COVID-19: How to Spend Extra Time During Social Distancing

"It's not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it." - Seneca

In 2017, the US Census Bureau estimated that the average one-way commute nationwide was 26.1 minutes. If you are now working from home, instead of using that time to commute, you perhaps find yourself with more time for other things. Even those of us who do not normally commute to work, and are adhering to the social distancing protocol, may be finding ourselves with more time on our hands.

Here are some suggestions to make sure that when this period of social distancing from concerns over the COVID-19 s is over, you feel good about what you did with that precious time, that you have new skills and knowledge in take with you on your journey to the future.

COURSES

The Basics of Personal Taxes, Khanacademy

Given the timing of this health crisis, you might choose to inform yourself about the basics of personal income tax. Khanacademy has created The Basics of Personal Taxes which includes free videos that will give you an understanding the basics of personal taxes. Of course, if you like these, you may be inspired to check out some of their other personal finance courses – they are ALL free!

Total Length: Slightly less than an hour

The Core Four of Personal Finance, Udemy

While this course is not free, but it is worth the fee of less than $20 bucks when on sale, so be sure it is on sale when you buy it. This Core Four gives the student a strong foundation in personal finance with a goal to help students stay motivated.

Total Length: 4.5 hours on-demand video

Investing Basics for Millennials, Skillshare

Investing Basics for Millennials consists of five video lessons that truly cover the investing basics. What this means is that it teaches a few fundamental concepts an investor should grasp, such as compound interest, risk/reward, and investment options. These are complimented with a few case studies to ensure you get a solid grasp of the concepts.

Total Length: Approximately 20 minutes

PODCASTS

So Money

Farnoosh Torabi has over 1,000 podcasts on her So Money channel that cover all things money. Her most recent podcast covers the many financial questions that people are asking her as a result of COVID-19. If that sounds like you, these podcasts are professional and worth the listen, perhaps while having a walk.

Length: Farnoosh makes sure her podcasts are well less than an hour

Listen Money Matters

Listen Money Matters offers a series of podcasts that are down-to-earth conversations between Andrew Fiebert and Matt Giovanisci, who seem to have a great handle on financial issues. Actionable advice around money matters is always included in these podcasts, with each podcast being less than an hour in length.

Length: All podcasts are less than an hour in length

Planet Money, npr

NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public, with Planet Money being only one of their variety of offerings. Planet Money is the economy explained, in fun ways.

Their most recent Episode 982: How to Save The Economy Now features Neel Kashkari, the gentleman who ran the bailout of the banks and car companies in 2008. If you are interested all things related to the US economy, start here.

Length: 13 minutes

BOOKS

Broke Millennial - Erin Lowry

Broke Millennial is targeted towards those in their 20s or 30s who want to learn about finances. The book is well-written from a youthful perspective, and researched by a millennial for millennials. This is a MUST read. From money basics, to retirement planning, it has your concerns covered.

Number of pages: 288

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties - Beth Kobliner

Written in 1996, and completely revised and updated in 2019, this fourth edition of Get a Financial Life has been the financial bible for people in their twenties and thirties for many years. With actionable advice covering how to get out of debt, learning to save, and invest, Kobliner has ensured that the book continues to be a very practical and readable resource.

Number of pages: 333

Gigged: The End of the Job and The Future of Work, Sarah Kessler

If you are at all concerned about the future of your work life situation, you must read this book, now more than ever. The broad perspective taken in Gigged helps us see the this “gig-economy” as a new version of an historical struggle over power, security and risk between different classes. You will be forced to ponder what it all means.

Number of pages: 288

INFOGRAPHICS

The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance, Michele Cagan, CPA, and Elisabeth Lariviere

While infographics are usually very quickly absorbed, this Guide to Personal Finance is actually a book full of infographics to show you the basics of personal finance. Published by a CPA in 2017, the information remains relevant with a presentation suited to those who prefer digestible bites of information, or who have little time. The points are made clearly in a manner that makes them easy to grasp.

Number of pages: 128

CONCLUSION

Even if you pick one of these suggestions and follow through with listening, watching, or reading to increase your financial smarts, you will be better off on your path to the future. You will also feel better about the time you spent doing so, and, hopefully, that little effort might spark a deeper dive into something else financial. There is always something to learn and curious minds make for more interesting connections with people when we re-engage socially.