When news of the first few cases of COVID-19, the novel (new) coronavirus, first hit the United States, I didn’t think much of it. I knew China was in big trouble at the time, but it still felt very far away from America. Then the virus migrated, making its way all around the world, until finally, it started spreading throughout the USA. My understanding of the virus’ dangerous effects grew from mere ignorance to deep concern and fear.
It felt like nearly overnight life as we all knew it changed. People started working remotely from home. Millions of Americans got laid off. Movie theaters, restaurants, bars, retailers, town halls, nail salons, tattoo shops, and more all closed their doors temporarily. We were told to socially distance, wear masks, and stay home as much as possible.
How the Pandemic Has Affected My Long Term Plans
In the months that the pandemic has disrupted our lives, I can honestly say my long term plans have completely changed. And while my own life course might seem small in the grand scheme of things, this time at home has given me the opportunity to reflect on how COVID-19 has caused me to change course. Here’s how:
1) Losing my job has me reimagining my career.
I got laid off back in April, at the height of the pandemic. My employer had to unfortunately lay 75% of its global workforce off due to COVID-19. Now, I’m at a loss for what’s next.
I’m not unique, as millions of other Americans are also unemployed and facing the unknown. Yet, it feels lonely and frustrating not knowing where my career will take me now. Will I continue working in marketing? Do I pursue other industries, like administration or business? Will I have to completely start over? Not only do I find myself competing for jobs against all my fellow unemployed professionals – but we also have to consider all the new graduates that are entering the workforce in the midst of this pandemic. The competition is fierce, and greater than any of us could have imagined.
2) I have to carry my student debt longer than I anticipated.
I used to say I’d have my student loans paid off by age 30, but now that I’m 28 and unemployed, I’m not sure that’s a realistic timeline.
The CARES Act has definitely helped provide economic relief, but even the extra unemployment stimulus isn’t a long-term fix, but merely a short-term bandaid.
I think it’s fantastic that many loan providers have frozen accounts until September 2020, but again, it’s only a finite fix. Come September, payments will resume, interest will continue accumulating, but I’ll be off track in paying my loan off.
Not to mention, what other havoc this is causing people financially. From other debts to loss of income to medical bills, it’s a very stressful time. While there are currently things you can possibly qualify and apply for due to loss of income, Fortis Medical Billing can help make sure things are accurate.
3) My wedding plans are off track.
Like most industries, the wedding industry has taken a big hit during COVID-19. With all of the recommendations and ordinances around social distancing, wearing masks, caps on large gatherings, and other public health concerns, many venues and couples are canceling weddings, considering backyard elopements, and/or on the fence about postponing to the future.
As of this writing, my wedding is on track for September 2020, but it might very well get canceled if we cannot safely have it. We’re at the mercy of our state’s governor to figure out what’s safe and allowed moving forward. Is it the end of the world if our wedding gets moved? No, of course not. But it definitely impacts our long-term financial goals, our timeline around starting a family, and our patience.
4) I won’t be upgrading my vehicle anytime soon.
I’m one of those types of people that keeps their cars until the very end. I’ve been driving mine around for a decade now, ever since I got it in high school. Its days are numbered, but it still has some life left in it. While it was always the goal to upgrade to a newer car, losing my job has put that goal on hold. Perhaps by my 30th birthday I’ll be driving around on a new set of wheels. Time will tell!
COVID-19 has impacted all of lives, in big and small ways. Whether it’s something as insignificant as a change in how we go grocery shopping, or something bigger like compromising our financial goals, this pandemic has changed us all. Let’s do our best to remember we will get through this. Hopefully we’re all stronger on the other side, even if our plans have shifted a bit. My long-term goals are little off track, but I’m still hoping for the best moving forward.