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This has been a tremendously difficult year, but you don't want it to negatively impact your life more than it has already. In this episode of The Financial Diet, Chelsea has some Thoughts on what not to do during the rest of 2020.

Everything you need to know about investing right now:

Cash definition:

Student loan rights:,flexibilities%20for%20federal%20student%20loans.

Buying in a seller's market:

Remote worker pay cuts:

MLM statistics:

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Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here:

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Hi, everyone.

It's Chelsea. And I am just popping in quickly to remind you, if you have not gotten your tickets yet, if you have not even heard about it yet, TFD is hosting its first ever all day digital conference on Friday, October 16.

We're calling it The Big Reset 2020 because it's everything you need to completely turn around your life and your finances in 2020. Take back and reclaim this terrible year. We're going to be doing all kinds of stuff, from interactive workshops to deep dive panels, to live mentoring, to all kinds of take home activities and fun interactive events.

And if you can't make it on the day, don't worry because every ticket holder will get full access to the whole summit after the fact to watch whenever you want. Don't forget to secure your spot today by hitting the link in our description or going to for more. Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is sponsored by Fidelity Investments. And as you can see, I'm home.

Baby, I'm home. I'm here with my pupperino. I'm in my apartment.

It's September right now, mid-September. We got that crispy fall weather on the way. Things are wonderful.

The leaves are starting to turn the tiniest bit. My dog is freshly haircut. Everything is great.

I could not be happier. I'm in my home. I'm in my joy.

And today, I want to talk about what we should not do under any circumstances in 2020. Like many of you, I have had a pretty chaotic 2020. And the way this year has gone has been, in many ways, the complete opposite from what I expected.

I've been paying rent on an office for six months now that we have not been able to touch. Although I did successfully negotiate an entire 50% off for our entire next year of rent. So snaps to me and my negotiation skills.

And also New York City's struggling commercial real estate market, but that's a separate conversation. I have not shared permanent residence with my husband in a country since mid-March. The trajectory for my business' growth this year has been all kinds of messed up.

All the things that I used to love to do in my city and the people I love to see have radically changed, have moved, have shut down temporarily. Things are different than expected. But all things considered, my life is still a very privileged one.

TFD is still chugging along. My husband and I, although our future in terms of residency is super uncertain, are able to be together quite a lot. And New York City has continued to maintain its stellar, stellar numbers when it comes to the pandemic.

So life is resuming more and more normally every single day. In fact, your girl's about to go to a museum. And I have to say, having been to a museum during COVID-19, the experience of a museum with very few people in it and everyone wearing a mask and keeping their distance is the superior museum experience.

Let's keep that going. But all of that is to say 2020 has thrown us all for a loop. And as a result, a lot of us are probably doing things or considering things that we might not have otherwise considered.

And it can feel very easy in this moment to get so overwhelmed with anxiety and fear and disappointment and frustration that we make decisions from a very emotional place rather than our rational self-interest. And it is the most important challenge for all of us this year to regain control over our decision making, our clear thinking, and putting in place the right systems now so that as things continue to normalize, and they will, we are better and better prepared for our future. But sometimes, it's easier to talk in terms of what not to do than what to do, especially because what everyone should do is going to look a little different based on your situation.

So without further ado, let's jump into 7 things not to do in 2020 under any circumstances. Number 1 is avoiding your finances. And I know some of you might be thinking, I am getting so much bad news about the economy, about the pandemic, about all my favorite things to do, which are closed down indefinitely, the concerts I can't go to, this, that, and the other.

I can't take more bad news. I don't want to look at my finances. Now is more important than ever to be hyper, hyper aware of everything going on with your money.

You have to think about what are the biggest risks to my personal financial trajectory, both in terms of your personal individual context, as well as the global economy over the next 12 months. Are you in a sector that is very vulnerable to further layoffs or furloughs? Have you already been laid off or furloughed?

Are you a freelancer who's seeing dwindling business? Are most of your assets currently illiquid right now? There's going to be a lot to consider.

And on the global level, clearly, if nothing else, there is a good amount of uncertainty ahead of us, which means that now is more important than ever to have an extremely clear understanding of your finances and what you need to do every day to set them up in a better place. For most of us, the best strategy financially is going to be a combined and balanced approach of staying the course and tweaking things in your favor, particularly as you balance your short term and long term needs. Now, in terms of staying the course, when it comes to something like your long term investment strategy, that is where you are going to want to, if you can afford to, keep being consistent.

Our good friend and investing expert Amanda Holden did a whole video on TFD, which I highly recommend and we'll link you to in the description, about how to manage your investments, specifically through the time of COVID. But the most important takeaway is that you shouldn't let what's happening outside radically change your strategy. You don't want to suddenly be pulling everything out.

You don't want to suddenly be dumping a ton of money in the market just because there might be a dip. When it comes to solid investing, it's about thinking long term and being consistent in your contributions regardless of what's happening around you. Now of course, I say that's if you can afford to do so.

Because simultaneously, you want to make sure that if you're in a situation where you're exposed to a higher than usual level of risk, which I would argue is almost all of our cases right now as we look down the barrel of a potential recession and many industries are currently very volatile, we want to be putting a higher priority on cash. And I don't just mean physical tangible dollar bills. In Wall Street parlance, cash is any investment that can be turned quickly and painlessly into spending money.

Your money market account at a bank, for example, is considered cash, so is your money market mutual fund. Treasury bills and other short term interest bearing investments are considered cash too. And of course, this also includes money in your checking and savings account, et cetera, like your emergency fund.

Having a little bit more cash on hand in uncertain times is important for obvious reasons. You want to make sure that if, for example, your income suddenly takes a hit or you unexpectedly have to move, you are able to do so. And for example, if we enter a time where taking money out of the market would not be a good idea-- and we'll talk about that more later-- having cash to weather a storm can be a huge advantage.

But as I mentioned at the beginning, your money strategy at this time is really about balancing those two things, staying the course where you can and adapting where you can't. But good news on that is that just because you want to be adding a little bit more cash to your coffers doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have to totally interrupt your long term investment strategy. For example, right now, there are a ton of options out there for things like student loan repayment deferment.

And that can be transformative. For example, if you happen to qualify for one of these deferments on a big monthly loan, that money being saved in the shorter term can go build up your emergency fund to give you a little bit more cash on hand before you return to those loan repayments without having accrued interest in the meantime. We've linked you to a full breakdown in the description on the various student loan deferment programs that are happening right now.

Check them out to see how you could possibly give yourself a little bit more wiggle room in terms of your financial adapting. Long story short, in a time when things are volatile and scary, you need to be more aware of your finances than ever. But just because the world is changing, doesn't mean you have to totally rethink what you've been doing financially.

A few small tweaks here and there on the right focused areas can make your whole financial strategy much more adapted to a time like this. Number 2 is panic move. So I live in New York City.

And I don't know if you've heard, but it's dead out there. You walk outside, it is Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. People are strapped to the front of tanks playing futuristic guitars, and they're fighting each other for water.

And it's scary as hell out there. Just kidding, you walk to the corner and have a delicious whimsical frozen beverage at the beautifully constructed restaurant patio at any of the businesses in your neighborhood because life is basically normal here because we're, I think, the city that's best handling COVID right now. Clearly, things are great in New York City.

But if you've been reading the media, you probably have the opposite image. And that doesn't come from nowhere, right? A lot of people have fled big cities, especially New York City in the past six months, because of everything related to COVID.

But also because many of these people were already probably going to move in the near future and this happened to be a good impetus to do it. And let's also not forget the people who suddenly took a huge hit to their income and could no longer afford to live in a high cost of living city. All around the country, people have been moving in ways that they weren't necessarily moving at the same time last year.

And for many of them, that wasn't a great choice. LendEDU, you a financial information website, surveyed 1,000 mortgage holders in August and found that most people who had bought houses after March 2020 already regretted taking out a mortgage. The survey is not scientific, but the results make sense.

Record low mortgage rates entice new buyers, while urban hotspots for the virus drove people out of cities. In July, there was a 56% drop in Manhattan property sales and a 44% increase in the city's neighboring suburbs. Home prices in nearby New Jersey counties increased over 11%, while New York City prices fell 13% compared to last summer.

But buying in a seller's market is not a good move. Home sellers are taking their once in a lifetime moment to sell their houses substantially over asking prices, asking prices that were connected to rental prices in the neighborhood. Conventional financial advice suggests that if a home costs more than 20 times the annual rent for the home could fetch, the house is probably overvalued.

A $400,000 home should rent for $1,667 a month or more. In times of low mortgage rates, the break-even ratio can be a bit higher. But in this K-shaped recovery, rents are falling, occupancy rates are down, and your house might remain overpriced.

Now obviously, in a time of such economic uncertainty, being prudent and thoughtful and cautious in your big financial decision making is more important than ever. And buying a home on short notice in an overvalued market is one of the worst things you can do financially, even in good times. However, those of us who were thinking it was never going to be possible to buy a home in the neighborhood they wanted to buy a home and are suddenly like, hmm, here in New York City, maybe one day we'll be homeowners.

Things are looking good for us. But even still, even though there are many deals to be had in New York City right now, my husband and I are not chomping at the bit to put down any money on a home. Because although if you were already looking to move or to buy and you could get a good deal because of COVID, there could be reasons to consider doing it, there's also the important thing to consider that right now cash is of the essence.

As I mentioned earlier, in such volatile times, you want to have a lot of cash on hand to help weather any storm that you might face. And what happens when you buy a home? For most of us, it requires a large down payment that suddenly ties up a large amount of your free cash in a very illiquid asset, i.e. a home.

So in terms of the don't panic move scale of bad decision making, number one is panic moving into an overpriced market. Please do not do that. Although I guess, in terms of someone who plans to stay in New York City, if people continue to do that, it might plunge the market in Manhattan even further.

And I'll be able to potentially one day get an even sweeter apartment here. So maybe do you keep doing that. I don't know.

Jury's out, but clearly that's the worst decision you can make. Second worst decision that you can make is buying a home for an appropriate or even lower than usual value, but when you need a lot of cash on hand, because then you're suddenly completely illiquid. And if something happens to, for example, your job, you are totally screwed.

And then lastly, the best decision you can make in terms of moving is to just wait it out. Give yourself a little bit of breathing room. Get to a place where you can afford to take a huge hit to your cash.

You feel as stable as it's possible to feel in terms of your industry, your employment, your income, et cetera. And you know that move is the right one for you regardless of the current circumstance. Because as we saw with COVID, New York City went from, in March, being the worst place in the country with regards to COVID to now as having some of the best numbers when it comes to COVID.

But do remember that even if you come to the decision to move or to buy a home in COVID in the best possible way, there still could be other factors to consider in that decision. For example, several large employers, who have now given the option to their employees to go permanently remote, have also added an important caveat. Facebook was amongst the first big companies to make working from home a permanent option, but has already made it clear that it will cut workers' pay if they relocate from the Bay Area to less expensive places, a cost cutting tactic common among employers whose workers retain their jobs while moving to a less expensive area.

So that's another factor to consider. Just because you might be moving from your very high cost of living city doesn't necessarily mean you'll be taking your very high cost of living salary with you. Number 3 is compromise your comfort zone.

Now this one is very straightforward, but we are in a time when everyone has a completely different approach to the pandemic. I'm sure you have people on your social media who are still like lowkey bragging about fully quarantining, six months in, wiping down all their groceries with Clorox wipes and all that stuff. And then you have people on your social media who are like fully at raves.

And you're like, how are you even at a rave? Where is this happening? Where you even going to raves before all this happened?

What's going on? There is a huge, huge spectrum. And it's totally understandable that you might feel pressured to engage in behaviors or participate in activities that don't quite line up with your comfort level.

First of all, you have to decide what is the level of risk mitigation that you are comfortable with. You might be traveling to see family members and looking to do that in a responsible way. You might be immunocompromised or live with someone who is.

So you're going to be erring to the very cautious side. You might need to be out and about every single day for your job. So you don't really have the choice to cut all that much back on your exposure.

But wherever your comfort zone lies, it is very important that you just get comfortable with those boundaries and with enforcing them unapologetically. We talk a lot about being able to say a firm unapologetic no to social activities that don't necessarily fit into your budget. But when those social activities can potentially go above and beyond into compromising your own health or your personal comfort zone, you need to be very, very clear about what you are and aren't willing to do and not feel like that's potentially compromising your friendships.

Because quite frankly, if it is compromising your friendships, that's a hard no to that friendship. My husband and I have obviously engaged in certain behaviors during this pandemic that other people would not. In order for us to stay together, we have chosen to fly with each other back and forth as has needed to happen with regards to Mark's immigration issues.

And many people haven't been comfortable setting foot on a plane and that's understandable. But on the contrary, we also said to a wedding recently, which was a little bit of drama in the short term, but ultimately, completely the right decision to make for us because that's a very, very high risk activity. And I wanted to be able to meet my baby niece.

Because yes, your girl is an aunt, the role I was born to play. The point is, in making both of those decisions, flying on a plane, saying no to a wedding, I never for one minute really felt conflicted because I knew that they were the right decisions for me. And that I was mitigating the risk to the level that I was comfortable with.

Everyone's life might look different for the next year or so, and that's OK. What's important is that you are never pushed beyond your comfort zone for someone else's agenda. Number 4 is join an MLM to make extra money.

No surprise here, times are hard. We have seen record unemployment numbers. People are furloughed.

Entire industries are on pause. People are looking for extra income. Even if people have their income, as we mentioned in point number one, extra cash is of the essence.

So people are looking to replenish and build up their emergency funds. And as a result, MLMs have seized the occasion to exploit people more than ever. Real quick, what is an MLM?

MLM stands for a multi-level marketing scheme. These are basically pyramid schemes. They are sort of quasi businesses which basically operate through recruiting new members, and people typically get paid more for the new members that they recruit underneath them than for any actual product they might sell.

Many of them also require you to buy inventory upfront. So you end up having to invest money before you've even made $1 back. And if you had any doubts about how lucrative these are, for 99% of participants, MLMs will lose you money.

But now more than ever, these predatory businesses have seized an opportunity to exploit people who are newly nervous or vulnerable in their finances. With so many people out of work, there's an eager audience. The Direct Selling Association, the trade group representing MLMs, says that 51% of the 51 companies that participated in a survey in early June said that COVID-19 has had a quote positive impact on their 2020 revenue. 59% reported the same in a later survey.

DSA president Joseph Mariano says some sellers have inflated the potential rewards of investing in their companies. And beyond that, some MLMs are even using the pandemic as an opportunity to market dubious health remedies to help protect you during this time, things like water treatments and essential oils and light therapies and supplements. All of that stuff has found an even more eager audience in such a time of uncertain health and misinformation.

So now is more than ever a time to be vigilant about these opportunities. When someone's coming into your social media inbox with an [INAUDIBLE] like, hey, girl, love your hairband. Also, you want to join my scheme?

You need to squash that shit immediately. You cannot let your fear of not having enough cash on hand take you into opportunities that stand to lose you more money than it possibly brings you. MLMs should always be rejected on sight, especially during a time when there are more opportunities than ever for additional remote work that can be taken on on your schedule, things like remote tutoring, remote babysitting, temp work, assisting work, all of that stuff that can happen from the comfort of your own computer and takes the form of money given for services rendered, and therefore doesn't run the risk of putting you massively in debt to a leggings pyramid scheme.

And if you want more information on how effing terrible MLMs are, we'll link you in the description to one of our favorite videos on the subject. Number 5, compare this to a normal year. As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy.

And that has never been more true than a year in which nearly everything you planned likely couldn't happen exactly as you planned it. There is no reason why you should ever compare what is happening in your life right now, your career, your finances, your social life, your big plans, your travel, with what they would have been in different circumstances. In fact, in life, one of our greatest sources of dissatisfaction and frustration often comes from unmanaged or ill-managed expectations.

Like for example, when you're in a relationship with a certain person, whether a friend or family member, and you find yourself constantly frustrated by their behavior or disappointed by their behavior, it's usually to some extent because on some level, even if you don't necessarily admit it, you're expecting them to be someone they're not. You're expecting them to change. You're expecting them to grow.

You're expecting to get a different response from them than what you're getting. The same thing is true in most facets of our life. If we are constantly expecting some element of our life to be different than what it is, even if we don't really tell ourselves that's what we're expecting, we're always going to be, to some extent, disappointed.

The key to our happiness and fulfillment and satisfaction in most situations is going to be in calibrating our expectation to our reality, whether that's another person or literally our entire life at a given moment. If we can instead take this year on exactly its own terms, we can both start to be more lucid about the accomplishments we're actually taking and what we can actually be grateful for in the moment, but we can also start to put in place the day-to-day choices and habits that will set us up for a better future as things start to normalize. And they will.

For me, I find that taking the focus down to a very day-to-day level is really helpful because you're analyzing that day just on the scope of a day. It's not being put in the spectrum of a huge year that might have been a disappointment or being compared to this day last year when things were totally different. For example, on a given day in New York, I can celebrate the fact that the weather is beautiful, that maybe museums are opening up, that I can go for a really nice walk, that I can see a friend outside.

There are so many opportunities on a day-to-day basis to be happy with how things are evolving. And you can also find more manageable steps to take to help set you up for the future. For example, on a given day, I can find a time to go through a little to-do list with regards to my finances or do a little bit of housekeeping when it comes to a few various career goals.

And then when I go to bed, I can enjoy my sleep based on what I've done that day and focus on starting with a fresh slate tomorrow. And by the way, not to shamelessly plug, but this is my channel and my business. So I can do whatever the hell I want.

We're hosting a digital summit on October 16, which is an all day conference to help totally reclaim your year, reset 2020, and restart your life financially and personally in a better direction. So please join us. I'll be there all day doing lots of great stuff and so will a lot of your favorite other personal finance experts.

Tons of activities, tons of fun things, workshops, workbooks, downloadable guides, all kinds of good stuff. Click the link in our description and join the summit. Number 6 is sell off a bunch of stock at a market dip.

Now, this is probably going to be the most important one to remember to never do under any circumstances this year because it could potentially be so costly to you, not just in dollar value, but in opportunity cost for the long term. This is also why it is incredibly important to go watch Amanda's video on investing through the time of COVID, which I mentioned earlier and which is linked in our description. It is a full exploration of this concept and others.

But suffice it to say, one thing to keep in mind is if the market is going down, you do not touch it. In fact, if you are really tempted to possibly take your money out and panic, don't even look at your portfolio during that time when the news is bad about the market. And yes, that is the one exception to the, you must keep an eye on your finances this year rule, if you need it.

And why is it so important not to take your money out during a market dip? Well, let's break it down. If the market takes a dip and suddenly your portfolio is worth, let's say, 10% less than it was last year-- let's say 20% less than it was last year-- until you actually take that money out of the market, those losses, that decrease in value is entirely theoretical.

It represents what your portfolio would be worth if you took out that money now. If you don't touch the money and the market quickly rebounds, you never actually experience those losses. It was entirely on paper.

It was never in your wallet. That money that might have taken a temporary dive could very quickly regain its value or even increase in value, which given the history of the market, is almost certain to happen on a long enough timeline. Taking your money out of the market when it's at a low point is what we call locking in your losses, i.e. taking that theoretical dip in value and making it real.

And beyond not locking in your losses, focusing on the timing aspect at all when it comes to how you're handling the market is really a mistake. Timing the market can be incredibly difficult. And investors who engage in market timing invariably miss some of the best days of the market.

Historically, 6 of the 10 best days in the market occur within two weeks of the 10 worst days. According to JP Morgan's Asset Management's Guide to Retirement 2019, an investor with $10,000 in the S&P 500 index, who stayed fully invested between January 4, 1999 and December 31, 2018 would have about $30,000. An investor who missed 10 of the best days in the market each year would have under $15,000.

A very skittish investor who missed 30 of the best days would have less than what he or she started with-- $6,213 to be exact. So what is the point in all of this? The point is that consistency is key.

No matter what is happening out there in the news, being consistent with your investments, staying the course, and focusing on the long term when it comes to your investment strategy is always going to be the right approach as opposed to getting skittish, pulling your money out, putting it in at strange times, and trying to time the market. Lastly, number 7 is obsess over what happens next. The truth is that no one really knows what's going to happen next.

Not with the vaccine. Not with the looming recession. Not with the future of remote work on a grand scale.

Not with the future of remote schooling, nothing. Trying to be ahead of the curve by predicting what's going to happen next is not a good way to operate, both in terms of your investment in the market, but also in terms of your decision making. You can make educated guesses and plan for a probable outcome in both your financial and lifestyle decisions, but you can't become overly sure that you know what's going to happen.

Giving up on the idea that you can know what life is going to look like six months from now is very, very difficult. We're not wired to work that way, but it's actually an extremely important personal exercise now, of course, but in general as well. For example, I have literally no idea what country my husband's going to be living in in six months.

Is it France? Is it America? Who can say?

That's what's so fun about this. I love this. Just kidding, it's awful.

But here's the thing, neither of us know. And while we can mitigate our risk and prepare for several different outcomes by planning now and making our decisions based on those outcomes, trying to regain control by knowing what's going to be the case in six months is just going to set us up for disappointment and lead us to feel frustrated in the short term. Now obviously, our case is very unique.

The immigration system is such a question mark. And with a presidential election in a matter of weeks, anything could really be the case. But the same is true of the COVID situation right now, as well as a possible recession.

So hedging your bets and making generally good choices that set you up for the maximal amount of options, freedom, and flexibility is going to be the right decision, but you're not going to be able to regain that satisfaction of feeling like you can definitively plan for exactly where you'll be in six months. So I recommend an exercise to you at home that has been incredibly helpful to me personally in the immigration situation that we're dealing with. Create a personal mantra, something that you can repeat to yourself that helps calm you down and refocus you.

I have one that I repeat to myself about sort of whatever the outcome is we'll deal with it and we'll be prepared for it. But yours could be based on your own personal situation and fears. When you find yourself in a panic spiral about what's going to be the case, let's say, six months from now, start to breathe slowly and repeat that mantra to yourself out loud if possible.

Then when you've physically calmed yourself down a bit and allowed your brain to shift focus slightly, move yourself immediately to a different task that either is something productive or something that brings you joy. It could be as simple as listening to a song that makes you feel good or it could be something like taking an action that will help stabilize you financially and prepare you for a worst case scenario. Whatever it is, immediately channel that sense of nervous energy into an actual activity.

And repeat the mantra to yourself until you can regain control over how you feel in the moment. I'm someone who is obsessed with planning and who loves living in a projected future, and that's basically been completely taken from me this year. We have an office sitting there every day that I genuinely have no idea when our team will be able to use again.

That causes me a great deal of personal stress. But focusing on that unknown is the way to guarantee that the time between now and when we go back to the office is going to be unpleasant as hell. So if there's one thing you must never ever do this year, it's obsess about what the future will look like because you don't know.

But you can prepare yourself to be well suited for multiple outcomes. And as I mentioned, this video is sponsored by Fidelity Investments. They are here to help you reach your savings goals.

So if you're looking for a way to finally start investing what you save, check out Fidelity. As always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos.