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COVID-19: Financial Planning Advice During Uncertain Times

27 April 2020 No Comment

There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has taken everyone by surprise. The recent changes implemented to reduce the spread have changed everyday life for the unforeseeable future. With many businesses being forced to close their doors and lay off thousands of workers, households across the country are also suffering financially.

It is during these uncertain times that making wise financial decisions matter most. Making it through this pandemic will, without a doubt, be difficult, but with effective financial planning, it is possible. Below is some advice worth considering to prepare:

Prioritize Your Expenses

Now is as good a time as any to review your budget and prioritize your expenses. It is essential to preserve as much of your income as you can for as long as you can. Monthly expenses such as food, housing, utilities, and transportation should be a top priority. Anything that is not a necessity should be put at the bottom of the list. Itemize your expenses by order of importance. Use this list when deciding which bills need to be paid.

Contact Creditors/Service Providers

While you may not be able to afford all of your bills each month, you should never ignore your financial responsibilities. Contact the creditors or service providers of these accounts and explain your circumstances. They are aware of all that is going on and how it has impacted the livelihood of millions of people. Therefore, they are inclined to work with you.

Some service providers may be willing to hold off on collecting payments for a few months. Others may be willing to work out a more affordable repayment option. In any case, going on the record to express your financial hardship shows that you’re financially responsible.

Set Money Aside for Emergencies

If you’re presently in a jam a quick online search of installment loans near me could be a lifesaver in helping you to cover the costs. Be that as it may, you still want to be prepared. If you’re fortunate enough to still be employed, you should start setting aside a portion of your income for emergencies. Should you have a home or car repair, a medical expense, or lose your job, you want to have a cushion to afford the things you need until you’re able to figure out another solution. While setting aside 3-6 month’s worth of income is advised, at this point, anything you can set aside can be of some assistance. So, if all you can save is $25 a week, continue to do so for as long as you can.

Don’t Panic Buy

The idea of being stuck at home for the next few weeks or months can be scary. In fact, it has prompted many Americans to start panic buying or emotional spending. Consumers are stocking up on any and everything they can possibly think of from toilet paper and bleach to food and guns. Though this may seem like the right thing to do, buying large quantities of items you can’t afford right now, reduces the amount of money you have to cover priority expenses. Purchase what you need and avoid what you don’t.

Get Your Affairs in Order

The hope is that you’re not impacted by the coronavirus (and certainly that you don’t pass away from it), however, there is no guarantee. Therefore, it is a good idea for you to get your affairs in order. Make sure that you have adequate health insurance as well as life insurance to protect yourself and your family. You should also ensure that your will and estate are in order. This, at the very least, will provide you with peace of mind.

Seek Financial Assistance

If the coronavirus has caused extreme financial hardship for you and your family, there are places you can turn to for help. If you’ve lost your job, you can apply for unemployment benefits. If you need assistance with healthcare, food, utilities, or housing costs, you can apply for welfare assistance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to take advantage of these programs while they’re available.

Times are certainly scary. The coronavirus’ impact is so great and uncertain that the lives of many have been put on hold. Besides staying indoors, properly sanitizing, and following social distancing rules, the best way to get through the next few months is to re-evaluate your finances and make informed decisions to safeguard yourself and those you love most.

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