How will COVID-19 affect South Carolinians’ finances?

How will COVID-19 affect South Carolinians’ finances?

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As concern over COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, grows, so does the worry over the economy. Over the past several days, the Dow Jones has gone up or down over 1,000 points back to back, and financial analysts say this is uncharted territory. But how will this affect your wallet?

Pat Strubbe, the owner of Preservation Specialists in Columbia, says even though the stock market is up Wednesday, South Carolinians should expect to see a drop in their 401(k)’s and investments. In the short term, he says you could see increased prices in everyday items that are manufactured in China.

He adds this could also lead to some product shortages because of fewer imports to cities, like Charleston. “Some of that could be emotional with people saying we’re going to cut back from that area of the world, and then some of that could be a reality if people are not able to go to work in China, then of course they cant produce goods and then they can’t come over here," Strubbe explained.

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This isn't the first time a virus has caused a market scare. Strubbe says when the Zika Virus and Ebola outbreaks occurred, we also saw the market drop. "This does seem to be a little bit more of a volatile push, but we have seen every other time, the market bounce back, if not immediately then very soon," Strubbe said.

Overall, Strubbe doesn’t expect South Carolinians to see a big change in their day to day lives right now, and he doesn’t want anyone to panic. “If you’re 20-years-old, and you’ve got some money in your 401,k then this is a great time to not even think about it. If you get your statement, don’t even look at it because it doesn't matter if you’re going to use it in 30 years," said Strubbe. "But if you’re 65, that’s a big difference, and if you have a lot in the market, and if you’re worried or lying awake at night, then that is really a good time to reevaluate what you have.'

One big fear among investors and financial advisors is that the coronavirus could be the first domino to send us into another recession, but Strubbe says right now, it’s too early to tell.

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