Earn Entrepreneurship

HerMoney Podcast Episode 211: Small Businesses And Coronavirus: How To Support Entrepreneurs, And How They Can Thrive

Kathryn Tuggle  |  April 29, 2020

A guide for keeping the entrepreneurs we love afloat, and suggestions for how business owners can succeed during the coronavirus downturn.

Things are rough right now for millions of Americans who are out of work and facing household budget cuts, but perhaps no subset of our population has been hit harder than small business owners. Most of us have entrepreneurs in our lives in some capacity (or are entrepreneurs ourselves!), and virtually all of them are concerned about the future. According to a special report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Coronavirus and Small Businesses, 54% of all small businesses report they are closed or could close within the coming weeks, and 51% of retailers believe their business can continue operating no more than six months without shutting down permanently. 

Of course all of our worries are exacerbated by the fact that no one knows when we’ll be able to return to “normal,” or what it might look like once it arrives. To help us sort through all this is Scott Omelianuk, Editor-In-Chief of Inc. Magazine, which is commonly referred to by entrepreneurs as the “small business bible.” In this episode, Scott and Jean dive into the big questions that are on all our minds, which are: What can we do now, and in the months to come, to help the small businesses in our lives succeed, and make it through this downturn? And also, if you’re an entrepreneur, what are the best things you can do to weather this storm? 

Scott says that when it comes to supporting the small businesses we know and love, we can’t “let out of sight be out of mind.” In other words, we shouldn’t just default to ordering everything on Amazon, even if we think a local business is closed. We need to pick up the phone, call them, and find out if they’re open and have the item we need in stock. “Leave a message if you have to,” Scott says. We all need to remember that we are (and will be, in the months to come) shaping the world we want to live in with our wallets. “We don’t want to live in a world with two or three retailers,” Scott says, giving a shout-out to his local tailor who he knows and loves. (Scott says he paid his tailor in advance for work that he’ll do “eventually,” and suggests that anyone who has the means should write those checks now). 

Scott and Jean also discuss things like ordering takeout and curbside delivery from our favorite restaurants, buying gift cards from beloved retailers and eateries, and etiquette for tipping during this time. Every little bit we can do to offer small businesses support is appreciated, but Scott also reminds us that this isn’t the first time that entrepreneurs have faced frightening circumstances — they know how to deploy creativity in ways that allow them to evolve. 

When it comes to lessons for entrepreneurs during this time, Scott discusses the additional funding that’s been made available as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and offers tips for how to apply if you’re in need. The pair also talk about what the world may look like when businesses start to reopen and we all come back from this. Hopefully, all of America will come away with an awareness that we need small businesses in our lives, Scott says. 

In Mailbag, Jean and Kathryn tackle a question from some small business owners who just opened their coffee shop right before the coronavirus hit, and are now concerned about their ability to make it through this time. We also take a question from a woman who was in the middle of home renovations when she lost her income, and is now unsure how to pay for the work. Then we hear from a listener whose husband was laid off, and his salary represented 70% of their household income. They were on the threshold of buying their dream home, and now they’re wondering if they should rent or buy a smaller home with a more manageable mortgage. 

In thrive, Jean talks about the grief that we’re all feeling right now. Although grief is a term typically associated with the loss of a loved one, it can mean many things. Because of coronavirus, we’re all grieving the loss of normalcy, the loss of a schedule, the loss of community, and the loss of control — and this is totally normal. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to stay calm and keep our emotions in check during quarantine, and Jean offers a helpful rundown on some of HerMoney’s favorites. 

This podcast is proudly supported by Fidelity Investments. You work too hard for what you earn to let it sit on the sidelines. Let Fidelity show you how to demand more from your money. Learn more at Fidelity.com/HerMoney. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC Member NYSE, SIPC.

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

Transcript

Scott Omelianuk: (00:01)
I’m hopeful that this moment allows people to recognize how important small businesses are in their community. How important Main Street really is, not only to the value of Main Street and their quality of life, and the value of their home as well. The fact that there are businesses employing people can live down the street are all hugely important to us.

Jean Chatzky: (00:25)
HerMoney is brought to you by Fidelity Investments. Fidelity is committed to helping clients through any market conditions with financial planning and advice when you need it most. Learn more at Fidelity.com. HerMoney comes to you through PRX.

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Jean Chatzky: (00:47)
Hey everybody, I’m Jean Chatzky. Thank you so much for being with me today and for sticking with us during these tough times. We know things are rough out there for millions of Americans, many of whom have lost jobs, some of whom have lost loved ones, some facing tough decisions about pushing back a retirement date or keeping a business afloat. I think that many of us, if not most of us, have entrepreneurs in our lives in some capacity. And virtually all of the ones that I know are at least a little worried according to a special report from the US Chamber of Commerce on coronavirus and small business, 54% of all small businesses report that they’re closed or could close in the coming weeks. That is astonishing when you consider that we are a nation of small businesses and many believe that their businesses might close down permanently. It’s unbelievable and when I keep looking for small business advice and small business information on what’s going on in the moment, because you all know that this is changing day by day, moment by moment, I keep finding myself turning to Inc. Magazine. They’re doing incredible content these days and I know that that is very much due to the fact that Scott Omelianuk who has been there for only a couple of months is running the ship. Inc. Magazine is the magazine for small business. It’s often referred to as the small business Bible and Scott is with me today. You guys have really stepped it up. And I just want to say, you know, as a small business owner, thank you for that.

Scott Omelianuk: (02:41)
It’s my pleasure. And thank you for thinking that we’re doing a good job. We’re trying. We have a core of reporters and editors almost around the clock trying to find out what’s going on federally, on the state level, even in private enterprise to help entrepreneurs across America. And you’re right, that is our mission, and it’s our privilege.

Jean Chatzky: (03:02)
So let’s approach this from a couple of different perspectives. First, we all want to help, right? What can we, what should we be doing to help the small businesses in our lives succeed during this downturn?

Scott Omelianuk: (03:20)
Yeah, I think I read somewhere that if we don’t help small businesses in our own communities, when we exit the world we’re in right now, we may only have two or three retailers to turn to, right? And I think we know who those those folks are. If you want more than that, I think it’s important to first not let out of sight be out of mind. I think a little encouragement to local businesses in whatever way you can is useful. I know that having been an entrepreneur myself, there are a lot of lonely, dark moments, even when business is good, right? So when business is bad and you’re looking for that next customer to walk through the door, but the door is locked, even a phone call or a note is gonna make a difference if it’s someone you’re friendly with. Right? It makes a difference. I know that I have a weakness for nice clothes and I have a tailor I care deeply about and I don’t want to see him go away. Right? And obviously I work in my pajamas now, like most of America, so I don’t need those clothes. But I hope to one day and so I knew that he had some work to do for me. I called him and asked him if I could Venmo him the money now. I know I’m gonna pay him eventually. The money that he’s getting now from me is going to, in small part, help him pay his rent this month. Right? And I think we all can do that. It’s a different kind of paying it forward. Right?

Jean Chatzky: (04:46)
Yeah.

Scott Omelianuk: (04:46)
I’m writing the check now if you’re capable of it and I understand not everyone is capable of it, but those of us who are paying in advance, it’s not a terrible thing to do right now.

Jean Chatzky: (04:56)
We use a car service. It’s a local car service. I live in the suburbs of New York, as many of my listeners know, and travel a lot for work during normal times and use this car service started by a guy who now has a couple of other people who work for him and I know I’m going to use them when business picks back up. So I did very much the same thing. I’m wondering though about maybe the small businesses that we patronize most often, which are the restaurants and the food stores. How do you feel about takeout during these times or are you more of a gift card kind of a guy?

Scott Omelianuk: (05:33)
I have to admit that we’ve not had takeout since I left my office to work from home when I myself got sick though, I don’t know it was covid. But I was quite sick for a few days, about a month ago. And I have not ordered take out since then. I have read repeatedly that ordering takeout is a completely safe option. You might take some care with the packaging, but otherwise it’s completely safe. And food service, by the way, is one of the places where contamination has always been an issue. So they’re most comfortable dealing with the precautions that need to be taken. We have a lot of neighbors who order every night right now. They can’t go to the restaurant, but they can order out. Right? The restaurants are closed where I live, but they’re open for takeout and ordering and they’re upping the tips they would give the drivers. They’re ordering a little bit more and having it for lunch the next day. And I think that makes a difference. Some of the restaurants here as well are offering grocery delivery, curbside delivery, right? So the food services that they would use to stock the restaurants that they used to have people in, they’re still trying to use. But instead of making that food and having it consumed in the restaurant, they’re selling it to people who would drive up to the curb, outside the restaurant and buy it from them there. So that’s another option. And by the way, I would say that if these things aren’t happening in your community, you have a voice and you can use it to see that some of them can, right? If you don’t have that curbside option, if no one’s thought of that, no reason not to suggest it.

Jean Chatzky: (07:07)
When we’re looking at the fact that we have so many choices in shopping online these days, should we be looking to again, support small local businesses rather than just, I mean, ordering from Amazon is the easiest thing in the world, right? You just click and depending on what it is, you may get it quickly or you may not these days. But should we be thinking that shouldn’t be our default?

Scott Omelianuk: (07:33)
Yeah. At Inc. we recommend calling the small business that might have the product you’re looking for and seeing if there’s a way to have it delivered through them and many are. And so it might not be our first impulse, right? Amazon is a great search engine and I go there all the time. But you might think about instead of ordering that extra ear piece for your phone through Amazon, because you need it for work cause you’ve just worn the other one out cause you’re working from home, seeing if there’s a local shop that you can get to even leave a message and ask if you can buy it through them. We see a lot of people who are closed, you know officially, but still able to do business behind locked doors and still be able to deliver. And I think that in and of itself makes a big difference.

Jean Chatzky: (08:13)
Well and that’s what enables people to keep their employees employed. I was reading a very optimistic story today about Madison Reed, the hair color company, because like many women, I’m petrified that I’m going to come out of this with the roots of all sorts of colors. You don’t have that problem, but I certainly do. So, cause I usually go to the salon and I get my hair done, I ordered a Madison Reed kit and we’ve had Amy Errett the founder on our show. And I read a story about her this morning, that she had opened 12 different coloring salons around the country. But when this happened, she shut those down and put those colorists to work on the phone lines answering questions of petrified consumers like me who are afraid that we are going to come out with orange hair.

Scott Omelianuk: (09:07)
Can we only say I don’t have a roots problem cause I have no hair at all, right? So, I’d be right there with you if I did. I think all entrepreneurs have to think about, look, you did not get to be an entrepreneur by not being creative and not being a problem solver. Now you have a different kind of problem and she’s shown that she solved the problem of keeping employees employed, which I think is incredibly important. It’s something every business owner has to think about. By being creative. I would encourage people to see how they can redeploy the people who work for them right now, right? Because we don’t know how long this is going to last. It could end quickly, it could take longer. But the fact is if you have good employees in a small business in particular, they’re sort of as much family as they are employees often. And it’s not going to be easy to get someone else. You can’t assume they’re going to come right back to you when this is all over. And you have to think about the cost of hiring and training new people. So we’ve recommended, you know, exploring the legalities around furloughing employees. So at the very least they can keep their benefits. We’ve looked at companies that have done across the board salary reductions so everyone stays employed, and can stay employed for longer but just at a more subsistence level. I think all of these things are important. You know, medicine and seeing an explosion of new technology in telemedicine. Right? And this is a place where doctors and other healthcare people who might have their offices closed because they’re not dealing directly with Covid or emergency medicine, can still provide advice. My wife is a women’s health nurse practitioner. Her office essentially has closed, but she’s working in telemedicine now, at least in the short term. And I think that’s great. It’s the creativity that all entrepreneurs have just deployed in a new way to solve a different problem. And I think if you’re that person, you have to remain as optimistic as possible and know you’ve gotten through difficult things before. If you’ve been in business for more than 10 years, you’ve dealt with the financial crisis. If you’ve been in business for more than 20 years, you’ve dealt 9/11. Right? This is not the first time we faced very frightening circumstances. And we’ve managed to get through them and I think we will this way and by being somewhat optimistic or being very practical, I should say that too. It’s kind of important to do the things that make us uncomfortable, make me uncomfortable. I have to really look at my bank balance right and know how much cushion is in there or not. Doing those things now rather than when it’s too late. Really important.

Jean Chatzky: (11:38)
You mentioned a couple of terms that I think people just weren’t familiar with before this crisis hit, and I want to talk about them from the perspective of small business, but also from the perspective of being an employee. What does it mean when furloughed versus being laid off?

Scott Omelianuk: (11:55)
You know, my understanding, and I wish I had one of my reporters here because they’d be much better at acknowledging, is essentially you maintain your employed status without a salary and you’re able to draw your benefits still. There are legalities around this that I don’t fully understand. And you certainly can talk to your accountant or even visit inc.com, shameless plug. But we have the information there and it’s a way of more easily returning to office after this is over. It’s a way of maintaining your benefits and really it’s down to the business owner understanding their responsibility in this circumstance. Right? And I would say that it’s almost always, despite the payroll protection act, if you could take advantage of that, obviously that’s the first step. And I understand even as we speak, there’s another $500 million bill on the table in the Senate, for women, minority and veteran owned businesses to make sure they get their piece of the stimulus package as well. I think there will continue to be lots of money out there. Private businesses are providing money, right? Google and Facebook have big funds they’ve created for grants. There’s a lot to explore and in that exploration you might find the answer. So that’s what I would say. Look at your financials longterm. Start exploring now so you can make the right decision when you have to.

Jean Chatzky: (13:21)
I want to take a quick breather and just remind everybody that HerMoney and important conversations like this is sponsored by Fidelity Investments. For more than 70 years, investors have relied on Fidelity to help plan for their financial futures. And as always, when the unexpected happens, Fidelity is there to help you work through it with financial planning, with advice for what you need today and tomorrow, helping to make it all clear. To see how Fidelity can help you and your family on the path forward, visit Fidelity.com. I am talking with Scott Omelianuk Editor-in-Chief of Inc. Magazine. Alright, you waited into the PPP territory before we took that little breather and let me just say, you know, I’ve been looking at it myself. HerMoney is a small business. It is frustrating and confusing because it’s difficult to figure out where you can apply when banks are either not accepting applications or only accepting applications from their current clients. A number of big banks have not even put their applications up yet. I mean it’s daunting. So what are you hearing from the folks that you’re working with about the best way to get through this process?

Scott Omelianuk: (14:42)
So I think the first thing to say is that information is changing constantly, right? So what we believe to be true today changes tomorrow. Last night for example, I heard that the treasury department was going to waive a rule, essentially for balance sheets for banks that opened up their lending to more, right? I’ve seen certain banks say no to people who don’t have a line of credit with them already, right? Which is essentially hurting a business that actually has shown itself to be bootstrapped and solvent on its own and its entire time. Right? And it’s unfortunate that it happens. I would look to community banks if your traditional lender doesn’t help you, there are a lot of people now who are looking for new clients for the future. Not thinking about this in a purely transactional way, but thinking of it in a more human way. And I think that’s important. I can’t stress enough how much the information changes day by day and we literally post a story on inc.com and a couple of hours later have to update it because new guidance has come from the treasury department. Banks have changed their minds about particular things. There are direct lenders, banks themselves, there are FinTech firms that are taking applications from people and then passing them onto banks. You have to decide what’s best for you in those circumstances. Right? Like I would describe that as sort of the mortgage broker, middleman kind of thing. We’re probably more familiar with mortgage brokers. Most people are. Or the example where your bank might sell your mortgage to another company, right? So there are FinTech firms that are doing this now, not lenders themselves. But if they are doing it, you should make sure that it’s clear they’re connected to a lender, that they’re not just taking your application information as data mining so they know who you are and they know your numbers and your social security and keeping it for some other reason. Right? You want to see that they have a contract with a bank to deliver on the money you’re looking for. And don’t think just because you’re shut out the first time you will be again, as I said, right now another bill for another $500 million worth of stimulus is being considered, which will open up a whole new opportunity for people. I understand though it’s daunting and we are actually working on a explainer to help the people through each of these things and hopefully once we get that done, it will help people, but again, don’t expect it to stay the same. It’s going to change again yet.

Jean Chatzky: (17:09)
What do you think looking out into the future, the world looks like as small businesses start to come back from this, as we all start to come back from this, when things start to reopen?

Scott Omelianuk: (17:20)
I’m really hopeful actually. I am hopeful that this moment allows people to recognize how important small businesses are in their community, how important Main Street really is. Not only to the value of Main Street and their quality of life, the value of their home as well. The fact that there are businesses employing people who live down the street are all hugely important to us. And it’s not just that business of one or two people we’re talking about. We interacted with companies of 500 employees who are having this same exact problem. So I’m hopeful that we all come away with an awareness that this place matters and we’ll do what we can to make sure it stays this way.

Jean Chatzky: (18:04)
Scott Omelianuk from Inc. Magazine, we will keep following your coverage. Thanks so much for spending time with me.

Scott Omelianuk: (18:11)
My pleasure Jean. Thanks so much.

Jean Chatzky: (18:12)
Alright you take care and we will be right back with Kathryn and your mailbag.

Jean Chatzky: (18:23)
HerMoney’s Kathryn Tuggle joins me now from 30 miles away. Hi Kathryn.

Kathryn Tuggle: (18:31)
Hi Jean.

Jean Chatzky: (18:31)
I know we are all so far flung so we are doing our social distancing thing. Scott let us know that he was in his closet, which I happen to know is in Hoboken, New Jersey. I’m in Westchester. You are in New York City.

Kathryn Tuggle: (18:47)
On the upper East side. Yup.

Jean Chatzky: (18:49)
Where I’m assuming a lot of people are worried about how you’re doing.

Kathryn Tuggle: (18:52)
Yeah, well, my family in Alabama, you know, it’s daily, hourly text messages to check in on us. But the grocery stores are open. We’re cooking at home. We’re working from home. So you know, I think really unless you’re sick or unless one of your inner circle is sick, it feels just very slow in a way.

Jean Chatzky: (19:14)
It’s slow and yet not slow sometimes.

Kathryn Tuggle: (19:17)
Right.

Jean Chatzky: (19:17)
So last week flew for me and this week has been like molasses.

Kathryn Tuggle: (19:25)
Yeah. Well I also think the longer we stay in quarantine, the more monotonous it’s going to get.

Jean Chatzky: (19:32)
Yeah, no question. No question. It’s interesting you mentioned cooking because when Scott started talking about the Artisanal Cookware Company, I wonder if people will continue to cook. I mean, people who have never cooked are cooking. And I’m sure some of them hate it, but some of them probably have found that they like it or are pretty good at it. I wonder what that’s going to do to our food trends over time.

Kathryn Tuggle: (20:01)
Yeah. And to the economy as a whole in terms of the swiftness of the economic recovery. Because if even just 10% more people decide that they’re going to cook at home rather than go out, that’s going to impact the number of jobs that then come back to the economy. So it’s so interesting to think how all of this is going to impact the economy and our lives over the course of the next decade.

Jean Chatzky: (20:25)
You are absolutely right. And on that note, I know that our first letter in the mailbag is actually from somebody who has a restaurant or a cafe. Let’s talk about what’s going on with them.

Kathryn Tuggle: (20:39)
Yeah, absolutely. Our first note is from Julie and George Williams. They write, dear Jean, we have a small cafe, The Beach Bum Bagel Cafe in Vero Beach, Florida that we opened December 24th, 2019. Our only employees are the two of us and we are incorporated as an LLC. Since we were still in the process of getting our business off the ground, we haven’t been taking paychecks. Unfortunately businesses down by 70% due to coronavirus, but our bills remain the same, including rent, utilities, and credit cards. We accrued credit card debt in opening our business and the goal was to have it paid off within six months, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a realistic goal. We’ve expanded our business hours to working seven days a week in order to stay afloat, but that is also proving to be a challenge. The bank we use is not open to the public so I’m having a hard time getting in touch with anyone for assistance. What should we do and where should we start? Thank you so much.

Jean Chatzky: (21:33)
So I’m a little unsure about your ability to apply for the paycheck protection program because you haven’t been taking paychecks, because you haven’t been paying yourself. The way that this program works, the amount that you are able to borrow and then have forgiven has a lot to do with the payroll and covering the payroll for your staff. So I would start by talking to your bank or credit union or accountant about whether they think that you might be a good candidate for that because if they do, that might give you the sort of lifeline that you need. The other thing though that we know is that people whose work has been interrupted, even part time are able to apply for unemployment and that those unemployment payments are more substantial than they would have been before the CARES Act went through. Unemployment benefits were expanded by a good 13 weeks in every state, which is significant in and of itself, but then the federal government is throwing $600 per week in until the end of July. And that I think could help both of you. Usually people who are independent contractors, sole proprietors are not eligible, but they are in this case and so I would probably apply for both unemployment and the PPP in the state of Florida and see what happens. If you get those PPP funds, I’d be a little bit careful about how you use them because things that don’t go to payroll have to be repaid. For sure, the vast majority of them. Only, I believe it’s 25% can be used for rent and other expenses. But I think both of those things may be a decent avenue to tide you over for a bit. And as Scott said, I would also keep your eyes open for other packages to come through Congress with additional funding.

Kathryn Tuggle: (23:45)
Great. Our next note comes to us from Barbara. She writes hi Jean. I’m a 68 year old single woman. I own my New York City apartment valued at approximately $1 million and a waterfront home in Long Island, valued at 1.2 million. I have no mortgages. Up until last month, I had nearly $1 million in retirement assets. As luck would have it, I’m in the middle of an addition onto my home in Long Island, but all of my income producing work has come to a screeching halt. I still need to complete the renovation, which is going to cost another $45,000. What would you suggest I do? Many thanks.

Jean Chatzky: (24:16)
Thank you so much for writing. You know, I feel for every person in every one of these situations, and Barbara, if you’ve been listening, you know that I am in the midst of a real estate conundrum myself trying to figure out if we’re going to move, when we’re going to move. It’s shut down an awful lot of things. I would probably look to take the $45,000 out in a home equity line of credit. I think that’s going to be the easiest thing for you to do even though your income producing work has come to a screeching halt. It sounds to me, reading between the lines, like it’s of the sort that you would be able to substantiate going back a few months and the 1 million in retirement assets could throw off enough income because of your age to get you to that $45,000. The other thing that you may want to look at is social security. I mean you are of full retirement age. You didn’t say whether you had elected to start social security. Typically if you didn’t need the money, I would say wait until age 70 but look at the differences between your payout today and your payout in a year or a year and a half and see if it might be worth it to you to just pull the trigger on that benefit now. That may give you the comfort that you need to get through this time.

Kathryn Tuggle: (25:49)
That’s great advice, Jean. Thank you.

Jean Chatzky: (25:50)
Sure.

Kathryn Tuggle: (25:52)
Our last one comes from Carrie. She writes, my husband was due to start a new job on April 1st but due to coronavirus and the economic downturn, his start date has now been suspended indefinitely. He’s already begun interviewing for other options, but things are slow. He earned 70% of our household income and at this point we don’t know how long he’ll be out of work. All of this happened at the same time we just signed a contract to build a new home, but thankfully we were able to back out of that deal with no penalty and we’re now renting. We currently pay $2,000 a month in rent and I earn $50,000 per year as a social worker. Do you think we would be better off purchasing a small home with a mortgage of around $150,000 leaving us with a cash reserve of $50,000 or do you think we should continue to rent and keep a larger cash reserve on hand for now? With rent at $2,000 a month, my job will not all our monthly bills, but with an affordable mortgage on the home of closer to a thousand dollars a month. It would be tight but possible. We’re both 50 years old and have a 17 year old at home and a 19 year old in college. What do you think? Thank you so much.

Jean Chatzky: (26:58)
So I ran some numbers for you and I’m sure you’ve done the very same thing for yourself. If you took out $150,000 mortgage right now, you’d probably pay an interest rate of about three and a half percent. I’m guessing based on the fact that you say that your cash cushion would be depleted, you’ll be putting down more than 20% which means that you won’t have PMI, but you will have taxes, you will have insurance. The cost of living at that rate is substantially lower than the cost of renting. The cost of buying is much, much cheaper than the cost of renting. And so I think from a numbers perspective it makes a whole lot of sense. The question is, does it make sense from a life perspective? You’re at a point where your kids are almost out of the house, so is this a place where you think you could stay for a considerable amount of time? If it is, I would say yeah, I’d go ahead and buy something and I’d keep my eyes out for bargains. What I am hearing about the real estate market right now is that although we expected that it would be a seller’s market this spring, it has very quickly morphed into a buyer’s market and so you may be able to get more value for that place than you expected. But I wouldn’t do it if you’re doing it just to get you through this crisis. If this is something where you really don’t want to live in the kind of house that you could buy for that money longterm, then I would stick with your current rental plan for at least another couple of months and see if your husband is able to find some work to get you through this point in time.

Kathryn Tuggle: (28:55)
That’s great advice and it’s so interesting to see the numbers like that laid out, right? It really brings it home. The difference between renting and mine.

Jean Chatzky: (29:04)
Well, right now with interest rates so low, it’s so much cheaper to buy than to rent in many, many cases. But I think the best advice that I have heard through this entire crisis, financial advice, is that you don’t want to use a long-term solution to solve a short-term problem. So they’re in a cash crunch, right? And they’re in a cash crunch for however long it takes her husband to find work. And that could be a year, but it could also just be a few months. A mortgage is a 30 year commitment. Buying a house, even if you buy a less expensive house, means you’ve got the cost of moving and you’ve got the cost of furnishing and you’ve got the cost of upkeep and it’s a long-term decision. And so I think any time that you can avoid making a very long-term decision, like taking social security earlier than you thought you might, to solve what is essentially a short term crisis, you should do that.

Kathryn Tuggle: (30:12)
Right. And given the age of their children, they may have different plans when their kids are both in college.

Jean Chatzky: (30:19)
Exactly, exactly. I mean I know a lot of parents who don’t want to move as soon as the kids are both out of the house and both in college because they want the kids to have a place to come home on breaks or during coronavirus. But yeah, this is not the time to shake up your long-term plans because you are under a little bit or even a lot of financial pressure unless you absolutely have to.

Kathryn Tuggle: (30:47)
Right. Thanks so much.

Jean Chatzky: (30:48)
Yeah, no, thank you. Thanks for gathering these questions and I wanted to dig in, in today’s Thrive to the fact that since coronavirus hit, we have all felt this combination of emotions including anxiety and worry and grief. And although grief is typically a term that’s associated with the loss of a loved one, it’s important to understand that it can mean many, many things because of coronavirus, and this is information that I found from a wonderful article in Harvard business review. We are feeling grief over the loss of normalcy. We’re grieving the loss of a schedule, the loss of community and the loss of control. And in addition to the grief that you’re feeling over the life that you’ve temporarily lost, you might also be feeling anticipatory grief, which is the emotional fear of things that you could lose in the coronavirus pandemic. Whatever it is you’re mourning, you should know that it’s normal and that it’s important that you honor the things that you’re feeling. Fortunately, there are a few things that we can do to stay calm and to keep our emotions in check during quarantine. For example, develop and stick to a routine and a daily schedule. This can give us a sense of control and purpose. Limit your exposure to the news and the media. Too much of it is overwhelming. It just makes us anxious. Connect with people regularly via phone calls, Facetime, Skype. It’s important to remain emotionally connected while still physically distancing. Try as you were saying earlier Kathryn, and as Scott was saying to in self care, whatever that means for you, that should certainly include eating well and sleeping enough. Try to find a TV show, a podcast, a book, another outlet that will offer you some distance from the current reality cause we all need breaks. And remain hopeful. Things will change and you should think about how you’ll weave the current state of events into your life story. And if you are feeling down, head over to our HerMoney private Facebook group to connect with thousands of women whose insight and sense of humor are sure to brighten your spirits, or to our HerMoney Instagram account that is filled with fun and inspiring content to get you through.

Jean Chatzky: (33:23)
Thank you so much for joining me today on HerMoney. Thanks to Scott Omelianuk for joining us too and for giving us an excellent rundown on how we can support the small businesses in our lives and what entrepreneurs can do to stay afloat. If you like what you hear, I hope that you’ll subscribe to our show at Apple Podcasts. Leave us a review. We love hearing what you think. We also want to thank our sponsor Fidelity. Ordinarily we would record our podcast out of CDM Sound Studios, but today we are using zoom and a Yeti mic from the comfort of our homes. Our music is provided by Video Helper and our show comes to you through PRX. Tune in next week. We’ll be back with another great HerMoney guest. Thanks so much for joining us and we’ll talk soon.


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