by Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV (AKA “Dr. Finance”)

Economists and financialists are learning more every day about the strange new “Financial Coronavirus” and the signs and symptoms of its “Financial Covid-19”, the disease it causes.  Sadly, there are billions of people around the planet who have already been infected, and an uncalculated amount has died. 

Any or all signs and symptoms can start to appear at any time from the first mandatory quarantine to the first mandatory business closure.  The signs can last much longer than the original Covid-19, perhaps months or even years, depending on how long the plug has been pulled from a functional economy.  As Principle 206 from The Most Important Lessons in Economics and Finance book states “Being alive is expensive” (Criniti, 2014, p. 239).  Without any money, people are forced to struggle to make ends meet; and mental wellness and consciousness becomes much harder to attain.

Here are 10 signs that you or someone that you love may have Financial Covid-19 and what you could do to protect yourself and your family.

  1. Shortness of breath

This usually occurs if you start to see your bills showing a past due balance and you do not have enough money coming in to pay for the stamp on the return envelope.  If you have shortness of breath or any of the others signs mentioned below, feel free to contact your financial planner immediately for assistance.  They will probably tell you that they have never seen an economy like this before in their life; but at least it might be consoling to connect with another human over the phone after being in isolation for so long.

  • Fever

Financial stress will drive your temperature right through your roof (just don’t expect a roofer to wear a mask on a hot day while patching the hole).

  • Dry cough

Sometimes a dry cough occurs when you are really broke and don’t have enough money to replace your dirty HVAC filters.  Open the window for a quick relief.

  • Chills and body aches

Also side effects of financial stress.

  • Sudden confusion

This symptom gradually increases depending on how severe the Financial Coronavirus is.  On a positive note, I was told it works well as a good excuse to give to your landlords when they inquire about the late rent.

  • Digestive issues

Eating too much tuna fish, rice, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potatoes, and grits can have some serious digestive issues and may cause malnutrition.  Although these items are some of the cheapest wholesome meals to make, lack of money certainly restricts the menu.

  • Pink eye

This occurs when staring at the unemployment website’s frozen pages too long while updating your weekly zero income amounts.  Why does tens of millions of people have to log in at exactly the same time as you anyway?

  • Loss of smell and taste

This may occur while sitting in the car at the drive-through at your bank for too long.  Some say that exhaust fumes from cars can kill you in less than a few minutes.  I wonder what waiting two hours in line bumper to bumper just to pay an overdraft fee could do to you.  Why aren’t there rules for vehicles to social distance? 

  • Fatigue

This usually occurs every time you think about when you are going back to work.  Since for most people, it is usually all day every day, we can safely conclude that the fatigue grows increasingly worse over time.

  1. Headache, sore throat, and congestions

All three are more examples of the side effects of financial stress.  However, headaches and sore throats are also formed from the daily shouting matches with the debt collectors.  You can block them on your phone as many times as you want, but for some reason they always have a new number to call you from. These guys must have struck a deal with the phone company.  Maybe if you don’t pay your phone bill, then they won’t be able to bother you anymore?

How to be evaluated

It is very easy to find out if you have Financial Covid-19 as there are tests that you can perform right in the safety of your own home with a zero risk of infecting anyone else.  The first test takes a little more time.  You will create your own personal financial statements such as a balance sheet and an income statement.  If your current income is showing zero dollars and your net worth is rapidly decreasing or zero, then you probably have been infected.

There is an alternative simplified test for those who show several or all of the signs above. In this case, just check your bank account.  If you have no money and/or no money coming in, chances are you have a severe case of this financial disease.  Don’t panic though, solutions are not as complicated as it seems.  Fortunately, I have already decoded the DNA of this Financial Covid-19 many years ago when it was not cool to mention “survival” and “finance” in the same breath. 

The financial cure

All you need to cure Financial Covid-19 and eliminate many or all of its symptoms are money and a little basic knowledge of finance.  The following is a quick summary of an important conclusion made from my last book, The Survival of the Richest: “The process of getting a job to provide someone income is properly labeled by the layman as “making a living.”  Essentially, laborers enable themselves to continue to live through their efforts to make money.  The money provides an opportunity to buy survival essentials.  The fact is that it costs money to be alive.  The amount of money needed is the cost of living.  Make no mistake—a person with no money, no other forms of wealth with a monetary value, or no form of income (like a job) can only survive one other way: through the support of another.  If a person has none of the above resources and cannot survive by a third (or a second) party, then his situation looks very grim.  With each passing moment, he may be moving in the opposite direction of the edge of survival, and inevitably, closer to death” (Criniti, 2016, pp. 241-242).

Folks, the quickest way to defeat the Financial Covid-19 is to get back to work as soon as possible.  I am confident that most of your own experiences have confirmed this by now.  The hardest part though will be to convince your leadership too if they don’t already agree.

The economic cure

The economic cure for Financial Covid-19 also has a similar easy solution, however, it is much harder to implement.  Money again is needed, but so is trust.  Business owners need to be trusted to be smart enough to handle their own business safely to protect their employees and customers from the coronavirus.  Customers need to be trusted to be smart enough to vote “no” to businesses that do not have the proper safety measures in place.  This is represented by the forces of the “invisible hand” that was referred to by the father of economics, Adam Smith.  Markets can make better decisions on the own without the interference of the government.  This moment in history provides one of the best examples of Smith’s concept.

Despite all of the negative indicators mentions earlier, there is positive news for some.  In the Unites States, a temporary economic vaccine has been created.  Legislators have approved a temporary cash injection into the pockets of tens of millions of unemployed.  There has also been loans and grants applied to various small businesses.  However, these measures are already running its course as businesses continuously need weekly follow-up doses.

Further, a more permanent solution is available but will take a little more effort from our economic leaders.  If businesses could be allowed to permanently open, money will start to return to business owners and recirculate back into the economy.  This will take time as businesses will have to operate more slowly because of all the extra safety precautions needed to combat the original Covid-19 that still exists.  However, it is better than the alternative of keeping businesses closed and killing the economy and all of its stakeholders from the much deadlier Financial Covid-19. 

Stay safe by staying open safely.

Best regards,

Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV (AKA “Dr. Finance”)

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Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV (also known as “Dr. Finance”) is known as a major disruptor in the science of finance, revolutionizing the field’s entire academic foundation.  He holds a PhD in applied management and decision sciences, with a concentration in finance, from Walden University.  He earned his BBA at The George Washington University with a concentration in international business. He earned a master of science in financial services from The American College, where he also obtained prominent financial designations, including Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Registered Executive Benefit Consultant (REBC), and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU).

Dr. Criniti holds Pennsylvania licenses in fixed annuities, life and health insurance, and real estate.  His various professional experiences include work as an investment and a retirement specialist for The Vanguard Group, as a financial planner for several hundred clients, and as a real estate developer.

A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Criniti is a professor at several universities, an active investor in various marketplaces, an explorer, a financialist, a survivalist, and has traveled around the world studying various aspects of finance. He is the author of three acclaimed finance books: The Necessity of Finance (2013), The Most Important Lessons in Economics and Finance (2014), and The Survival of the Richest (2016).