As cooler weather hits northern parts of the U.S. and leads people to spend more time indoors, COVID-19 numbers are rising — and are prompting talk of new lockdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials in New York already have clamped down on parts of Brooklyn, Queens and two suburban counties where new outbreaks have been surging.
That more widespread lockdowns that shut down millions of U.S. businesses during the spring pushed the nation’s unemployment rate to 14.7%, which was the highest since the Great Depression.
Many Americans have gone back to work, but new lockdowns — even smaller, more localized — ones could spell trouble for workers still feeling drained after round one.
But you have time to prepare if Americans are asked to hunker down again. Here are nine things you can do to protect your finances from a second lockdown wave.
1. Keep saving
As the first wave of the pandemic swept over the country, the one piece of financial advice that just about every expert agreed on was that every consumer should build an emergency fund.
Apparently, people listened. In April, the personal savings rate — the percentage of disposable income that people are setting aside for the future — in the U.S. soared to 33%. That’s the highest it’s been since the Bureau of Economic Analysis began tracking it in 1959.
If you managed to preserve your emergency fund during the initial lockdown, try to keep making regular contributions. As long as they’re stashed in a high-yield account, your savings will continue to grow at a significant rate, leaving you more to fall back on.
2. Shore up your credit score
If a second lockdown puts your job