Find your #newnormal before it finds you

Don’t deny the reality that everything is changing. Accept that your world post-COVID-19 will be the same as before the pandemic.

Other than the banks, all economic sectors and households are taking a beating. And Government cannot save each of us. We must plan to save ourselves.

The world as we all knew it is gone. If you are middle class, prepare for the lower middle class or worse. If you were living pay check to pay check, you are in big trouble. If the cash lenders own your pay check and it is not coming any more, you are in a bad place right now.

If you were living large as the owner of a construction business or restaurant – you are drowning. If you are the owner of any enterprise less than a year old, you have our sympathies. If you earn your living from a tourism enterprise or a transport business, your greatest nightmare has arrived.

If you were already behind on business, house and car loan payments, start packing and take your personal things out of the vehicle. You won’t own it much longer. Accept that, and make a plan. That plan is your #newnormal. It will be harsh at first.

For those who think they still have jobs, sit with your supervisor or HR department and double-check your company’s stability. If your employer isn’t making money, they can no longer afford you. Find out (if possible) a timeline for the job or salary cuts.

Re-examine your monthly household budget and start cutting. Talk to a financial manager (not your neighbour, drinking buddies, pastor who wants more tithing or a witch doctor). Research things you do not understand. Sit with adults affected by your financial decisions and talk it out.

There are online classes to earn certifications in various add-on skills. Now is the time to take one of those. Employers cutting staff will keep those with the most value-add. If you can only do one thing at your office, start cleaning your desk out now.

Civil servants out there, don’t be smug in your job security. The government will have to cut back its payroll significantly by the end of the year – there is no money to pay all of you anymore. This goes for SOE staff too. Get ready.

FYI – this is not the time for anyone to demand a pay increase. Maybe the silver lining in the #newnormal is better service from people who are grateful to have any job at all.

Take the credit cards out of your wallet; pay cash for everything. If you have two cars, get rid of one. Consider renting out an unused room in your house. Inventory your complete skills set (including hobbies). If you are broke, don’t be too proud to take on a side job for cash.

Start going through your unused but valuable ‘stuff’ in storerooms and closets at home. There are websites that advertise goods for sale. You can declutter AND earn a few bucks too. Use what you earn to lower your debt.

Pack a lunch at home and bring it to work. Look at eating more traditional foods that are inexpensive. Consider going meatless with alternative nutritious meals 4-5 times per week.

Buy Namibian products! A local worker keeps a job when you do so.

You may need to make tough choices like removing your child from a private school. Get them ready emotionally, then face the music together and do it.

Fix clothes and shoes instead of buying new ones.

Forget about fancy smartphones and buy the cheapest version you can. Do not renew your phone contract. Buy Aweh plans.

Get an electricity meter installed. Pay for power as you use it.

Talk with a real estate evaluator and get the value of your home. See if it makes sense to sell your larger place and buy a smaller one. Do not let the bank repossess your house while you are in denial about the #newnormal.

Put tradition and culture on trial. Cross-examine what you are spending to follow 100 year old dictates. Decide if following ALL of those mandates is worth losing your home to debt.

Make tough choices about family members living out of your pocket. Properly terminate the domestic worker or administrative support staff at your home business and give those jobs to the unemployed family member at home.

You cannot be all things to all people. A drowning person will grab you in desperation – then, you will both drown together.

The key is to try to build your own #newnormal rather than have it shoved down your throat.

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