Apr. 27--With so much economic unrest stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, financial advisors and institutions have spent the last several weeks working to quell their customers' fears as they navigate through the uncertainty.
The same problems facing people nationwide can be felt in Owensboro, as well.
"Not knowing how soon we can all get back to our typical day-to-day routines is a difficult situation to find ourselves in," said Independence Bank President Darrell Higginbotham, "and the impact this has had on individuals, businesses, our healthcare system, schools and even some many other organizations in our community has been trying."
Higginbotham has been encouraged by the overall amount of support that the "giving community" has offered -- such as people donating personal-protection equipment and companies switching to hand-sanitizer production -- but he knows everyday people are still facing financial problems.
There are some ways to help curb those worries, though.
"It is easy to settle into a typical routine with your spending habits and think that what you are doing is the only way your family can survive," Higginbotham added. "But with activities and entertainment being cancelled or postponed, it provides the opportunity for everyone to be creative and think of new ways to spend time together as a family and make the best of the current situation.
"And if you find yourself in a financial hardship, don't be afraid to ask for help."
According to private wealth advisor Drew Watson, simply budgeting income and expenses should be the first step moving forward. By getting a firm grasp on necessary spending during the pandemic, people can get an idea of how to plan for the future.
"I think now is a good time to take stock," said Watson, of Align Wealth Management. "People can look at what they're not spending money on and what they're not missing, so when things are back to what I'd call 'normal,' they can use their changes in spending habits to save more money.
"Some of those savings, you need to put back for rainy days, like today."
In the meantime, however, financial advisors are urging people to stay patient, even as times get tougher.
In a survey conducted by the CFP Board, the national governing body for certified financial planners, in early April, the main piece of advice they're offering is to "sit tight and wait to make major financial decisions until volatility decreases."
It's also a good time for people to take stock in their chosen professions, as well.
"For young people in college or just starting now, this is the absolute best time in modern history to get a birds'-eye view on what they want to do for the rest of their lives, from a security standpoint," Watson added.
For the most part, though, Higginbotham expects the economy to bounce back -- though there's no indication of when that might be.
"I think our community is very fortunate to have giving businesses and supporting community members who are going out of their way to help one another," he said. "We've seen several studies released that have shown that Owensboro is faring better than the national average on things such as unemployment, and I think now is the time to take a minute and appreciate that.
"As a community, I think Owensboro will rebound and come back stronger than before especially knowing what we are capable of when we work together."
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