For this month’s blog, I immersed myself in learning more about how previously established inequalities are already having an impact on who’s getting hit the most. This blog outlines the financial, physical, and emotional health-related impacts of COVID-19 on women and minority communities and provides resources for help at the bottom.
As reported in the Harvard Business Review layoffs disproportionately affect women and minorities. Why? Because companies tend to make cuts to roles that women and minorities usually have, they usually see these roles as expendable, functions that are important but usually not seen as the core of the business.
Women and minorities also have less cushion to absorb on downturns. According to the 2018 U.S. census data, women are 36% more likely to be poor than men! Women also take more responsibility for childcare and eldercare, which makes the logistics of returning to their job, post crises, all the more difficult.
The most at-risk sectors in this downturn are accommodation, food services, retail, manufacturing, and administrative services – industries that have higher than average employment among minorities and women. Women are on the front lines of this pandemic due to their higher employment rates in at-risk occupations like nursing, flight crew, and teachers.
African Americans in the U.S are currently accounting for higher rates of hospital visits and mortality related to COVID-19. One of the reasons put forth has been that African Americans are a disproportionately higher percentage of the prison population and that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is much higher in prison.
Domestic Violence and Community
Women that have been or are currently victims of domestic abuse are being confined to their homes with their abusive partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Add to this the overall anxiety of lost employment and uncertain health, too many women are finding themselves in dangerous situations.
What You Can do to Help — or Get Help
You can also sign a petition for the Paycheck Fairness Act. Paid discrimination is a problem that we face on a daily basis that needs to be addressed, and why not now?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands some Medicaid provisions and sick leave provisions and may help you even if you weren’t qualified before.
If you are or know someone that is in a Violent Domestic Relationship and need help, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Remember, you’re not alone. We’re in this together.
It would be foolish to pretend that the world is the same as it was last month. We are simultaneously dealing with a pandemic/health crisis and a potential financial crisis. One of these issues alone would create challenges but dealing with both at the same time creates an added level of complexity. To make matters worse, it is very difficult to gauge what effect COVID-19 will have on the overall economy over the short and medium-term. All of these crosscurrents are creating extreme volatility and uncertainty in the markets.
What are policymakers doing?
The Fed cut interest rates to 0% and launched a plan to buy $700 billion in US Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. This buying program is called quantitative easing, and it’s intended to add money directly into the economy. How? Interest rates affect the cost of borrowing and savings rates. When interest rates are cut, the cost of borrowing goes down — mortgages, credit card borrowing, and auto loans become less expensive. At the same time, the benefits of saving go down, because the interest earned on savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) is lower. Both of these effects create an environment where people are motived to spend/invest more and save less.
What should I do?
For a brief moment, let us be your expert reminder on how to handle anxiety regarding your investments. If you had invested in the stock market from 1998-2018, your investment would have tripled. If you had missed the best 10 days you would have had half as much and if you had missed the best 20 days you would have LOST money! And many of the best days happen immediately after the worst days. Don’t panic, you are invested for the long term and doing it the right way. Our commitment to you is that we will continue to work to create value for you in this unique environment.
If you have any questions about your investments, the current market situation, or want to start investing? Reach out to us HERE