It’s hard to think about saving for the next pandemic when we are still in the thick of this one. And yet, experts say that there’s no time like the present to start preparing for the future. If you’re struggling with finances right now, then saving might feel like a challenge. But any little bit that you can set aside could help you down the line.
We Are Still In a Pandemic
Even though this article is about saving for the next pandemic, it’s important to acknowledge that we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are struggling. Many people are barely making ends meet. And even those who are doing okay are uncertain about the future since it’s unclear what will happen with both employment and the economy in the months and year or so to come.
Yes, it’s hard to think about saving for the next pandemic in the midst of this. But it’s also the perfect time. For one thing, the reality of the pandemic is on your mind right now. Let’s face it; when things improve, we will all be so excited about the opportunity to travel and host guests and go out to activities that we might let ourselves slip a little with spending. Right now, when we really understand the impact of this pandemic, our minds are primed to begin saving for the next one.
Plus, we’re already tightening our money belts. Since we’re in the swing of things with saving money, it’s natural to set aside some for the future.
When Will There Be Another Pandemic?
We can’t predict when there will be another pandemic. We don’t know what it will look like when it happens. But experts say that the likelihood of another one is extremely high.
The World Health Organization and United Nations General Assembly say:
“COVID-19 will not be the world’s last health emergency and there is an urgent need for sustainable health emergency preparedness to deal with the next one.”
And Harvard Business Review goes so far as to say:
“SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2012, and now Covid-19. We don’t know when or where, but we know with 100% certainty that another deadly infection will strike.”
Why You Should Be Saving For The Next Pandemic Now
So, number one, you should start saving now because there’s an extremely high likelihood that there will be another pandemic. Second, you’re already in the mindset to really understand the difficulty of living in the pandemic. Therefore, you’re in a good position to make the changes and sacrifices necessary to save.
After all, despite all of the financial struggles of 2020, nearly one quarter of Americans managed to save money during the coronavirus pandemic. And nearly half of people are spending less than at the same time last year. The “new normal” is to save money. For one thing, you’re probably not traveling. Of course, cutting out travel saves a lot of money.
Moreover, experts recommend using your COVID-19 experience to review your savings plan. Many people kept the traditional 3-6 months of income in their emergency fund. However, in the face of the pandemic, that ran out. Therefore, you might want to consider saving 6+ months in your emergency fund for the next time.
Finally, you might be able to negotiate your bills at this time. COVID-19 impacted so many people that lenders and service providers have put plans in place to help reduce costs for their customers. If you can take advantage of those plans, then it could be a silver lining for saving money.
Tips on Saving For The Next Pandemic
Obviously, saving for the next pandemic isn’t easy. Heck, it’s hard to save money in the healthiest of times! However, it is possible to set aside money.
Check out our article on How to Maximize Savings During a Pandemic. Tips from that article include: stringent budgeting, getting very clear about needs and wants during a pandemic, and skipping dining out in favor of all meals at home. In other words, go back to the basics that you already know about living frugally. When we earn more, we sometimes splurge more, but you probably already know how to cut back. Now is the time to implement those good money habits.
Similarly, North American Savings Bank recommends five key tips to save for the next time this happens:
- Create an emergency fund.
- Avoid major expenses.
- Reduce your outstanding debt.
- Manage your expenses.
- But, keep your home office.
In fact, that last one is perhaps the only bit of advice that differs now from traditional plans to save a lot of money. Many people over the years have scaled down their housing to reduce costs. Tiny homes and other small spaces help people save on rents and mortgages. However, now that many people are home all of the time – working at home, homeschooling their kids – more space might be worth that extra cost. It’s important to find a way to balance your household expenses with the space that you need. And remember, real estate is an investment. You might want to read: Which Real Estate Investments Are Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Other than that, though, it’s really all about going back to the basics. Lower your costs as much as you can. Set aside as much as possible in savings. Also, check out our article on 10 Unusual Ways to Make Money During a Pandemic. It might feel like it’s impossible to make extra money right now. However, that’s not true at all. You do have options. And of course, the more you can make, the more you can save.
Finally, review your investments. You can still make money investing during COVID-19. Here are some articles that might help:
- Relax: Saving and Investing Tips During the COVID-19 Crisis
- How to Make Money With These COVID-19 Stock Plays
- ETF’s Can Help Recession-Proof Your Retirement – Here’s How
- Is Now the Time to Start Investing?
- How to Invest in eSports
Governments, the Economy, and the Next Pandemic
While this article is primarily about individuals saving for the next pandemic, it’s important to note that much should also be done at the state, regional, national, and international levels. Governments and private organizations can do a lot towards improving the situation for next time in terms of reducing both the health impact and the financial troubles. Spending money to prevent the next pandemic would not only save lives but would also save economic costs down the line.
For example, scientists suggest “preserving forests, clamping down on the illegal wildlife trade, and starting a broad system of surveillance to catch emerging diseases before they spread.” All of this can lead to preventing the next pandemic or seriously limiting its spread and impact. This makes sense on a financial level as well. The scientists estimate that these measures would cost between $22 and $31 billion per year. Obviously, that’s a lot of money. However, it’s a fraction of the estimated cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is $27 trillion in 2020. In other words, “The cost of preventing the next pandemic is 2% of the cost we’re paying for COVID-19.”
The Harvard Business Review says that the United States government should consider affordable health care options for all citizens as a means to prevent individual and collective financial troubles during the next pandemic.
Are you saving for the next pandemic now? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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