Financial Sustainability in Times of Crisis

Reader Contribution by Anna Twitto
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Not that long ago, my mom told me, “I hope I can hold off retiring for a while.” 

“Why?” I asked. She had, after all, celebrated her 70th birthday. 

“Because my retirement funds are tied up in stocks that have unexpectedly plummeted because of COVID-19.”

This was a sobering thought. Consider all the people who have been prudent and saved and had pension plans – only to find themselves with a much smaller pension than they had counted on if they retire now. They did everything right, yet it wasn’t enough to secure a comfortable provision once they stopped working. 

What does this mean? I won’t say anything radical like “money is worthless now” or “ditch the money economy”. I’m a firm believer in personal finances, putting money aside, and planning for the future. 

But I also believe that the coronavirus crisis has shown us that stability, security, and well being depend on much more than money. 

For example, a recent local COVID-originated shipping crisis has stripped the stores of eggs. You just couldn’t buy a dozen eggs anywhere, no matter how much you were willing to pay. The people who had the upper hand in this situation were those who kept their own chickens and had their own eggs. This has resulted in a veritable local boom of urban chicken-keeping, with the price of laying hens doubling and tripling. 

Growing your own food is a major security factor in times of instability. With a well-tended vegetable garden, fruit trees, some chickens, and maybe a couple of goats (wherever the local authorities permit), you’re a lot less vulnerable in situations of delayed food shipments and empty store shelves. 

A full pantry is an extension of that. Recent events have shown us that people who had a stockpile just sat back and watched the show while everyone else scrambled for toilet paper and dry beans. So – I’m not telling anyone to hoard that TP, but definitely have a supply of nonperishable goods. Canning, pickling, freezing, and drying produce from your garden is another old-age strategy we can and should go back to. 

Sometimes, skills count more than money. You could, for instance, repair someone’s computer in exchange for them repairing your roof; teach someone to knit in exchange for garden produce; and so on. Everyone has barterable skills that might count even more in times of crisis; and even people who don’t “specialize” in anything can babysit or weed gardens – one’s time and able hands are valuable commodities as well.

Another thing one might consider is making a secure investment of one’s money, one that will maintain its value even if the worth of money per se deteriorates. Obviously, one should be careful with that and weigh all the pros and cons. Here, for instance, land and real estate is a pretty much foolproof investment. We live in a small country, and land will always remain inherently valuable. 

Lastly, when the you-know-what hits the fan (and we could make a strong case that it already has) people who belong to collaborative, supportive communities are a lot likelier to be well-off in terms of commodities, food security, etc, than those who rely solely on money to ensure their wellbeing. Now is THE time to support local farmers, local handymen, mom and pop stores, and every product and service that will mean a return of resources to the local community. 

Creative Commons photo from Pixabay

Anna Twittos academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna, her husband, and their four children live on the outskirts of a small town in northern Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens, and foraging. Anna’s books are on her Author PageConnect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blogRead all Anna’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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