Personal Finance Tips in the Fallout from Coronavirus

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the social distancing required to help stop its spread has impacted almost everyone in one way or another. For many people, that impact has included a financial component. Thankfully, you can still rely on a few core personal financial tips to help you in the fallout from Coronavirus. 

If you need assistance with your finances, work with a professional financial advisor from Good Life Financial Advisors of Mt. Pleasant. We’re ready to help create a personalized plan for your specific needs.

Build an Emergency Fund

Recent events have only served to highlight the importance of an emergency fund. If you do not currently have an emergency fund that can cover three to six months’ worth of expenses and you still have income coming in, now is the time to make an emergency fund a priority.

Even if you find yourself currently unaffected financially, this may not be the case later. If you already have an emergency fund and are currently using the funds, make sure that once you have a solid stream of income coming in again, you replace everything you took out.  

Get Documents from Your Safe Deposit Box

With many banks temporarily closing branches, you may have difficulty accessing important documents residing in a safe deposit box. If your bank branch is currently open, you may want to consider taking out any documents you may need in the near future.

That being said, a safe deposit box is still a good place to keep valuable documents. There’s a reason they exist. If you do decide to take any documents out, only take out what you need, and once the bank branch hours have returned to normal, make sure to put the documents back. 

Consider Getting Out Some Cash

With many bank branches closing, it’s possible that ATMs may be out of service occasionally. Therefore, you may want to withdraw some cash while you can do so. Even with the modern reliance on credit cards, there are still instances when having cash on hand is useful. It’s for these instances that you would withdraw money, not for major expenses. There’s no reason for you to withdraw a large sum since your money is still far safer in a bank, but having a few hundred dollars on hand for smaller purchases may be beneficial. 

Update Your Budget

What you’re spending money on now may not be the same as it was two months ago. These adjustments may be large or relatively small. If you’ve lost your job, adjusting your budget may help you avoid going into debt. If you’re eating more carryout to support local restaurants, you’ll want to make sure you’re spending less in other areas. No matter what your circumstances, it’s likely that your life has changed, and when life changes, your spending usually does too. In order to ensure you come out of this in the best possible financial shape, make sure your budget reflects the reality of your current situation. 

Take Advantage of Available Benefits

The Coronavirus stimulus package congress recently passed provides $2 trillion in relief. This includes payments to individuals, small business loans, increased unemployment benefits, and much more. Many people currently struggling financially may find some relief from this stimulus package.

The key is making sure you know what you’re eligible for and what you need to do to get it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, you’re certainly not alone, but a small amount of research and planning may lead to a huge financial payoff. This is especially true for those who own small businesses that may benefit from the small business loans that are part of the package. With so many people requesting money, the sooner you can begin the process, the better. 

Keep a Bad Situation from Becoming Worse

We find ourselves in unprecedented times. Even the most financially responsible individuals may struggle to make payments on student loans, car loans, or even rent and mortgages. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to do everything you can to keep a bad situation from becoming worse. One of the best ways to do this is to communicate with lenders and ask for what you need.

There is no guarantee that a landlord or lender will allow you to miss a payment, but many are currently far more flexible than they are under normal circumstances. Before reaching out to a landlord or lender, make sure you’re prepared to explain your circumstances, have a specific request in mind, and provide a timeline (to the best of your abilities) on when you might begin making regular payments again. 

The Takeaway 

The Coronavirus is affecting everyone in one way or another. While it may feel like everything has changed, many core personal finance tips have remained the same even in the fallout from Coronavirus. The only difference is that they may be even more important now than they were before. If you need assistance with any part of your finances, reach out to the team at Good Life Financial Advisors of Mount Pleasant as soon as possible.