CRISIS FINANCIAL PLANNING - 6 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
- Prioritize bills – Whether your job has been affected or not, look at all your bills and identify which ones are critical and those that you may not need to pay immediately. Do check in with service providers as some may be offering assistance or an option to temporarily skip payments.
- Reduce spending– You should start reducing nonessential and discretionary spending in the event things get worse. These expenses can include entertainment, certain food items, and luxuries. Those savings should be stuffed away in a savings account as an emergency fund in the event you lose income in the next few weeks or months.
- Reach out to credit cards – If you’re already losing income and having difficulty paying your debts, reach out to your credit cards providers immediately. Generally, credit card providers offer hardship programs, and some will even provide a small period for nonpayment. Many have now issued statements regarding their willingness to work with card holders who are facing financial strain due to the coronavirus.
- Change how you pay student loans – Federal student loans come with several already-existing options. Just days ago, the Department of Education has announced that it will waive interest accrual for deferments and forbearances for the foreseeable future. This will be very helpful for those who have no other option but to suspend their payments temporarily. Details here: https://myfedloan.org/borrowers/covid/.
- Remove auto debit payments– If you think you will experience a cash crunch, you should consider removing auto debit payments for your bills and other utilities. This way you can provide yourself with more flexibility to prioritize expenditures.
- Lookout for price gouging and scams related to the Coronavirus. It is illegal for businesses to take unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are “vital to the health, safety, or welfare of consumers”. If you see any price gouging, you should file a complaint. Services that offer products that can “cure” the virus should be avoided. You can find more information here.
Temporary services are available for individuals and families, including food, financial, medical and child care assistance.
Please visit the Department of Workforce Services for information.