Understanding & Implementing the Hierarchy of Resources

When it comes to financial planning, it’s only natural that every individual would have different priorities, needs, and short- and long-term goals. In the early days and weeks of COVID-19, the uncertainty of the pandemic created a sense of urgency in many; present company included. Some felt the need to rethink and reprioritize where their money was spent and how, or how to manage their portfolio, as well as what short- and long-term planning should look like, even if nothing regarding their situation had changed; again, present company included. The good news is that the market has started to turn around and stabilize, and that has eased some of these immediate concerns.  

In times of turbulence, it may feel tempting to start diving into a financial overhaul. However, with the right planning and partnership in place, you should feel safe to resist the urge. Especially now, as long as nothing material has changed and your respective cash flows are stable and more than sufficient to meet your expenses, your portfolio can continue to ebb and flow through the market changes of COVID-19. That being said, if you are experiencing financial changes or challenges in this new environment, we can work with you to find the right course of action to maintain what you’ve built, and create a foundation for moving forward. 

Remembering our hierarchy of resources can be a reassuring reminder that staying the course is the best course of action, and it can also provide comfort and a plan of action in the event your situation changes or monthly cashflows should become insufficient. 


Tier 1 

Cash in Checking: Start with the amount of cash you have in your checking account. This should be a sufficient amount to maintain day-to-day, monthly, and other ongoing expenses.


Tier 2 

Cash in Savings: If Cash in Checking becomes insufficient or there are shortfalls, your savings accounts and funds would be your natural next step to cover any cash shortfalls or emergencies. 


Tier 3 & Tier 4 

Individual Account Bond Fund & Individual Account Stock Funds: After Cash in Savings, we’ll take a look at leveraging individual account bond and stock funds to maintain your immediate financial needs and keep on track with set goals. 

Tier 5

Home Equity Loan or Similar: This would only be considered a last resort and will not likely be necessary unless incredibly drastic changes have occurred in your life.  

Between the five tiers above, you have a wealth of resources to draw from, if it should ever come to that. This should provide you with the reassurance you need to maintain your financial goals and keep looking forward. We can’t say for certain when COVID-19 will pass, but we know that it will. By staying true to the plans we’ve built together now, you can ensure a stable and successful financial future. 

If there is anything you require of us during this time, please do not hesitate to let us know. Whether you need advice or support, have questions about the financial impacts of COVID-19, or want to talk through your concerns, we’re available. Please email us or call our Pittsburgh office at 412-781-7100 or Greensburg office at 724-836-7001 to be directed to a member of our team.

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Tom Markowitz, PhD

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