The COVID-19 health emergency situation has offered Americans, and others across the world a number of challenges and opportunities. To be honest with you, I sort of wish I had faced some sort of crisis like this when I was a teenager. Before you go off on me, let me explain.
If played right, this tragedy that is continuing to unfold and swallow each one of us up in its own unique way, could be a blessing in disguise for millennials and those who may become known as the “quaran-teens” 13 or 14 years from now.
This tragedy, which by the way, I had vowed not to write about in this column again, should be used as a serious teaching tool about the importance of having the proverbial rainy day fund. I’m not sure how many small businesses or individuals are going to fall financial prey to COVID-19. My hope is that it will be much fewer than I fear.
Point is ... all of us, individuals and businesses alike, need to have some funds socked away for times like these. The only question is how much? Should it be 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or even 120 days?
Confession. I don’t. I’ve worked for small, or relatively small, mom and pop ownership media companies for my entire life. There was never a 401K (the RN-T does offer one, but since I came over so late in my career I chose not to be a part of it), no profit-sharing plans, no employee stock options as part of the pay package.
I DEEPLY regret that I have not been able to sock away cash reserves in the event of a situation like the one the entire country is going through right now.
Did you get that? “The entire country is going through right now.”
I never had any of those financial discussions with my mom or dad. Parents — please, I implore you to have those conversation with your children right now. They are captives in the living room and this is a great time to have some of those face-to-face conversations that can score points in impressionable minds.
Yes, this situation is going to pass. The President predicted this would “wash through” the country by July or August. Let me pull out my left hand and count. March, April, May, June, July and August. That’s six months isn’t it?
Six more months! Can you imagine?
Actually I am a little more optimistic than that. I’m not an epidemiologist or an economist but I know from experience that a virus like this doesn’t spread as rampantly during the summer months, and those will be here soon.
I also believe that as a nation, we have done a lot of things to reduce the impact that perhaps did not get done quickly enough in China or Italy. Only time will provide the answer to that, but I am hopeful that we can put COVID-19 in the rear view mirror by sometime in, maybe late May or June. But that’s still another two to three months down the road.
One of the great challenges during this situation, at least from a member of the media’s perspective, is that with everybody working from their laptop and/or smartphone, even getting a hold of someone, particularly those in government, is extremely difficult.
I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus by naming them here and now, but I tried to reach several officials this past Thursday and every call to their cell number went directly to voicemail. One of them had a mailbox that was full and I couldn’t even leave a message.
To their credit, two of the three did eventually call back. Thanks! Cell phones have become a necessary tool, but I recognize that a personal cell number is something a lot of public officials jealously guard. I get that. Now however, they have become the equivalent of a landline, of perhaps a life line.
If this keeps up too many more weeks, I’m going to go crazy!