We are living in uncertain, unprecedented times - an era when we really don't know what our future holds - economically, socially, personally. This financial uncertainty can create stress and anxiety, but the best way to fight that uncertainty is to come up with a concrete financial "emergency" plan.
Reassess Your Financial Situation
Because there are so many uncertainties right now, take another look at your financial situation. If you budget, there is a good chance that your budget and/or plan didn't account for a crisis like we are experiencing. Take the time to sit down and figure out what your current financial situation is and discuss what it would look like if you or another household member lost a job or any amount of income.
Revisit Financial Priorities - Develop a New Budget
When you budget, you create a hierarchy of financial obligations. Rent or mortgage, certain bills, and essential food are usually a top priority, with things like recreation and eating out fall lower on the list. In a time of crisis, the list should look similar, but with a larger focus on the essentials - maybe even cutting out the non-essential. Some of that is already done for us - most recreation is not available to us right now - but it is wise to stop excess spending until further notice. If you will have difficulty meeting those essential needs like rent, bills, and food after cutting out non-essentials, be sure to communicate openly with the people in charge to discuss your options.
Contact Your Creditors As Soon As Possible
If you anticipate being unable to pay into some of your accounts (car lease, bills, loans, etc.), be sure to openly communicate that to your creditors as soon as possible. You can ask for Hardship Allowances due to Covid, and they will work with you to the best of their abilities - provided you openly communicate with them.
Identify Resources Available to You
Some Community resources like food banks or relief funds are still open and running, available to anyone who needs them. If you find yourself in need of any sort of financial assistance, check out what is available to you locally - even getting some groceries for free can help relieve some of the financial (and mental) stress.
Make Sure You Have a Safety Net
It is for times just like these that we recommend maintaining a financial safety net - some savings set aside for emergencies just like we are facing now. We don't know what the future will hold as the virus runs itself out, or what kind of repercussions we will see after this is over. It is a good rule of thumb to have savings that can cover basic living expenses for a few months, if not longer. If you will receive money from the Economic Stimulus package, that can be put away and help pad that safety net.
If you're concerned about paying down your debt or accruing interest during this time, contact one of our Financial Experts to explore your options.