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3 Tips for Financial Peace of Mind during Crisis

UAMS recently invited Little Rock financial advisor and Save10 co-founder Sarah Catherine Gutierrez to share with students and staff advice for building and maintaining personal financial wellbeing—even, and perhaps especially, during times such as this.

Ms. Gutierrez serves as an Instructor in Dr. Jason Mizell’s innovative Business of Medicine course and has lent her expertise to many of our students and residents.

Here are her top tips:

This pandemic has shaken us to the core on a lot of levels, including financial. I challenge you to consider three smart financial decisions on saving and investing during this unique time, namely to make sure that no matter what, you pay YOURSELF first.

1. Make sure you are saving at least 10%. Spending isn’t all that fun right now, so challenge yourself to get to that 10% savings contribution rate while it could be (relatively) easy. Did you start saving a little later in life like many of us? Maybe use this time to inch up your savings from, say 10%, to 12%. You might not feel it, but that extra 2% over time can be the difference between a bare-bones retirement and one you get to really enjoy.

2. Treat your 403(b) like your face. Don’t touch it! Studies are clear that staying the course, investing both into and out of a downturn, and keeping our investing allocation appropriate to our age are all the ways to benefit from a market offering “stocks on sale.”

3. Build an emergency fund. Lots of people wish they had one right now. But saving into an account regularly and peacefully coexisting with it (without spending it) is tough. Consider opening a savings account at a different bank than your regular bank, and ask HR to payroll deduct $50, $75, or even $200 per pay period into that account. Amazingly, you will adapt to that savings the same way you adapt to all your payroll deductions like taxes and insurance. Then one day if you ever are in an emergency, there will be a well-appreciated pile of cash at the ready. Learn more about how to build your first emergency fund here.

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