CNBC Make It is posting a new financial task to tackle each day for a month. These are all meant to be simple, time-sensitive activities to take your mind off of the news for a moment and, hopefully, put you on sturdier financial footing. This is day 25 of 30.
Just a few months ago, millions of people made New Year’s resolutions to better themselves in 2020. Maybe it was to actually keep up a gym routine or get a better paying job.
But January seems like a long time ago now. The coronavirus pandemic has changed virtually everyone’s daily lives, forcing millions out of work and keeping most people stuck at home. While some people have claimed it’s a good time to be productive, many others have more important, basic things to think about, like paying rent and protecting their loved ones from illness.
Today, reevaluate your financial goals for 2020. Rather than fretting over goals you set at the beginning of the year, such as hitting a certain number in your savings account or maxing out your retirement contributions, give yourself some grace. Everyone is operating under extraordinary circumstances right now. Even if you still have a stable income, you’re dealing with stress, anxiety and possibly illness and grief. It’s okay not to reach every financial goal in the coming months.
“Taking time to rest and giving ourselves grace to keep going is so important,” Andrea Ferrero, co-founder of personal finance site Pockets Change, tells CNBC Make It. “It’s easy to get stuck ‘shoulding’ on ourselves, feeling shame about not reaching some goal or version of ourselves.”
That’s especially true if you had a certain investing goal, Dan Keady, chief financial planning strategist at TIAA, tells CNBC Make It. Your accounts have likely taken a hit in recent weeks and checking in on them and expecting them to live up to expectations won’t make you feel better.
“Feeling anxious is completely understandable right now,” says Keady. “But as tempting as it might be, don’t look at your retirement accounts now. Checking your investment balance every day may add to your anxiety.”
Instead, he suggests taking charge of things you can control, like making a budget and understanding your cash flow. Those are simple, manageable tasks that can ease anxiety.
Rather than shaming yourself for goals that may be out of reach for now, “be real” about where you actually are and where you want to eventually be, Ferrero says.
“The timelines might shift, you might change goals entirely,” she says. “No matter what your process looks like, it’s okay to feel all the feels, just keep taking action toward the things that matter to you.”
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