For Mark Roberts’ Use: With the coronavirus outbreak looming and trade with China volatile, you might be feeling a bit of tension right now. But like most storms, this one will pass as well. In the meantime, it is usually best to avoid drastic moves.

Avoid the temptation to sell off assets or spend a lot of cash “prepping” for disaster. Instead, focus on the things you should be doing right now, such as…

File your taxes. Some things will always be certain, and the deadline for filing your federal income tax return is one of them. With the average refund amounting to $2,869, you could stand to gain a little cash by filing now.

And if you know you’ll need more time? File your extension now, too. Waiting until the last minute will only add stress.

Stash some cash in emergency savings. This is one “prepper” activity that is always beneficial, no matter what actually happens with the economy. Shop around for the best interest rate available to you and open a savings account for emergency expenses. Having liquid assets on hand can help you avoid high-interest credit cards in the event of an emergency.

Refinance your mortgage. Take a look at your mortgage rate; is it over 4 percent? If so, you can probably get a better deal right now, and save thousands over the life of your loan by refinancing.

One caveat: Refinancing does cost money (several thousand in fees). If you’re close to the end of your mortgage, or plan to sell your home in the next few years, refinancing might not be a good deal for you. Run the numbers with a financial planner or debt expert before making this decision.

Stay the course. Continue with your regular financial plan. Make automatic contributions to your retirement account, divert extra cash into a savings account, make periodic payments toward your 2020 income taxes, or any other financial planning decisions that you’ve previously made. Unless you have some compelling change in your own personal life, disrupting well-laid plans is rarely a good idea.

Of course, if you do feel the need to make some changes, we are available to discuss your options. Give us a call to talk about your situation, and we can help you decide what to do next.