What Should I Be Doing with My Money During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
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What Should I Be Doing with My Money During the COVID-19 Pandemic?


By Megan DiTrolio


You’ve heard it on the news, from your dad, and from your friends in banking: COVID-19 is catapulting1 the U.S. into an economic recession. It’s a tumultuous2 time, but that doesn’t mean you have to approach your finances blindly. We tapped3 Sallie Krawcheck, banking veteran and founder of female-focused financial planning service Ellevest, to answer your questions about investing and money management during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Everyone says we’re on the brink of an economic depression. Is that true?


I started my career as a research analyst covering the stock market. I have al-ways thought that the stock market talks to us and tells us what is happening, though sometimes it’s hard to interpret. The stock market is telling us that we are in a recession, probably a depression. It’s telling us that by the fact that it has declined so much, so fast. It was the worst first quarter in 100+ years, and the fastest move from what we call a bull market (an upward trending, robust, strong stock market) to what’s called a bear market, where we fall more than 20 percent (and our market has been down more than 30 percent).


Does that mean it’s too late to sell stocks?


The number one and number two questions we get at Ellevest (and they change in order) is: Should I be buying and should I be selling? Typically, the answer to both is no. If you follow your instinct today and get out, you’re likely going to miss the upturn. The upturn after one of these declines tends to happen before it’s clear that we’re coming out of the recession.


This idea of “If I can see what’s coming, can I take action?” is wrong. What you should do is something called rebalancing your portfolio (meaning buying or selling assets to maintain a desired level of asset allocation or risk). Let’s say you started off with an investment portfolio that’s made up of 70 percent equity and 30 percent bonds, which is a pretty risky portfolio. With that portfolio, over time you should earn higher returns. Because of what’s going on in the stock market, maybe you’re now no longer at 70-30, you’re at 55-45. Maybe you want to go back to 70-30, which means you want to buy equity and sell bonds. This rebalancing back to your goal can actually force you to make counter-intuitive decisions that you wouldn’t otherwise make.

“如果能觉察即将发生的事,我可以采取行动吗?”这个想法是错误的。你应当做的是调整投资组合(即买入或卖出资产,以保持期望的资产配置或风险水平)。比如说,你开始时的投资组合由70%的股票和30%的债券构成,这是一个相当有风险的组合。随时间推移,你可能凭着这一组合赚得更高回报。鉴于股市的当前状况,现在你的股票与债券投资比例,也许不再是70%比30%,而是55%比45%。或许你想恢复到70%比 30%,这意味着你需要买股票卖债券。这种回到原定目标的再平衡,实际上能够迫使你做出只有这种情况下才会做出的违背直觉的决定。


I’m recently unemployed due to COVID-19. What can I do?


It depends on your personal circumstance. Unemployment will be expanded, particularly for people who didn’t have unemployment insurance, like freelancers. But for some people, it will still mean spending through your emer-gency funds. For some people it’s going to mean, unfortunately, running up credit card debt. If those things are happening to you, stop investing. Instead, go into conservation mode: You need to replenish your emergency fund and pay down credit card debt before you begin to invest again.


What steps can I take to restore financial health?


Sit down and make a list of every area where you’re spending money and where you can begin to cut. Some obvious ones right now are going out to eat and travel. Use those funds to pay down credit card debt. Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions, like Netflix and Hulu. You’re not going to save a million dollars, but it adds up to make a difference.


When do you predict the recovery of our economy will start?


I would expect more volatility in the stock market. I think it will get better before we fully recognize that we’re coming out of the recession. I don’t think we’ll see a full recovery, frankly, until we have some resolution to the virus.


Every downturn feels worse than every one that came before when you’re actually in it. This one feels particularly tough because it’s about our health. But, again, we have recovered from recession every time in history. This time, it may take a little bit longer, but the entrepreneurial spirit of the United States of America will come out on the other hand and drive the stock market even higher.




1. catapult (使)突然处于……境地。

2. tumultuous 动荡的,动乱的。

3. tap 指定(某人做某事)。