Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.

Planning in the time of coronavirus means thinking about some serious 'what-ifs'

Erica Cisneros, of San Anselmo, California, helps her daughters, third-grader Emilia and fourth-grader Eden, with schoolwork at their home. Both of the schools that the girls attend are closed because of COVID-19.
Ezra Shaw

It's no fun thinking about scary things that may or may not happen.

However, what's even less fun is not being ready if some bad event does take place.

All around us, the numbers are exploding. All 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are now reporting outbreaks of coronavirus — in all, 15,219 cases of COVID-19 as of March 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York State would begin severely limiting people's outdoor activity starting on March 22.

The best way to handle a newly uncertain life is to take action. In other words, nail down some information and have some emergency plans in place.

Chanel Reynolds, author of "What Matters Most," is a disaster-prep expert. When her late husband was in a devastating motorcycle accident, she quickly found out that having no plans in place made life even harder.

She didn't know where at least half of her and her husband's documentation was. "The stuff I didn't know and the things that could have taken maybe five seconds to write down took maybe hours or dozens of hours or days," Reynolds said.

Reynolds suggests the following:  

  • Create a will, living will and power of attorney.
  • Research and purchase the appropriate life insurance policy.
  • Have financial information, such as budgets, in order.
  • Create a savings plan to cover emergencies.
  • Keep track of online accounts and passwords.

Talk it through

It might be a tough conversation but sit down with your partner and talk over how you'd like to handle things. If one or both of you is hospitalized, who will take care of the kids? Is there a plan for family pets?

Shopping list  

According to, most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

Be prepared by making sure you have over-the-counter medicines and supplies, such as tissues, for fever and other symptoms. The CDC recommends enough household items and groceries to make sure you're set for two weeks.

More from Invest in You:
Nail your financial goals the way an Olympic medalist does 
Panic shopping and fleeing to cash seem to go hand in hand
Is social media dictating how you spend?  

Resource list

You might find it helpful to identify your community's aid organizations. Create a list of local groups to contact in the event you need information, health-care services, support and resources. Consider including those that provide mental health or counseling services, food and other supplies.

Emergency numbers

Create your own emergency contact list. Make sure every member of the household has a current list of contacts for friends, neighbors, health-care providers and employers. It's probably a good idea to also have information about the local public health department and other community resources.

How to stay financially sound during the coronavirus pandemic
How to stay financially sound during the coronavirus pandemic