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Who would have thought we’d experience the Great Shutdown in 2020? COVID-19 has negatively impacted the economy so much that it’s predicted to lead to a recession. Many individuals were already living paycheck to paycheck. Now, many have lost their ability to work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports consistent racial disparities in U.S. unemployment rates. Since 1972, the unemployment rate among African Americans has consistently remained about twice as high as the unemployment rate among white Americans. In 2019, the unemployment rate was 3.9% for white men and 8.3% for African American men. Naturally, African American men are anxious about maintaining their jobs and many may be facing financial stress as a result.

Here are some tips for navigating financial stress during COVID-19:

1. Determine Financial Goals

Do you want to increase your savings so you can stop living paycheck to paycheck? Do you want a higher paying job? Ask yourself what it is that you’re trying to achieve and write down your goals.

2. Have a Financial Planning Meeting

Reflect upon your goals. Consider your financial history. Notice your spending habits by outlining your monthly expenses. Compare your expenses to your income and determine where you can make adjustments.

3. Meet with a Financial Planner

Did you know that many banks and employee assistant programs (EAP) offer financial planning services for free? Meeting with a financial planner can help you create a solid budget and financial plan.

4. Dial 211 or go to 211.org

211 is an excellent resource that can help you locate local resources. If you need assistance with food, housing, or paying utilities, call 211 or visit the website today.

5. Be Open to Receiving Help

Many of us aren’t accustomed to asking for help. As African American men, we have a sense of pride in being a provider for our families and standing on our merit. Nonetheless, this is a time to work collectively to withstand the financial burden and uncertainty. Receiving help doesn’t make you any less of a man. You’ve helped so many people; isn’t it time that you receive help, too?

Financial challenges are stressful. There are many aspects of our livelihood that are based on our socioeconomic status. Still, our resilience and persistence are how we will overcome this pandemic. We’ve survived so much; I’m certain we’ll survive this too. 

About the Author

Donzell Lampkins MSW, LISW is a licensed mental health therapist who writes about life, love, health, and mental health topics.

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