For some of us, our jobs have disappeared due to COVID-19. For others, we may still have our jobs, but our income has taken a nosedive due to reduced commissions, fewer hours, or some other impact from the pandemic. Feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, panic, and helplessness are common during times like these.
Here is some advice from the financial coaches at the Money Mentor Group:
As financial coaches, we often help people deal with their emotions around their money. This might include helping someone better understand WHY they do, WHAT they do with their money, helping couples get on the same page with their spending, and saving or working with a small business owner overcome their fear of reinvesting in their business.
But financial coaches also help with the behavioral side of money. We help our clients pay off debt, develop a personalized spending and savings plan, or figure out ways to reduce expenses. And these days, we’re having a lot of conversations with our clients about how to earn more money! At some point, the mathematical equation of what’s coming in and what’s going out has to add up or else you’ll never be free of living paycheck to paycheck or heaven forbid, be in the negative every month.
More people than ever are looking to gain new skills, more education, or develop a side hustle so they have more income coming in. Decades ago, having a second job might have been embarrassing or shameful, but these days, it’s actually very hip and cool! So many people I know are using second jobs to explore new careers and interests and indulge their creativity as well as pay down debt and save for the future. In fact, according to Bankrate.com, forty-three percent of full-time American workers have a second job of some kind.
There’s always alternatives like shopping for others via Instacart or delivering food with DoorDash or driving for Uber or Lyft . These are all legitimate and sometimes fairly lucrative ways to bring in extra income for your family. I know people who have started walking dogs, cleaning houses, babysitting kids, mowing lawns, taking online surveys, and started selling their clutter on websites such as Ebay, Mercari, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist.
For others, it’s all about learning new job skills or new technology to make themselves more desirable in the job market. There are definitely places that are hiring right now, and some even struggling to fill open positions. There are currently over three thousand full-time jobs listed on Indeed.com within a ten-mile radius of where I live in Frederick, MD. Here are five excellent places you can get either free or very low-cost training or certificates to make yourself more marketable for companies that are hiring:
Coursera: While Coursera’s online courses aren’t free, they’re very low cost. For example, you can get a certificate from IBM in Cybersecurity or from Google in IT Support for only $49 a month. There are courses in everything from COVID-19 contact tracing to photography to TESOL certification, which enables you to teach English in another country.
Harvard Online Learning: Everyone wants to say they attended Harvard, right? Now you can! Harvard Online Learning offers courses in computer programming, artificial intelligence, nonprofit accounting, and data analysis, just to name a few. Not all of these courses are free as well, but this site is worth a look.
LinkedIn Learning: This site offers over 16,000 online courses and is probably the best site for learning job skills that you could use immediately, as most of them are tech related. The first month is free, and then they charge $19.99 a month. They have tons of business software classes such as Excel and WordPress, data science courses with all kinds of analytics classes, and software development classes.
Udemy: This may be the largest compilation of courses out there, with over 100,000 videos you can watch to learn literally anything. Yes, there’s tons of practical courses to help your career as well as courses that you could turn into a side-hustle like learning how to take portraits, play the guitar, or become a life coach. Courses are inexpensive—less than $20 a class. If you already have some kind of skill, you might even want to become a Udemy teacher as a part-time gig!
If you’re feeling stressed about your financial situation, take some action! Get that side hustle going or retool your skill set to make you more marketable for a new job. Besides reducing your financial stress, learning a new skill wards off dementia and helps you sleep better too. If you’re feeling ‘stuck’ and can’t seem to figure out how to make your finances work, we’re here to help.