Save it or spend it – how will Covid-19 change your life? - Jim Duffy

As new vocabulary enters our world, it gives us time to reflect on priorities. Words such as “furlough”, “lockdown”, “pandemic” and “social distancing” are all now part of the lexicon of daily life. We are truly living in extraordinary times.

This pandemic shows that perfect planning does not always prevent poor performance, says Duffy.

I never thought that anything like this would or could happen during my brief existence on earth. This period and its consequences will be imprinted upon the minds of millions for a generation to come. But, how we live our lives “on the other side” is a matter of choice. The choices we may make financially, hopefully within a few months, may now be very different from those made prior to this coronavirus pandemic.

Let me tell you a story about Brenda and Karen. About 12 or so years ago, these two British ladies left the shores of the UK and headed to Spain. I am sure they would be the first to admit it was a brave move, as they were not cash rich and would have to, at some point, get a job.

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Undaunted by this, they moved lock, stock and barrel with families to a new country. A new country with different laws, driving on the left, ­different tax system, different health care system and so on.

The kids would have to go to school and pick up Spanish very fast. Fast forward and Karen and Brenda run one of the most ­successful estate agents in the ­Spanish countryside, Country Fincas.

While, regrettably, big cities like Madrid and ­Barcelona are suffering serious coronavirus problems, the Spanish hills are, for the most part, coronavirus free. They are sparsely populated and enjoy little through traffic. So, why I am telling you about Karen and Brenda?

What these two ladies did is make a big move that was, in short, life changing. It was bold and what I would class as ­pioneering. They have built a business in a new country they now call home. Their families are bilingual and they have met a myriad of people from across the globe who have settled in the Spanish hills.

My question to you, is what will you do as a result of experiencing this coronavirus pandemic?

We are taught from a young age to save for a rainy day. Not everyone manages to do this as things are tight and for many will get even tighter. Nonetheless, that rainy day, that time when perhaps even in retirement with a pension we can choose to do something different, is now more relevant than ever.

Is it right to put off things we always wanted to do until a better time in the future? This current blight on the globe demonstrates that perfect planning does not always prevent poor performance. Maybe its time to live a little- on the other side. And who would blame you?

As stock markets show modest signs of recovery, albeit it is very early stages, perhaps any long-term savings, bonds and pensions, buy-to-lets and cash investments should not simply sit there waiting for the next bear ­market. As asset managers, fund managers and banks enjoy fees from your savings pots, of course they want them to remain under their control.

That’s the game they are in and there are some fabulous folks out there who work hard to grow our cash. But, at what point is enough actually enough?

Would taking 20 per cent of any pot you have at the end of this pandemic and simply being bold with it be such a bad thing? Buying something you always wanted will make you feel good and will boost the economy. Perhaps gifting some cash to loved ones now, instead of when you pass away, may be a wonderful thing to do. They may need it even more now.

And there are places like the Spanish hills, where the likes of Karen and Brenda have made a new life. Whatever choice you make, if your finances allow, I wonder if “living in a pandemic” has made you think a bit more short to medium term about finances and life.

We are often told life is for living. How will you live yours in the next few years and how bold will you be?

– Jim Duffy MBE, Create Special

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