Long-term Financial Planning Impact of COVID-19

When I talk to clients directly—and to women, in general—I often speak of creating a financial roadmap. Why is this important?

Everyone travels a different road because they want to do different things, have different experiences, and be with different people.

Some people enjoy the straight-ahead road. Some folks enjoy diversions every now and then.

Regardless, I always encourage my community of women to consider possible detours—those that you plan (taking off from work to care for your child, going back to school) and those you don’t plan (an injury or illness, caring for a loved one, a loss of a job).

If you don’t know where you're going, any road will get you there. — Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland

A point that I have always made clear is that as women, we are always the most susceptible and vulnerable to unplanned detours. And, for Black women and Women of Color—well, we know where we stand.

This is why I want to encourage you to pay attention to our current economic state. COVID-19 is one of those unplanned detours. It’s an extensive digression that will set some women back for years.

The structure of our economy is evident. It’s not supportive of women and families. According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  1. COVID-19 related unemployment has severely hit industries dominated by the employment of women: Retail, food services, healthcare, and hospitality.
  2. The closing of schools has exacerbated the documented household divide of work and care of children and the lack of childcare services.
  3. Fewer women have jobs that allow for telecommuting.

Women with supposedly recession-proof careers—such as educators, nurses, lawyers, accountants, engineers, to name a few—have been furloughed, taken time off, or left their positions. Those with young children are struggling to run a household, a classroom, and a daycare center while working their 40+ hours a week.

About 617,000 women left the workforce in September 2020 alone, compared with only 78,000 men, according to government data. Half of the women who dropped out were in the prime working age of 35-44. (Source: CNN)

The employment of women helped us rise out of the last recession. In this recession, women are leading the way in negative long-term impacts such as jobs, income, and promotions. The work many of us did over the last 10–12 years is not coming back anytime soon.

The impact on our economy and our families will be felt for years.

However, this is the world we live in. As women, we know how flexible, creative, and solution-driven we are. Use those talents to create the world you want.

Know what you can do to cushion and shield yourself from economic changes. What are some strategic solutions to help you keep going and be prepared for your future? 

  • Know your worth and value
  • Grow your knowledge
  • Maintain and expand your network

What else can you do? Advocate.

  • Advocate for accessible, quality, and affordable childcare
  • Advocate for equitable opportunities across all professions
  • Advocate for equal pay

Whether you do this work in your workplace or in your community, you are helping yourself and the next generation of women who will have to deal with their own economic shifts—whether it’s a detour she chooses or one that is out of her control.

We have to create a stronger foundation for all of us.

About the Author

Diane Manuel is a former UWM advisor. She worked closely with René for 5+ years, helping grow the Smart Women Savvy Money Club. In 2021, Diane joined Adasina Social Capital as Director, Foundation & Client Relationships, pursuing her passion of creating investment strategies that support racial and social justice. Diane has been active in service and philanthropy most of her life, from her first job at the Watts–Willowbrook Boys’ & Girls’ Club to current roles with the Carter Center Philanthropy Council and the Women’s Foundation of California. Diane holds a BA from USC and a PhD in Psychology and MBA from Claremont Graduate University. She has authored articles in Investopedia, MarketWatch, and Financial Planning Magazine on finance, women, and philanthropy. An LA native, she enjoys 5Ks, the beach, wine tasting, photography, and walking with friends.