"Want to save more money? Just cut the cable, skip daily coffee shop visits, and eat out less often." But what do you really need to do in order to achieve financial growth?
These are well-meaning financial growth recommendations that commonly saturate the personal finance space. But for people struggling with high debt, low-income, unemployment, and decreasing homeownership, these suggestions alone can only do so much.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial situations of these Americans. According to Pew Research Center, close to 50% of lower-income adults say they've experienced trouble footing their bills since the pandemic started.
While the path to financial freedom is challenging right now, it can be easy to overlook unique learning opportunities created by the pandemic. So if you're in the lower-income demographic, here are four ways to turn your financial stress into an opportunity for growth and stability.
Be Flexible When Navigating The Job Market
This is super important for financial growth. Before the pandemic, the job market was growing tremendously. Many experts said the rate of unemployment had hit an all-time low. But COVID-19 changed all that. Many people lost their jobs and many say finding another opportunity in this job climate is an uphill task.
However, the pandemic also created new ways of working- short-term gigs and remote jobs. So if you're struggling to find work, it may be wise to be flexible and creative in your hunt.
For instance, consider taking on short-term gigs and working outside your area of expertise. These opportunities may not be what you planned to do or what you were looking for, but the income can help you stabilize your financial situation and you stand to gain valuable experiences.
Capitalize On Workplace Financial Wellness Programs
If you still have a job (even if you took a pay cut), employee benefits can come in handy to support your financial wellness. Most employers today offer products such as health savings account, retirement plans, and insurance covers. Take time to understand these benefits.
For example, employers offering retirement plan matching are generally offering "free money" to their employees. So make the most of them even if they may appear small. The sooner you start accumulating the free money the longer it has to grow. In the end, you will be more prepared for retirement than those who overlooked the benefit.
Use Technology for Financial Growth
As mentioned earlier, the pandemic has forced many companies to rely on technology to maintain their operations. Most employees are working remotely now than ever before. But employers aren't the only ones benefiting.
Tech advancements have availed financial resources to many people. Solutions such as saving apps, automatic deposits, shop comparisons, and digital payments among others have made it easier to track income, watch spending, save smart, and invest wisely.
According to a study by Bankrate, more than a third of Americans aged between 18 and 34 say they use budgeting apps. So don't let this opportunity go to waste. Use this time to learn how to use these solutions. They may give you the skills you need to take control of your finances or find a part-time job.
Convert Money Into Purpose And Meaning
Achieving financial freedom isn't just about accumulating wealth. It's about using your money in a way that helps you lead a fulfilling life.
During these unusual times, many people have had to rethink their relationship with money. Some say they've learned to value experiences more than things. And it has helped many people manage their finances better than before.
So use this time to take stock of your financial health. Examine what you own, how much you're earning, where you're spending, and what you owe. But don't stop there.
Look at how well you're managing your finances. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about achieving your short-term and long-term financial goals? What can you do to improve your financial situation?
This self-analysis will help you identify the building blocks needed to propel you towards your goals.
Evidently, many people especially low-income earners are struggling financially during these uncertain times. But if used well, these challenging times create a perfect environment to look at our financial lives more realistically.
We hope these tips help you become flexible when looking for jobs and achieve financial growth. Remember to use technology to manage your money, learn new skills, change your relationship with money, and more importantly push you towards financial freedom. Good luck!