlook for the better.

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