Aiden White, Consolidatedcredit.org
In the brief span of 4 months, Coronavirus taught us many things that financial literacy advocates couldn’t make us realize in the past few years. It taught us various important lessons that we refused to learn and understand in so many years. COVID-19 taught us that life is more precious than anything else. It taught us the value of money. And most importantly, it taught us that one small virus is enough to turn our life upside down.
Let’s look at the essential lessons we learned from Coronavirus and understand the key takeaways. 1. Money and health are our 2 most precious possessions: Coronavirus has made one thing very clear. Money should be saved, and health should be preserved. Both are our most precious possessions. More than 1,65,229 people have died due to CoronaVirus worldwide. The total US death toll has already crossed the 40000 marks, and the number is expected to increase in the future. Social distancing is a must right now. There is no other way out to save lives. Maintaining personal hygiene is equally important. If people would have been cautious right from the beginning, that is from December 2019, then the situation wouldn't have been so bad. It is expected that many lives could have been saved. But, people took it very casually and continued their Christmas and New Year celebrations. They didn't maintain social distancing or avoid huge gatherings. The result is in front of all of us. On the other hand, the Federal government anticipates that there could be a 32% unemployment rate in the country. Around 67 million Americans are at risk of losing their jobs in the future. The Labour Department reported that they received unemployment insurance claims from 5245 million people. People are in a severe financial crisis. From October 2019 to December 2019, everyone was in a complete shopping-spree. The US credit card debt hit $930 billion in that quarter with young Americans (18 to 29 years) having a delinquency rate of 9.36%, which was almost 4% higher than the baby boomers. The delinquency rate among young Americans has been gradually increasing since 2016. The Coronavirus pandemic was not there back then. With so many job losses after COVID-19, it would be very difficult for young Americans to pay off debt right now. Had they borrowed responsibly, paid credit card bills on time, and saved money, the situation wouldn’t have been so grim. Already, 66% of millennials had credit card debt before the pandemic. The figures are now expected to increase further. Emergency funding is now the only lifeline. It's time to find out ways to stop wasting money. It's time to cut down unnecessary expenses and save as much money as we can because the future looks very grim. Pizzas, lemonades, summer camps, and parties can wait. It’s time to save money for paying off debts and having food over the table. Key lessons learned:
1. Youngsters should spend money more responsibly. 2. They should pay credit card bills on time to avoid high delinquency rates. 3. They should save money for emergencies. 4. Everyone should maintain personal hygiene. 5. Everyone should stay at home and avoid huge gatherings.
2. Internet is a must, but should be used cautiously: Coronavirus made us realize that the Internet is our oxygen. Social distancing and lock down
are acceptable. However, if the Internet is shut down even for an hour, that’s not acceptable. It’s as if our life will be stalled completely.
Be it conducting online classes, submitting assignments, doing video chats with friends or working from home, the Internet is required for all of them. Even people who didn’t have access to the Internet applied for new connections in the last few months to study and work online after the government instructed everyone to stay at home to avoid the viral infection.
However, the Internet should be used cautiously since it is not completely safe. The sudden surge of users on the popular video chat platforms has caught the attention of the hackers. They are hacking the confidential information of users to hack their smartphones and computers. So, it is better to use only those video chat apps that have strong security features.
If you can't live without video chatting, then make conference calls to your friends. You can also use video chat apps that have good reviews and who update their security features with time. Give a strong password and sign out after finishing a chat.
Key lessons learned:
1. The Internet is oxygen in this digital world.
2. The Internet is a necessity for both students and working professionals.
3. Many video chat apps are not safe anymore.
3. The cashless society is convenient but not 100% safe:
When you have no option but to stay at home, cashless payments are the only way out. This is the third lesson we learned from the pandemic.
Millions of people have moved to the cashless society after the Coronavirus pandemic. As thousands of people are stuck at home, they are forced to pay utility bills, insurance premiums, rents, subscription fees, etc. through mobile banking apps and various payment wallets.
While it’s true that contactless payments are quite convenient, yet it can’t be denied that they put consumers at financial risk. Scammers can steal all the money from consumers’ accounts within a few clicks. Often, consumers (especially youngsters) save credit card/debit card details on food delivery apps and third-party payment wallets. But how many of those apps and websites are safe?
Many people don’t even realize that they have been a victim of identity theft as the amount stolen is often low. Identity-thieves don’t want people to be aware so that they can steal a bigger amount next time. Although, some identity-thieves don’t wait for that next time.
Youngsters and millennials are the ones who have migrated to a cashless society first. The convenience of getting everything done and delivered within a few clicks has pushed them more toward contactless payments. They must stop saving credit card and debit card details on various retail websites and food delivery apps to avoid fraudulent transactions.
Key lessons learned:
1. Cashless payments are convenient when you’re at home.
2. Cashless payments make you financially vulnerable to fraud.
3. Don’t save your card details in shopping portals.
4. Online classes are the only way to survive: The fourth lesson is that online classes are likely to rule 2020 and beyond. With a massive number of schools shut down, online classes are the only way to communicate and collaborate with students for enhancing their critical thinking power. Online classes are the need of the day. The onus is on teachers to teach students beyond the outlined syllabus and educate them about ways to deal with the pandemic. They should train young minds to handle the after-effects of the viral infection confidently. Key lessons learned: 1. Online classes are the only way to train future generations now. 2. Teachers should enhance the critical thinking power of students. Lessons are of no use if they are not implemented in real life. Even if we can implement one lesson, it’s enough. It will help us to protect ourselves during difficult times. So, let’s promise ourselves that we will change the world with the lessons learned today.
Aiden White is a financial writer who lives in Dudley, Massachusetts. She started her financial journey in 2015 and has been associated with consolidatecreditcard.org for the last 2 years. Through her writing, she has inspired people to overcome their credit card debt problems and solve their personal finance based queries. Being a debt fighter in her personal life, her goal is to share innovative thoughts and knowledge in the debt communities.
Get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.