I just read an article about how everything should shut down in the hopes of containing coronavirus. Travel, sporting events, conferences, schools. Harvard students aren’t coming back to campus, and while we don’t have any local cases of the virus here, do we think we’re better than Harvard? I’m guessing both my husband’s job (at a school) and mine (at a college) will change dramatically before the semester ends.
I hope our area isn’t hit for awhile, because duh, but also because an extra month of school and work puts us closer to planned summer vacation anyway.
As much as I am worried about people getting sick, the hit to the economy seems to have the potential to be devastating. I bought some extra canned goods, like a good little citizen of the apocalypse, but how can I shore our family up against financial pandemic?
Employment. My husband and I are both salaried, but we both work in educational institutions. Schools are closing, colleges are moving online. I expect our paychecks to keep coming but if they don’t? That will be rough. Our main insurance here is through employment diversity: my side hustles are mainly based abroad and 100% remote and online. His side hustles are domestic but also remote. That will help. Our W2 jobs are not even half of our income, and there aren’t any signs of slowdowns in the freelancing, even as much of my work comes from East Asia.
Child care. I’m assuming the schools will close at some point. We’ve got three kids, but they are not toddlers (3, 6, and 10). It’s going to be hard to get work done with everybody underfoot, but because of me working extra hours during the summers and on weekends, they are pretty adept at playing while mama works. They have a few online apps for learning, I am going to look into more. Structure will be key.
Community. If the schools close, I’ll be home. Not everybody has that privilege. We may invite other kids over for child care purposes, to help relieve some pressure and some boredom. This could be a great time for socially isolated community building!
Expenses. Our expenses won’t change much. Car and gas payments will go down, but utilities will go up (thank goodness for the longer days and the solar panels!). We have a lot of money going toward debt, and that won’t change. There may be relief programs for deferment. I’m hoping not to have to worry about this, as we have a long-term overall plan and, for example, deferring a payment to a 0% card just has to be made up for later, within the introductory period. That said, if we have to stop payment on a few debts just to get us through, there is room for us to move down to the minimum payment without trouble.
Supplies. I am a person who typically has at least a 2-week supply of food and non-perishables on hand, so this isn’t a big problem for us. I did buy extra cans for my “if the zombies come” pantry downstairs, but that’s more about soothing my anxiety than anything else. With grocery delivery, which I think won’t shut down, we should be fine there.
Health. Who knows? But we are relatively healthy and most of us are under 45, with my MIL still relatively young, not yet 60. I worry for the larger community more than what is going to happen inside my home.
Morale. I mean, it’s going to be terrible, right? But also we can watch Frozen 2 over and over and jump on the trampoline and learn to sew, and that kind of sounds amazing. Staycation!