• Harry N. Stout

200- YOLO Personal Finance: A New Trend


In the past week I have started to see articles and podcasts about financial lifestyle changes households are making or are being forced to make after living through the pandemic. I found these reports to be very interesting and wanted to bring them to our subscribers. Let’s look at the polar opposites that are emerging.


YOLO Personal Finance – A New Opportunity


Most people throughout our country have spent over a year in some state of lockdown, restriction or perpetual worry about contracting the virus. Some have lost relatives and friends. On the other hand, a lucky group have remained healthy, are working remotely on a full-time basis, have saved extra cash and are continuing to collect their full compensation packages.


This period of isolation has caused many households to reconsider their lifestyles and money habits. A common question many are asking is — Is this all there is to life? Working, earning money and participating in the daily grind? They are concluding that they want more meaning to their lives. They are deciding to change how they live, where they work, their career and their relationship with money for something more meaningful. Many are deciding to abandon their corporate jobs and are starting businesses or passion projects.


The New York Times recently called this the YOLO economy, in which individuals feel more emboldened and risk prone. YOLO — an acronym for “you only live once” — seems to be the new descriptor for deciding to enjoy life in the short-term without as much thought for the full financial cycle of life.


A recent Microsoft survey finds that 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, with 46% planning to make a major pivot or career transition. “With so much change upending people over the past year, employees are reevaluating priorities, home bases, and their entire lives,” according to the survey. “So, whether it’s due to fewer networking or career advancement opportunities, a new calling, pent-up demand, or a host of pandemic-related struggles, more people are considering their next move.”


Are you one of these people? If you are, you can see that you are not alone. The great money reset driven by the pandemic is underway.


The Impacts of Long-Haul COVID-19: A New Financial Challenge


On the other side of the coin are those people who are experiencing what is called long COVID-19. Let me start this section by stating that I am not a medical professional. What I am learning is that there are a growing number of people who survived COVID-19, but are having continuing medical issues that are not going away. In fact, there are thousands of people who have survived the virus who are reporting that they have medical conditions that are long lasting. These include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and other recurring symptoms. These conditions are so debilitating for some people such that they cannot return to their jobs and are having difficultly making basic ends meet. They also face spiraling medical bills for their condition. In fact, many of these people may be permanently disabled and unable to work.


My hope is that these individuals had some form of health coverage, income protection or disability income coverage to protect themselves. Without these private insurance they face the arduous task of qualifying for state benefits or Social Security disability benefits. For those of you who don’t currently have some form of private income protection coverage, you may want to look into coverage to protect your household.


Summary

The pandemic has caused most of us to revisit our financial values and recurring actions and to reconsider the role money has in our lives. The pandemic’s financial impacts will be long lasting. For some people they have decided to live a different life by choice, while for the COVID-19 long-haulers they face a life of likely diminished health and financial outcomes. I believe we each need to set our own financial values and live our lives accordingly. My only caution is that you must prepare for the unexpected. Insurance coverages and governmental programs only provide limited economic benefits. The pandemic has taught us that more financial self-reliance is needed.



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