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In this episode, Chelsea answers your questions — in a responsible, socially distanced way — about coping with isolation, handling fear and anxiety, and planning for a future that feels uncertain.

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Hello, everyone.

It is Chelsea Fagan here in an empty studio, except for my baby girl Mona, here to do a very special episode of The Financial Confessions that's all about this kind of chaotic and unprecedented time that we're all living in but, luckily, all living in together, at the very least. It's nice to not be going through this alone.

So I thought because I cannot safely social distance and have a guest here in studio, I would take some time to answer some of you guys' questions about the ongoing situation and see what's going on with you guys and talk about it a little bit. As I'm filming this, it's March 30. So it's being filmed a week before this video will be going live.

So things may change between now and then. But I will try to keep the information that I'm sharing as broadly relevant as possible, though if something does evolve by the time this goes live, don't hold me to it. And of course, before we get into this episode and all of you guys' awesome questions, I want to quickly give a hello to our beloved partners with whom we make every episode of The Financial Confessions, Intuit.

So if you guys don't know by now, Intuit is the maker of many amazing financial products, like Mint, Turbo, QuickBooks, TurboTax, basically all of the programs that you'll need it to help run your financial life in a much better and easier way. Right now, obviously, as a small business, we are very focused day to day on the management of our expenses and the payments that we owe. And we use QuickBooks every day to keep a really, really close eye on our finances.

I'm also, of course, like many of you, very personally concerned with keeping my personal financials as healthy as possible. I've been using Mint, which is a free budgeting app for, I guess, seven years now. And it's more useful than ever.

And if you are looking at filing your taxes in the very near future, which many of you are, they obviously make TurboTax, which is, in my opinion, the best and easiest software for navigating filing your taxes. But basically, Intuit provides you all the products you need to keep your financial life healthy and organized. And many of them are free.

So if you can't wait to get started, check out the link in our description or our show notes. So I'm going to get right into it with some of you guys' questions. You guys asked quite a lot.

But we picked out some of our favorites. I graduate in May. How will I find a job if nobody will be hiring?

Well, that's a great question because my generation grew up-- I came of age during the Great Recession. I never graduated from college. But if I had graduated from college, I would have graduated in 2010, which would not have been a good time to graduate.

And so many people in our generation were in the same boat, where you had spent your whole life thinking that if you went to college and you got a degree and you did everything the right way that there would just be some guy in a suit waiting at the exit of your college with a paper in his hand that said, job. And that's how it worked. And obviously, for a lot of us, that really isn't how it worked.

So a lot of us kind of evolved on what we defined as the perfect job. We got more creative about how we got into companies and what positions we started in, what kind of jobs we were looking at. I think a lot of people went into college with a very narrow expectation that they would find a job that was perfectly in their field and then ended up having to kind of expand that idea little bit.

So I think being as flexible as you can be about what a job looks like and how to apply for it and how you're going to find the job-- do remember that about 70% of jobs never end up getting listed in any case. They end up getting hired from people that they already know or hired from within. So remember that networking, as much as we all hate that word, and being really creative about how you make connections in your industry is going to be very important.

But it's also just very important at any time and in any economy. But I think also, you have to go into this as positively and as optimistically as possible. If you go into this situation saying, no one's going to be hiring, and I'm going to be doomed to getting a shitty job, that's probably what's going to happen to you.

You have to go into it with an attitude of, well, maybe this will create opportunities for jobs that didn't even exist a year ago. Or maybe this will allow me to rethink how I prioritize my skill set. And maybe there's another element of my skill set that I can lean on more that I wasn't necessarily planning to use, especially if they're skill sets that are very digitally focused.

If you go into it saying, I'm going to adapt. I'm going to find the best possible job that I can. I'm going to accept that it may not be exactly what I thought it would look like.

But I will make the best of it, that's likely to be your outcome. I just think in general-- and this goes for a lot of questions that we've been receiving-- it doesn't help you to be defeatist. It doesn't help you to panic.

And it doesn't help you to think that you're going to be in a horrible situation before it's even happened. My husband always says that worrying is like praying for something bad to happen. And I think that's very true.

If something is out of your control, don't worry about it. And in this case, it will be like what the state of the overall economy will be this summer, which is very hard for us to have any individual control over. But what is within your control-- do something about it.

Don't worry about it. And what is within your control is being a lot more creative and flexible about your resume, about how you're making connections, about the skills that you're putting into play, and even about the potential skills that you could be learning. If I were you, I'd be beefing up on a lot of digital skills right now.

Maybe learn a new program in the next couple of months. Focus on what you can control and lean into that. And don't get defeatist.

You're in college, for Christ sakes. If you're already getting defeatist and nihilistic, we're all screwed. Are you using extra cash to invest in the stock market or to support local businesses slash orgs?

Our investment for ongoing stuff like retirement has remained the same, just steady. Slow and steady wins the race, same contributions, same rate. I have been supporting local businesses.

I've been doing my duty of eating delicious pizza that I get delivered safely to myself. I've been buying gift cards places. I've been supporting all the local businesses I can and tipping like a Rockefeller, which everyone needs to be doing at this time.

I mean, I wouldn't say that's where all my extra money is going. We're saving a lot of cash right now. Obviously, we're not really spending much money.

And both of us, my husband and myself, luckily have our jobs and our incomes. So aside from the fact there's not a whole lot to be spending money on right now, keeping a lot of cash handy is where we want it. Because if we do enter into a recession, you want to have a lot of cash free for a really, really beefed-up emergency fund if anything should happen.

My goal, honestly, is to get an emergency fund of a year worth of living expenses going, which is a lot and not how much I would normally keep. But with all the uncertainty going on, that's definitely what I'm doing with a lot of my extra money. In addition to buying some scrumptious 'za, how are you doing without Marc?

I'm going to cry. Oh, no. I might actually cry no.

No, it's fine. I don't know. I am very much like, of course I miss him.

For those who don't know, my husband, for unrelated immigration reasons, had to leave the country in March for what looks like will be about a year. And because of the travel ban and everything, we can't see each other right now. We can't go back and forth, even as tourists.

So I do have my tickets to go see him in May. That may end up having to get changed. But I'm holding out hope, which will make it about just under two months that we'll have been separated.

You know, it's funny. I'm sad, in a sense, obviously. I miss him on a very day-to-day level.

I miss my homie. I miss my buddy. I love him.

My big old string bean-- where is he? He's gone. So I do miss him in that sense.

But I also feel like I would much rather have him be living abroad right now than have lost his job, which was the alternative. Because he could have stayed in America but wouldn't have had a work authorization. So I feel incredibly lucky that we both have our jobs and our sources of income.

I feel incredibly lucky that, as I've mentioned before, we have a team member here at TFD who's currently pregnant and, for COVID-related reasons, is also separated from her spouse. So look at that situation. I know plenty of people who are heavily immunocompromised are separating from their loved ones.

Doctors and nurses who are working in hospitals in many cases are having to separate from their families at home and live in hotels here in New York because they're not able to come in contact with other people. So I just feel like I am sad and can lean into that sadness on a personal level. But as it pertains to this whole situation, I want to stay as positive as possible, be grateful for the good things that we do have to hold on to, and remember that, in the grand scheme of things, it's not that long to be apart.

And honestly, lastly, knowing ourselves, if we had been quarantined together for multiple months on end in our New York City apartment, I think we would have ended up getting on each other's nerves after a while. So I'm not saying it wouldn't have been better. I would have rather had him here.

But I think both quarantining alone and quarantining with someone have their ups and their downs. But I do miss him. He's my buddy.

Should I worry about my money that's in the bank? No. No.

No is the answer. If your FDIC-insured bank account money is no longer safe, we're in a real bad situation. That's like knife fighting in the parking lot of a Costco level, not a good situation.

So FDIC, for those who don't know-- I just looked up the acronym because I wasn't sure what order the words were in. But it's Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. So it's basically an agency of the federal government that insures your money.

A lot of bank accounts you'll hear it's up to $250,000 will be insured. And that means that if something happens to the bank, and your money is in that bank, that agency is insuring that money. So that money is still good.

And so if that money is not protected, yikes. I don't know what's happening. But I know that New York City, of all places, is not going to be a good place to be in that kind of apocalyptic scenario.

But no, you don't have to worry about your money in the bank. My company is stopping their 401(k) match through the end of the year. What should I do?

Listen, this is an interesting question. Obviously, I don't know the nuances of this situation. But if they are doing something like this as a stopgap measure to not have to lay people off-- like, for example, other companies are doing company-wide reductions in salary as a measure to not have to lay off any individual employees-- that's, in many ways, a better situation than a bunch of people having to get laid off.

And in the grand scheme of things, only having your employer 401(k) match go away for a year is-- it's not a good situation. But if, hopefully, they're using that as an alternative to having to make more serious cutbacks in staff, it could be worse, I guess. So what should I do, is the question.

I mean, what can you do? Give them a bomb threat until they reinstate the company match? I don't know.

Not much. But what you should do in your own personal investment strategy-- you have two options. You could either make up that match yourself by contributing more personally each month to your 401(k), or you could just be saving more cash, which I'm personally doing right now.

Do what feels right to your situation. If you have an extremely high emergency fund, maybe you would put that money in your investment account. On a similar note, I've been hearing that now is the best time to start investing.

Is this true? And if so, any good tips on where to start? We also got a lot of related questions, like, is it wise to invest now with everything going on?

Is this a good time to make your first investment, et cetera. I would like to give this question a nuanced answer. First and foremost, the big picture to always keep in mind-- and our investing expert here at TFD, Amanda Holden, who frequently does Q&As on our Instagram, which we can link you guys to, talks about this a lot.

And she actually recently did a Q&A just about COVID-related investing questions. The big takeaway is that, ultimately, there is no good or bad time to start investing. The best time to have started investing is yesterday.

The second-best time is today because it's not a question of the moment at which you buy into it the first time. That's going to be insignificant at the scale of investing over decades. What is meaningful is how early in your life you start investing and how long you let that investment or those investments mature.

And most investments, particularly if you're talking about something like retirement-- that's going to happen over the course of decades. But most of them are going to happen at least for a decade, probably, or a long span of time, long enough that it's going to go through multiple market fluctuations. And there are going to be good times and bad times.

And yes, when you're buying it at a time where it's a lower market value, you're going to be getting more for your dollar. But that's just one investment among many that you'll make in your life. And it's likely that many other times when you're making contributions to your various investment accounts you're going to be making them at higher market points.

So you're going to be getting less of a deal. And it all kind of evens out. What matters is time and consistency.

So I wouldn't say that now is particularly a good time to start doing it any more than yesterday was a good time to start doing it. It's all about starting early and staying the course. So you should look at your investment strategy long term as pretty irrelevant of what's happening at any one given moment and much more focused on the overall time that you're giving it.

Because one thing that we do know studying the market over the past century or more is that it will go up. It will go down. There will be bull and bear markets.

But ultimately, the long-term curve is up. And that's what you need to be focused on-- the long-term curve. I will say, though, for what it's worth, the one question that we'll sometimes get is, well, should I dump as much cash as possible into an investment account because the market is essentially on sale right now, which is true in a sense.

But then you're locking up so much of your cash in an investment account that may be in a bear market for a long time to come. You may find that the market gets worse from here or that it doesn't get meaningfully better for quite some time. And insofar as that money is tied up in investment accounts and has very little time to mature, you should really consider that money illiquid because you might be taking it out at a loss.

Or when you count all the fees and stuff, you may have barely made any kind of profit on it whatsoever. So putting all of your money tied up that way in a market that's very unsure puts you in a really vulnerable position. Because what if you lose your job next year?

Or what if you unexpectedly have to move or anything that could necessitate you needing a healthy amount of cash, which often can happen in a recession? And you've put all of your money in the market and barely have any emergency fund left. You don't want to be in that situation.

I think personally and what I can recommend because I am not an investing expert-- I would consider myself fairly knowledgeable. But I can speak to my strategy and my approach, which is stay the course with your current contributions and your current investments. Try to stay as much to that course as possible.

But that extra money you might be saving for those of us who still have our income-- I would keep that money in cash, if I were you, unless you already had a really, really robust emergency fund. I think it's good to have cash on hand when we're possibly looking at going into a recession. But don't let the market spook you, man.

If you're one of those people who freaks out at the sight of a market dip and, God forbid, pulls out a bunch of money, the game ain't for you, buddy. Oof. My down payment was tied up in mutual funds to be used within three years.

Am I screwed? Well, I mean, listen. The experts do say that you're really not supposed to keep something like a down payment for a house that you're looking to buy in under five years in something like a mutual fund.

It's just too volatile. I don't like to use the word "screwed." I don't like to say anyone's screwed. But the last thing I would recommend that you do is commit yourself to a time that you absolutely must be buying a home and commit yourself to pulling your money out of a bad market.

I don't know what your circumstances are. If you don't have to buy a house until the market is substantially improved, I wouldn't, personally. I would hold off.

If you have to buy a home, maybe see if you could buy a cheaper home so you don't have to take all of that money out. That's a sucky situation. But I guess that's a lesson for everyone.

When they say you should put your money in a high-yield savings account or, at the very least, a time deposit when it comes to something like home buying, having your down payment in the market is-- it has a lot of potential upside if it's a really good time that you happen to pull it out. But this is what can happen if it doesn't work out timing-wise. I'm sorry to hear that, person.

I'm laid off and considering working for a grocery store. Is safety worth risking for a paycheck? Oh my god.

I feel like these are questions for a priest. I don't feel that I can say that. There's a lot of factors to consider.

What is your current financial situation? Is not having that extra paycheck really going to put you in a dangerous position? What are the local legislations around you about things around like evictions or debt repayment or things that could possibly give you some forgiveness on bills you have?

Is the stimulus check going to be enough of a resource? Do the math on how badly you really need that paycheck, I guess. And then as far as your safety, are you young and able-bodied and really likely to survive the coronavirus?

I feel like it's ethically compromised for me to just tell someone to go out there and put yourself in the line of fire. But at the same time, I shop at the grocery store. Someone's working that job.

So yeesh, I don't know. That's a hard question. I would speak about it with your loved ones.

I don't know. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your doctor.

No, seriously. I feel like that's a question for someone who knows a little bit more nuance around the situation. Also, a good question to ask is, what are the safety practices of the grocery store in question?

At my grocery store, everyone's wearing gloves and masks. And the cashiers are behind a Plexiglas wall now. So that's a step in the right direction.

How to deal with anxiety regarding my budget for the coming months? Honey, if I knew. I think with me, in my experience, when it comes to anxiety-- because I deal with a lot of anxiety.

And it's interesting because I've always found that the worse things are going for me, generally, and the more compounding problems I have, the less anxiety I have because I feel like my whole body just goes into fuck-it mode and is just like, we just don't have enough cortisol anymore, baby. We're all tapped out. So interestingly, I have found my anxiety greatly reduced in this situation, also because I have some chaotic personal situations going on.

We had a chaotic work situation happen. Things have been all over the place. So I just feel like I don't even have enough anxiety to go around anymore.

But I do understand what you're saying, though, about when it comes to the uncertainty of it. Now, obviously, I can't give you specific advice regarding your budget because I don't know if what you're asking is that I genuinely don't have enough money to pay my bills, in which case, again, the answer has to be, look at the resources around you that are available. But it sounds more like your question might be along the lines of everything's so uncertain.

Everything's so scary. How do I deal with this? I feel like one thing that's very, very helpful to me is to force myself to imagine the worst-case scenario.

Imagine it. Visualize it. And then write down what you would do if that happened.

And force yourself to really think through that situation. And give yourself the most visceral mental image of it that you can, really kind of like exposure therapy a little bit. I definitely experience the most overwhelming anxiety around the fact that I don't know when I'll see my husband again.

Because even if it was like it's going to be August 1, which would obviously suck, if someone were like, that's the date you will be on a plane. You will be in his arms. We'll be running to each other like the cover of a romance novel.

If I had a guarantee, I would be a lot more calm about it. But because it's so up in the air, and I don't even know if I'll be able to use the tickets I got-- I might have to move them-- that creates great anxiety for me. So I say to myself, what is the worst worst-case scenario?

And the worst worst-case scenario is that we don't get to see each other until next year because he won't have had his paperwork approved by then. And I can't go to France because they never open up the borders, let's say. I don't think that's going to happen, obviously, especially France, whose entire economy thrives on tourism.

I don't know how they would deal with that. JK. It thrives on a lot of other things.

The French economy's strong. But they are the most touristed country in the world. So not having people come to their country, obviously, is hitting them very hard.

So I don't think that will happen. But what if it does? What does it does?

And what if I don't get to see my husband again until January 1, 2021? What happens? I'm not leaving him.

He's not leaving me, as far as I know. We'll get together. It will be sad.

It will be hard. We'll send each other care packages. And we'll call each other all the time.

And if he has to go to a wedding without me this summer, he'll FaceTime me into the wedding. And we'll live. Life will go on.

And then when we're 80 together, cuddled up in bed like that couple in Titanic while our room floods, we'll barely be able to remember that nine months that we were separated. And that's what it will really be like. And obviously, I hope for the best.

But that's the worst-case scenario. And if that happens, worse things have happened. People have been separated for longer periods of time and have made it through just fine.

So I try to think of it that way because I find that forcing myself to go through to the really logical end point of what I fear the most and thinking about it rationally helps me stay focused on what I can control and helps me feel less fearful of that thing that I can't control. Because at least now it doesn't feel scary. At least now I've accepted the reality that it could happen.

And I know what I'll do if it does happen. So maybe trying something like that with your budget-- like taking the time to actually draw a worst-case scenario budget-- "what if I lose my job" budget, "what if I have to move" budget, any of these questions. And really write out the budget.

And pick out what will have to stay and what will have to go and how you'll make it work and who you could possibly turn to if you needed to. Exposure therapy, baby. Is that what it's called?

According to my producer, we do not think this is called "exposure therapy." But I'm going to say it is anyway. What is the very first thing I should do if I'm laid off? Two answers here, one practical one emotional.

Practical one is to do a full rundown of your finances, exactly where they stand, exactly how much money you have, liquid if you need it, illiquid in case of devastating life-altering emergency. You just have a total portrait of your net worth, all your debts, all your bills. What can be cut out?

What needs to be kept? What resources are available to you in terms of government aid right now? What special legislation might have been passed in your area that can make you a little bit safer on something like rent or what have you-- a full, full rundown of exactly where you stand, what you'll need, how long you can go without income, all those things.

Because one of the scariest parts about being laid off is not knowing where you stand, which is why I highly, highly recommend that even if you have not been laid off and don't think you will be, do that right now. Do a budget of what will happen if you get laid off because knowing that and having that information in your back pocket will make the act of getting laid off so much easier. And now the emotional one is to take an emotional and mental spa day to just do what feels good.

Talk about it with a loved one, someone that you trust. Say all the things that you're afraid of. Say all of the things that you're embarrassed of.

Allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself to eat a really indulgent meal or watch a movie that feels good. Just do what makes you feel good and what makes you feel like you're taking care of yourself because I think, ultimately, although it may change with so many people getting laid off, one of the things that is so harmful when people get laid off or fired is that they feel such a sense of shame around it.

And they feel like they can't talk about it. They can't be honest. They can't sit in it for a minute.

And you really have to. I've been laid off. And I've been fired, baby.

And in both cases, I wish that I had given myself more emotional space to just feel my feelings and take care of myself. And we all know that I'm skeptical about the way the term self-care is thrown about these days. But I will say that nothing is more important when you have just faced something like a layoff than making sure that you are treating yourself really, really well and really taking care of yourself.

Go for that emotional spa day. Last night, I made myself a delicious dinner while watching Julie & Julia, and it made me feel so good. Now, I do want to get to a lot more of your awesome questions.

But first I want to give a really big shout-out to one of the programs that I have been using most in this really uncertain time. And that is QuickBooks. So I am, obviously, a business owner.

And my partner, Annie, who you guys have met before-- she and I use QuickBooks every day to manage all of the ins and outs of what we owe, what we're being paid, preparing all our various documents for tax time, giving us a really good picture of where our expenses are, where we need to cut back, where we could afford to spend a little more. Basically, QuickBooks just provides a really, really comprehensive picture of your overall financial health as a small business and allows you to get any information you need really quickly. So she and I have been using QuickBooks to its fullest, much more even than we usually do.

It was the first thing that we turned to when all of this started happening. And we started to have concerns about, well, are we good on payroll? For how long?

How many clients still owe us? What expenses do we have coming up? And we used QuickBooks to just run through that and get a really, really good picture of where we stood in the matter of like an hour.

And luckily, we found out from that big rundown that we are actually in a very good place. And we're going to be well-positioned to weather this storm. So I could not recommend QuickBooks more as a small business owner.

I absolutely love it. And if you want to check it out for your small business-- and do bear in mind that if you're a freelancer, you are a small business of one-- check it out at the link in our description or our show notes. Where do you find your recipes?

My noggin. I don't know. Cookbooks, the internet, Ina Garten's Instagram.

OK. My producer is informing me that that answer is unhelpful. So where do I get my recipes?

So obviously, all the usual suspects-- cookbooks, the internet, Instagram. Love The Woks of Life. I cook out of them constantly, and not just for Chinese food.

They have all kinds of different cuisines. And their recipes have all been 10 out of 10 hits for me. Love The Woks of Life.

Marc, for one of our-- some holiday birthday or anniversary or something-- he got me a cookbook of traditional Cuban dishes called Paladares. I love that cookbook. It's also beautiful.

It has a lot of really rich history. It's recipes from-- in Cuba, they have those restaurants that are just converted family homes where they serve people in them. And that's what these recipes are from.

So the book is great. I love Ina Garten. Love it.

Love her. Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic-- a life-changing recipe. But I love Ina Garten's stuff because I feel like it's-- sometimes I feel like food bloggers-- it's like they're always trying to do something cutting-edge.

And sometimes it's just like, I just want a normal meal that tastes really good. And I feel like Ina Garten's always really ride that nice line between traditional and accessible but also delicious. Martha Stewart's cookbooks-- I know that's a real throwback.

But Martha Stewart has some really great recipes. Several of her recipes are ones that I've kept through the years. I love Smitten Kitchen.

Her stuff is always really good. But yeah, I think because I'm so used to cooking and cook so much, I'm very much like-- I would say only once a week do I truly pick out a recipe and make that dish. Usually it's like, I have this.

I have this. What can I make? But those are just some of my favies-- and of course, Julia Child.

What are your opinions on the stimulus bill? There's a lot in it that I don't love. I think it's way too much of a handshake to corporate America.

I think that in some ways, it doesn't go nearly far enough, I think. And particularly, Trump just announced today or yesterday that the shutdown measures are being extended through April 30. If that's the case, and we've got potentially 32 million people on unemployment-- 42 million, I think, was the number I was hearing today at the possible peak of this-- there's no way that one $1,200 check is cutting it for people.

So I do think when you look at countries like the UK, they have a Tory-led government right now. So they're certainly not throwing money out the windows in normal times. But they're doing 80% salary coverage and guaranteeing people their jobs back.

So I do think it doesn't go far enough. I think that it's more than I even thought that we would have because we're a country that is very, very reticent to strengthen the social safety net. So it's better than nothing, is my answer.

For small businesses, we actually have a meeting tomorrow with our accountant to go over all the different small business 0% interest loans and grant programs that are made available in the bill. There's also a lot at the local level here in New York City. I know there's a lot of money out there right now for small businesses.

I haven't dug deep enough into it yet to really give a fleshed-out perspective on the nuances of it. But at least it's there. So my overall opinion is it doesn't go far enough.

But it's better than nothing. And I do think that if this continues, it will have to be bolstered, especially at the individual level. So we'll see what happens.

I always hope for the best, though. And what's most interesting to me lately is all of the labor movements that are really coming together out of this. So today as we're filming this is the first day of the Instacart strike.

Whole Foods is about to go on strike. Amazon's going to go on strike. There's a lot of striking that's going to happen because these workers need to be compensated fairly for the risk that they're taking.

And their pay needs to be commensurate with the risk. And they also need to be given the proper equipment if they're going to be taking that risk. They're doing such a massive service to all of us so that we can all continue to live through this.

And hopefully, their organizing and their labor efforts in this time will have real positive benefits and win some real great policies for times to come, even when we're not in a stage of crisis. So my eye is always on the labor movement. Are we going to be taxed on our stimulus check?

The answer to that is no. But we will link you in the description and the show notes for an entire Q&A explainer on the tax rules around the stimulus check that you'll be getting-- well, not all of you. Some of you won't qualify for it.

But if you are qualified for it, there is a lot to know around the specifics of that. The answer is, no, you will not be taxed. But check out the link in our description or show notes for more info on that.

Is life insurance necessary for a single 25-year-old with a stable job? I err to the side of life insurance caution. But I mean, listen, if you have no one that you would want to be a beneficiary, I guess not.

I always think everyone should have life insurance, though. I'm a big life insurance gal. Oh my god.

Marc said the most upsetting thing to me the other day that I'm going to share with you all because I want to shame him. I was whining to him, as I have been doing lately. I'm like, I don't know when I'm going to see you again.

And he was like, well, the good news is if something happens to me, I just got a really good new life insurance policy. I literally burst into tears. It's like, why would you say that?

Tips on maintaining work-life balance while working from home? Someone on Twitter said this once. And I think it's like a good, good thing.

They're like, so many tips about working from home, not a ton about working from home during a global fucking pandemic that's making everyone lose their minds, which are two different things. I said this in another video, but it's worth repeating. If you're lucky enough to be working from home right now, just remind yourself every day how freaking lucky you are.

You could either have no job at all or have to go into a situation where you're putting yourself and, by extension, your family at risk every single day. Tips for maintaining work-life balance is remember that even in the strictest shutdown situations, like here in New York City, you're still allowed to go for walks for personal exercise or walking a pet. Take advantage of that.

Go outside. Every single time I've felt on the edge of going into a real self-pity tailspin, I go outside. I walk around for a little bit.

I smile at fellow New Yorkers from 6 feet away. And I feel instantly so much better. And I know that that's such a "ugh" answer.

Someone's like, I have depression. And someone's like, well, you should exercise. Obviously, it's not a catch-all.

And it's not going to fix much more intrinsic problems. But it is unbelievable how much you can get into a cycle of your own mental dust when you're sitting at home all day every day. It's not good.

I'm in the office today to film. And I walked here down Riverside Park. And just the act of coming to the office and working here for the day-- and it's been a weirdly bad day for other reasons-- but life-changing.

I feel like a whole new woman. Can't wait to do it again. How are you and your team holding up in all the craziness?

How are the team holding up? How are you? I'm fine.

Fine, is the answer that I got. I think everyone's doing OK. It's really weird.

I think for a lot of people-- I can't speak for everyone on the team. But I feel like having a job to do and getting to focus on just the tedium of work and have other problems really helps because then you're not just refreshing the news all day. I actually enjoy my weeks now more than my weekends because my weekends, I'm like-- I have way too much time alone with my own brain.

We don't need to be together that much. I'm much better off when I have Slack to go into for nine hours a day. I think everyone's been holding up pretty well.

All you can do is be kind to each other in this time. What's the best way to rebudget during this and donate to your community? Well, cut out expenses and redirect that toward your community.

There are so many places that you can donate to right now. You can buy groceries for someone. You can help support nurses.

There's all kinds of stuff that's going on right now that you can give your money to. And as far as where to get that money from in your budget, only you can say. Only you can say what is an expense that could go right now.

But I think if you're being honest with yourself, there's probably several expenses that could go right now. Also, for what it's worth, unless you're a complete heathen, I highly doubt you've been going out to bars or restaurants or coffee shops or any place in the last month or so. So hopefully you have a little extra money from that.

Also, yeah, follow your local small businesses, restaurants, shops, all that on Instagram. And they'll give you updates about what you can do for them in particular if there's like a specific place that you want to make sure that you're contributing to. I think Mint thinks I'm dead because I haven't gone out to restaurants in so long.

It's like, lady, what happened to you? I have less than $6,000 in my Roth IRA right now. I'm worried it will drop to nothing.

What should I do? Stop looking at it. Time, time, time.

Give it time. You can't. Any investment account right now-- you cannot panic over it.

You cannot keep looking at it. It's just going to be bad news. It's only going to be bad news for a while.

You're going to torment yourself. It's not going to drop to nothing. But even if it did, what are you going to do, pull out all your money now and be absolutely 100% sure to lock in all your losses?

You have to stop, you guys. We get so many questions about this. My 401(k) is a hot mess right now.

Of course it is. The market's a hot mess right now. Stop looking at it.

Stop it. I'm going to go over to your houses and zap you. What kinds of sauce freeze well?

Do you use glass jars or something else to store them in? What a pure question. All kinds of sauce freeze well.

I can't really think of a sauce that doesn't freeze super well if you reheat them in the right way. Don't reheat noodles. That's one of the big mistakes a lot of people make.

If you make a soup with a pasta in it, keep that pasta separate-- or rice-- because otherwise by the end of it, you're just going to have big, puffed-up, gross noodles full of sauce. Oh, yeah, also a lot of sauces are good in the fridge for weeks at a time. But yeah, all sauces freeze well.

I have so much crap in my freezer right now because I've been freezing so much stuff that I've been using all kinds of stuff to freeze because I'm running out of good Tupperware. But I usually just use reuse takeout containers in my freezer. I don't put the glass Pyrex in there because I usually use that for other things.

But I'm very good about reusing takeout containers. I also love using Talenti jars. I use a lot of Talenti jars as storage in my freezer.

The last question is one that we got in a lot of forms. And this is something that I have-- and we've all been dealing with this, to an extent, which is, I can't stop spiraling about this. I keep panicking.

I read all these scary numbers. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I can't do anything.

I'm so afraid of what's going to happen. It feels like life's never going to go back to normal, all some variation of that. So I want to just end giving you a few steps that have been really helpful to me in really gaining control over that sense of anxiety, which I do feel that I have.

One, I frequent the subreddit COVID Support. I'm going to link you guys to that. But basically, it's a subreddit for people who are freaking out.

And they go, and people provide them with reassuring resources and historical context and ways to think pragmatically about a lot of the things that scare them the most. So that subreddit is very helpful. Number two, I remember that some of the headlines that are most attention-grabbing and scariest are actually very misleading.

One of the things that I'm very frustrated with in the media coverage of this is the repeated announcement of like, 50,000 new cases, 100,000 new cases, 200,000 cases, because here's the deal. We're only testing a certain portion of the population. We're testing very few people.

And generally speaking, in the United States, we're only testing the sickest people. You have to be really sick in most parts of the states to get a test. So of course where you're going to be testing more, you're going to find more cases.

And New York in particular has been really singled out for having so many cases. But New York State has also been testing way more than anyone else, at least by the time of this filming. So allowing the discovery of cases to be a big, scary number or somehow be construed as a bad thing when usually what it is indicative of is more aggressive testing happening is a very, very frustrating data point.

Because it just makes it seem like, oh my god, this is completely snowballing exponentially. And there's no control over it. And the social distancing isn't working.

And this, that, and the other, when it's just a really, really an accurate picture of how many people actually have this or have had it who were never symptomatic or who were never tested or who never had severe symptoms or any of those things. So focusing on numbers like new cases I think is a very bad number to focus on. But of course, it's a big, scary number.

It gets people's attention. So it will often be in headlines. I've seen news programs where it's a chyron that just has the caseload just updating all the time.

So I think that's bad. I choose to focus on things like the death count. That's very important.

But I also look to see where social distancing is helping. Because even in New York, there are already good signs that the social distancing measures that we've been taking for about two weeks have already started to have positive effects. So I choose to look at the data points that show where, when we take good measures, things do improve.

It doesn't mean it will be perfect. But it does help you get that really important sense of this unpleasant thing that I'm doing-- i.e., staying at home all the time and not living my life-- is actually helping and is actually leading to a more positive outcome rather than the feeling of despair that you get when all you focus on is the total case number going up. So being more conscientious about the media that I consume, the way that I consume the media, and the data points that I focus on-- that's been very helpful to me.

But lastly and most importantly, I just remember human beings have been through a lot worse-- a lot. And no matter how this actually ends up, it is not going to be the worst thing that people have ever lived through. It's just not.

And for me in particular and for many of you at home, the worst of it is going to be staying at home, canceling plans, maybe losing some income. There will be bad elements of it. But if you're able to remain safe, you're already so much better off than so many people have been in so many situations.

When people talk about using wartime mentalities to get through this, which I think is a positive way to look at it, also remember how much better off we are right now than in an actual war zone and focusing on the fact that the measures you're taking are to create a better situation for everyone. Someone I saw on Twitter recently said, stop saying, stuck at home. Say, you're safe at home.

It's a privilege and a really good thing that you're doing to be staying at home. And in the scale of all the things that human beings have had to do and all the ways in which we've had to live, having a happy hour on Zoom with some of your friends instead of seeing them in real life-- not the worst thing that's ever happened to us. And we will get through it.

And as imperfect as Cuomo is, although he's been on a media tour lately-- he has really been getting his shine. He's imperfect. But he has made a few good and inspiring speeches about this.

And he did one speech where he was like, just remember, whether it's three months or six months or nine months that we're all dealing with this in some fashion, it is this much time. For those of you listening, I have my fingers close together. It is a very little, little amount of time when you think about the scale of what people have had to deal with and what your life will look like.

So just with your investments, think about it long term. And remember how short and how silly a lot of this will look when you look back on it in 10 or 20 years. Your kids will be like, you had to stay home from school for three months, and that was considered a tragedy?

That sounds awesome. I want to do that. Well, you guys, the time has come.

But before I say goodbye, I want to say one more quick hello to one of the other products that has been really helping me in this time. And that is Mint. Like most of you guys, I've had to take a really hard look at my finances, see where I am, see how I can reach my goals better, where I can make some adjustments in my spending, make sure that I'm preparing for all the stuff that's coming up in my own life, and setting myself up to have a really, really robust emergency fund.

And Mint is a free budgeting tool that I have been using for over seven years now that really, really helps me do that and helps me stay totally in control of my money and have a really clear idea of where it's all going and how I can more easily reach the goals that I have. So I've been checking Mint a lot more lately and probably will continue to do so as one of the many ways in which I can help assuage my anxiety because it helps me plan. So I highly recommend that you check out Mint as well and get started.

It's totally free at the link in our description or our show notes. Anyway, guys, thank you so much for joining us here at TFC. It was nice to spend the afternoon alone with you.

And I look forward to seeing you again next Monday right here at The Financial Confessions. [MUSIC PLAYING]