The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on America. Many people have been struggling financially during these difficult and uncertain times. Seeing this struggle, Senta Sellers, a reference librarian at University of Maine’s Fogler Library, sought to create a guide to help people manage their finances during the pandemic. These guides are targeted at people of all ages, and provide information topics ranging on creating a budget, all the way to crafting retirement plans.
Sellers has been at Fogler Library for one year now, working at the reference desk and specializing in business studies. Pulling on her experiences in business classes, Sellers has created an expansive financial guide that covers a variety of topics including managing your mortgage and personal finances, planning a food budget, finding fun and cost effective activities to do with your family and properly planning for retirement.
“The project came about as a suggestion from Nancy Lewis. We had all been reading about the impact that the virus and lockdown had on the economy [and wondered] how could we help members of the Maine community and members of the broader community as well,” Sellers explained.
Sellers launched this initiative as a joint effort with UMaine Professor Pankaj Agrrawal, a specialist in finance, who concentrates in the areas of investments, portfolio management, corporate finance and financial markets. Agrrawal helped Sellers pull together resources for the financial guide from various trusted sources.
Sellers also consulted various financial sources that she urges students to visit as well for extra guidance, such as Maine Stream finance, small business administration and New Ventures Maine. According to Sellers, these sites have a lot of good advice for people of all ages.
For students in particular, Seller suggests the budgeting page as the most beneficial resource.
“The big takeaway would be there are a lot of resources available for people of all ages, and if they have never made a budget before, it sounds hard or intimidating, but it’s not, and the page can help you do that on a step by step process,” Sellers said.
As the pandemic continues to challenge individuals socially, financially and mentally, it is imperative that people remember and take advantage of the community resources that are there for them to utilize. Sellers’ guide has the resources and widespread availability to help those within and outside of the UMaine community. Recognizing the resources made available has the potential to help many people get back on their feet and plan for the future. The guide can be accessed by visiting https://libguides.library.umaine.edu/personal_finance_covid19.