I don't know if anyone could have predicted the chaos that has occured over the past week in the US it's an unprecedented time. While people are panicking about their health and the health of their loved ones, there's also another type of worry and stress that is building: financial stress .

It's hard not to worry during this time. Most of us vividly remember the 2008 market crash and the jobs, homes. and retirement plans that were lost as a result.

While a lot of individuals check the balance of their retirement accounts more frequently during chaotic economic times like these, I try not to. I know that the market is down, and just like all the other times in the history of the stock market, I also know that it will climb back up.

There are a few things my family is doing to both protect ourselves and increase our wealth in the future.

I'm not changing my retirement savings strategy

First off, as I mentioned before, we are trying not to look at or be overly concerned with our retirement balance. A lot of people are buying up stocks while they are low, and while I don't disagree with that tactic, we aren't investing a lot more than we normally do.

We do a mix of dollar-cost averaging and lump-sum investing at the end of the year, and this year is no different. We are going to treat it like all other years and finish maxing out our Roth IRAs before April 15 in order for the contributions to be applied for 2019's contribution limit.

I'm holding onto more cash

The biggest change we are making is hoarding cash.

Our mortgage payment is a little higher than we would like it to be right now, and we knew that once we sold our first home we would apply the proceeds to our current mortgage to lower that monthly payment (and, of course, the total amount of debt).

With everything going on however, we've decided to postpone that plan and hang onto as much cash as we can from the sale of our house, even though we have a healthy emergency fund in our savings account .

My husband has a stable job, but he is in sales and his income already varies from year to year. It's hard to say what the next few weeks and months will bring, and I'd rather be overly prepared than caught short and have to sell out of investments or rack up debt to cover our bills in the event of a significant income reduction.

I think one of the biggest lessons that the 2008 financial crisis taught us is that everyone can be susceptible to a layoff or reduction in income. Already there are individuals out of work who cannot work from home, or who work in industries that are being closed down, such as the entertainment and food and beverage industries.

Having extra cash in the bank is one way to ensure you can make it through a hard time, and while I still believe in investing and paying off debt, I also know how having an extra cushion of cash can help support those goals. If you don't have the cash and have to sell out of investments or take on more debt, you'll be wishing that you kept more on hand.

A financial planner can help you figure out how to navigate this stressful time. Use SmartAsset's free tool to connect with a qualified professional

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