Preparing for a Recession: Our Family’s 5 Step Financial Plan

Couple holding hands planning for recession

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This pending recession has thrown our happy family schedule all out of whack.

  • School: Our kid’s school is closed for the next 3 weeks. It’s looking likely that might extend at least 8 weeks and maybe through the rest of the school year.
  • Work: Our President recommends against gatherings of 10 or more so Nicole will more than likely be joining me as we work from home with kids.
  • Money: Although it probably wasn’t smart, I tracked our net worth losses over the past month and we’re down by at least $100,000 (and that is before the crazy stock market activity this week).

I’m sure our situation pales in comparison to other families who may soon be out of work. That’s going to affect a lot of families, small businesses and our country’s economy.

As we figure out what’s next, I wanted to share 5 things our family is doing to deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) season. I hope it helps you as you’re planning for your family. 

1. Shore Up Our Emergency Fund

Nicole and I are closely looking at our budget and our spending this month because we want to tighten things up. With our inability to leave the house, it may be easier than we think because we’re not going to be doing a lot in the coming weeks. 

With the extra money we have, we’re going to reinforce our emergency fund to make sure we get through this near-recession season if we lose our income. Both of us don’t expect to lose our income sources, but we also have no clue what is ahead of us this spring. 

Luckily, we saved up about a year’s worth of expenses when I made my transition out of my career so we have enough to get through this time. We’ve dipped into that a little bit but we’re still in a comfortable-ish position as of today. 

2. Continue Investing According to Plan

Even though the stock market has dipped into a bear market and it looks like a recession is coming, we are investing in the stock market like any other day. 

Nicole and I are long term investors and we know that this situation is eventually going to get better. We haven’t lost any money really … just the value of our shares is lower. 

We will only lose money when we sell. And we’re not selling. We’re going to continue to buy and hopefully get some deals along the way. 

3. Create a Routine at Home

With school canceled, we are trying to figure out how Nicole and I can both work, take care of our kids and make sure they are still learning. If we’re out of school for 8 weeks, that’s some serious brain drain. 

We don’t quite have this figured out yet, but we know it’s going to include a bit of the following:

  • Letting our kids sleep in
  • Giving each other breaks so we don’t go crazy
  • Setting aside time for learning (here’s a free resource from Scholastic)
  • Scheduling time when we’re all doing activities together
  • Getting outside for fresh air and exercise

I have no clue what that daily schedule looks like yet, but I know Nicole and I will figure it out soon. 

4. Be Generous Where It’s Needed

According to CNBC

“… Each day, the National School Lunch Program serves over 30 million children, the School Breakfast Program serves over 14.7 million children and the Child and Adult Care Food Program serves over 6.1 million children.”

With almost 50,000 schools canceled right now, people are worried that a lot of kids are going to go without food. 

We’re fans of Feeding America and their ability to feed our neighbors when it’s needed most. And now it is definitely one of those times. On Saturday, Calvin donated $14 from his Give Jar to Feeding America and Nicole and I followed his lead and donated as well. This allowed us to have a conversation about how important it is to take care of our neighbors in need if we can. 

Zoey donated her money to our local animal shelter. She got back a nice note saying that donations have been very slow lately so Zoey’s $20 was very appreciated. 

If you have the means to give during this time, do so. If not, find other ways to give. 

The Good News Network shared a story of a woman in North Carolina who is offering to get groceries for her elderly neighbors to reduce their exposure to Coronavirus. I think that’s absolutely beautiful. That’s the type of kindness that is going to get us through this season. 

5. Stay Home and Stay in Contact

It’s clear that the best way to beat this virus to stay at home so we can “flatten the curve” and help our neighbors get the care they need in hospitals. 

So that’s what our family is going to do. Stay at home and practice social distancing when we do go out for groceries or for walks. 

We’re going to take advantage of technology though. FaceTime, Skype or Google Chat are great ways to stay in contact without physical contact. 

I received a great idea from my cousin-in-law. He’s coordinating a daily check-in for his kids’ school group that provides activities and fun games for the children to play. Then they’ll send videos of each other doing the activities so they can see their friends. I think that’s a fun way to keep everyone’s spirits up. 

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this pending recession. The news and the current times feel pretty unstable right now, but things are going to get better. 

This is going to pass.


How are you preparing for this potential recession?

Please let us know in the comments below.


Author: Andy Hill

Andy Hill is the host of the Marriage, Kids and Money Podcast which focuses on helping young families build wealth. This 5-star rated podcast was nominated as "Best New Personal Finance Podcast" by Plutus. Andy's advice and personal finance experience have been featured in major media outlets like Business Insider, MarketWatch and NBC News.

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