by Joshua Hunt
Put on your own oxygen mask
They say on every flight before we take off, “put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help anyone else.” As I look around our community and many others across the globe, it is truly amazing to see how many people are rushing to help others find their masks and get them on, figuratively and literally.
I have been talking with business owners, executives, community leaders, employees, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, single people home alone, and folks young and old. Everyone is struggling to navigate these unknown times that none of us ever faced before in hopes of coming out ok.
5 things to do right now
I want to help you get your air masks on and tightly secured so you can rise to the challenges ahead and come out on the other side of this in the absolute best possible way. The following steps helped me weather 9/11, the 2008 Financial crisis and the bumps of getting TRELORA, my flat-rate real estate brokerage that disrupted the industry, up off the ground. times of hardship and change.
Some of these things may seem small or insignificant and others may be new ideas or things more impactful for you, take them or leave them as you wish.
Consider calling the lender on your car loans, mortgages, and personal loans. Many lenders will roll 1-6 payments to the end of the term. Banks have been willing to do this in normal markets for people who fall on hard times and we are seeing them do it now. They usually do this without it hitting your credit score.
Apply for a credit line increase on your current credit cards. Most credit cards companies will let you apply for the increase online or in their apps without pulling or impacting your credit score and will give an immediate response.
If you are renting and cannot or will struggle to pay next month’s rent, call your landlord now and let them know . Let them know to call their mortgage lender and try for a few deferred payments. This will allow them to help you waive the rent.
Go through every one of your credit card and bank accounts and look at everything set up on auto-renew and minimize as much as you can and in many cases are not really using; phone apps, software programs, tv and entertainment subscriptions, memberships to clubs and anything else that’s not a must.
Get super clear on your personal financial runway and how long you can survive using your own cash and then if necessary your available credit. Do this first, before you worry about anyone else including your own company. I know for many of you this is a gray area with no real line dividing the two, or maybe there is no line at all between your personal and business. You will be much more effective and able to remain calm if you have clarity in your finances and timing of cash needs.
I don’t share this to be Chicken Little trying to convince or scare you that the sky is falling, I have faced some pretty challenging times in my life, both personally and professionally, and have learned some creative ways to survive and even thrive in crisis.
I can assure you that over-preparing in these situations is what will allow you to get through this. If you end up not needing the delayed house payment or you never use the lines of credit you increased, great! But if you have them available and need them you will be much better in your ability to stay calm and rational.
Joshua Hunt is a business and leadership advisor. He founded and served as CEO of TRELORA, a flat-rate real estate brokerage that disrupted the industry and became known as the Uber of real estate. He serves on several boards and helped to launch a non-profit to help provide mortgage relief for struggling homeowners. firstname.lastname@example.org