COVID-19 has passed. But why are things still not right?
Question: It has been more than three years since COVID-19 struck. Much of the world has removed their emergency health declarations. Yet, why are things still not back to normal? How can an ordinary individual like me manage financially with all of the global uncertainties around?
Answer: In my July 15, 2020 article, I talked about how the Persian phrase “this too shall pass” can be used to address the turmoil created by the global pandemic. But things have seemingly overshot to the other end of the spectrum.
From fears of a recession during the pandemic, the pain of enduring high inflation is now upon the world with the initial period of recovery being cut short. Russia launched a war against Ukraine, exacerbating the already upended global supply chain. Global alliances are shifting. Nato just accepted Finland while the Brics is adding more countries to its fold. China is digging in on its claims of broader territorial waters while its neighboring countries protest. Even the politics within some nations seem to have been turned upside down.
It is so easy to sarcastically use Gandalf’s line, from the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, of “you shall not pass” to refer to the turmoil created by COVID. And to a certain degree, this turmoil can be seen as a form of long COVID.
In the article I mentioned, I wrote and still stand by the following:
“While an analysis of past economic devastations shows that it takes years to recover, markets are beginning to push up asset prices in anticipation of a miraculous V-shaped recovery, as instantaneous as bringing in light into a dark room at the flip of a switch. Though the development of the vaccine and cure for the virus are in sight, economic recovery might well be U-shaped instead…
… What is clear is that the episode with the virus is now shaping up to be a modern-day version of the flooding during the time of Noah. It is an episode of cleansing, of starting anew, of stopping the making of excuses for past excesses, of doing what is right this time. To a certain extent, we have the almost infinitesimally small virus to thank for these.”
Impatience is the new problem. This was evident with the spike in “revenge spending” after being restrained for a while by the lockdowns. This was especially true for countries where more money was practically printed to support citizens.
As for you, it is not your place to solve the world’s problems. Focus on the little things that are in front of you. More importantly, focus on your family.
The family is the nucleus of society because it is the natural society in which individuals are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. A family is like that tiny drop of water in the following poem written by Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney in 1845:
“Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. So the little moments, humble though they be, make the mighty ages of Eternity. So the little errors lead the soul away from the paths of virtue far in sin to stray. Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, help to make earth happy like the Heaven above.”
With patience, persistence, and confidence, build and preserve your family’s finances through the four pillars of personal finance, namely: cash, debt, risk and wealth management. With cash management, instead of doing bandaging, perform budgeting. With debt management, replace LDL (lousy debt level) with HDL (helpful debt level). With risk management, rather than going through pain and suffering from potential losses, why not choose pain management? And finally with wealth management, in place of an unhealthy diet of risk and return, have a balanced diet of such. In other words, do not wallow in financial hypertension. Go for financial wellness.
You may think that focusing on the small things, like your family, will not go a long way in shaping your finances. Well, you will never get to two if you do not add one to one.
See the importance of little things in Luke 16:10-12: “Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great. If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?” INQ
Send questions via “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service at www.personalfinance.ph, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. Efren Ll. Cruz is a Registered Financial Planner and Director of RFP® Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, bestselling author of personal finance books in the Philippines and a YAMAN Coach™. To consult with a YAMAN Coach™, email [email protected]. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 104th RFP Program this October 2023. To inquire, e-mail [email protected] or text at 09176248110)