Why Expats Also Need Guidance on Money-related Stress, Emotional Triggers

Money problems and the uncertainty of where the next dollar is coming from are the most painful triggers of stress that have been caused by the coronavirus.  

As businesses shut down and unemployment looms, the thought of paying the next bill is enough to cause anxiety and panic attacks. Nobody is exempt from it. It may even be more stressful for expats still adjusting to their new environment and those who are coping with the crisis alone. 

As reported by CNBC, a US study by Money Consult shows alarming figures: 18 percent of adults who earn $50,000 a year have literally no savings at all. Another 34 percent admit that while they did manage to stash some cash away, they can only rely on it for the next three months before it runs out. 

This is the situation that you, as a global mobility manager, might be facing right now. On top of it, your assignees are also grappling with mini-doomsday scenarios like cancellations of contracts and return trips home to their families overseas, with their wallets and bank accounts near empty. 

Neither does it help that many of the economists interviewed by the media warn us to expect a steep economic recession that will be worse than the previous ones that happened at the turn of this century.

The situation is grim, and nobody can blame you or our recruited talent if you succumb to a bit of depression. But after mending your emotional wounds, pull yourself by your bootstraps and find a way to walk out of it. 

Now is not the time to give in to panic or the rising stress. If you do manage yourself and stave off your own personal meltdown, you would have the presence of mind to create mechanisms that can soften the blow down the line. 

Who knows? You might even find solutions that had escaped you before, and a clear, sharp mind along with a calm disposition might open the rare opportunities that are present but hardly noticed in the pandemic.

Here are some tips to manage yourself and keep under control all that money-related stress that threatens to drive you — and your hired talents — bonkers.

1. Accept the situation and avoid emotional triggers

The sooner you accept that this situation will last for some time, the sooner the pain can leave your fogged mind, and the sooner you can will yourself to adapt. 

This new normal where we will be wearing masks, doing remote work, and looking for other financial means to sustain us can continue for at least a year—or until a vaccine is discovered. 

As Make It advises, managing expectations can empower you to focus on the things that you can control, because you can let go of the things that you know you cannot. You are not totally powerless or deprived—check your situation, assess the resources that can tide you through, reconnect with people you trust and who can be your allies in this battle, and acknowledge the things that you can do. 

Then make a conscious effort to avoid the triggers that will set you back on an emotional tailspin. Whether it’s social media or self-pitying associates whose continual moaning and groaning suck out your emotional energy, distance yourself from them as much as you can. 

2. Come up with a realistic financial plan

Force yourself to assess your financial resources and expenses even if you don’t want to, says Creighton University. A financial blueprint is the first way that you can get out of this limbo. Take a thorough inventory of your expenses. 

Track all the monies that are coming out. Differentiate the essentials from the luxuries and the non-essentials, and cut out these last two from your budget. 

Allocate your earnings and whatever savings you have for the things that do matter, such as rent, food, utilities, telecommunications, and internet usage. Prioritize the bills that do have to be paid.

Then do not be afraid to seek assistance from the vendors and providers you regularly pay. Talk to the banks, the property developers, the credit card firms, among others and try to negotiate your dues; ask for extensions on loans or a more viable payment plan. 

Companies like California Corporate Housing might have backup plans in situations like these. Don’t be surprised if you find organizations more helpful than usual. Chances are they would want to help you because if you recover, so will they. 

One thing to remember: do not skip a payment as the interests on all these things that you do owe will haunt you later on. Make the effort and scrape what you have to pay the bare minimum, if necessary. 

3. Seek outside assistance

If all these still seem pretty overwhelming, then it might be the time to seek outside help, especially from professionals, says The Balance. Credit card counseling services can guide you and show you how to restructure your debt or even renegotiate loans. A financial planning manager can point other ways how to trim your budget, maximize your resources, and even save for a rainy day. 

Asking for assistance also applies to a community of friends who can be your mutual support system. A phone conversation can cheer both of you up and reassure you that you are not alone in this situation. Some may be suffering more than others, but everyone is coping. The sooner we help each other, the sooner we can leave the darkness and move forward to a brighter horizon.