Money Matters and the Covid-19 Virus: Ideas to Help – Part 1
As I write this post, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. This event is changing how we live our daily lives. The negative economic impact of this whole situation is beginning to be felt. My concern for all our readers is that you take appropriate action to save and manage your available cash.
To help you navigate this unexpected event, I have put together a number of ideas for you to consider as you manage your individual situation. Again, I stress that if you are really in a quandary about what actions to take, consider consulting a financial planner in your area.
Spending an hour over the phone or in a video meeting may reduce your stress and anxiety about what to do with your money. I will make this a series of posts and will add to them as the situation changes.
Here are some ideas to start your journey:
Update or Create a Cash Budget You need to start at the beginning, meaning putting together a cash budget of all your inflows and payment outflows. You need to clearly know your cash situation. Preparing a budget will give you a clear awareness of what you are trying to balance particularly if you may have an uncertain employment situation. You can gain more insight about budgets by reviewing several of my prior posts.
Do An Inventory of All Available Cash and Credit Lines – How Much Do You Have? Just how much available cash and credit lines do you have? If you are forced out of work by the virus or your company ceases operations, what resources do you have to live on? My book, The FinancialVerse – A Common Sense Approach for Your Money, has information and checklists to follow to complete this inventory. If you think you are going to lose your job because of the virus, look into what severance benefits you might get from your company and the unemployment compensation benefit you would be entitled to.
Determine Available Work-Related Benefits Go through your company’s employee handbook to learn what sick leave, disability, severance, and health benefits you are eligible for. Knowing this information will help you if you need to use these benefits.
Reach Out to Your Creditors for Relief If you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer pay your credit card, mortgage or other debts, you should reach out to the lender and see what can be done. Some lenders are putting in place programs to help people who have been negatively impacted by the virus. Contact information should be on your monthly statement or on the back of the credit cards.
Automate Your Banking Automating your monthly banking activities is a way to lessen the time you spend on managing your money. It is a way to reduce the drudgery of bill paying and simplify your life. Now with the risks associated with the virus reducing your public exposure can minimize your risk of becoming ill. Instead of running pace to place to pay bills, you can do all of your monthly banking from home. Enrolling in automatic payments also prevents the chance of missing bill dates and paying late fees. Some merchants and utilities even give you a discount—saving you both money and time—for setting up bills on autopay. You should be able to set up auto-pay for the following types of bills:
Home mortgage or rent payments
Utilities (i.e., electric, water, and gas)
Cable TV and internet (there is usually a payment reduction for autopay)
Life and general insurance premiums
Recurring monthly subscriptions (e.g., Microsoft, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix)
You can still monitor all these payment types by scheduling and reviewing email copies of your billings.
The Covid-19 virus and its aftermath will change our lives. As with any seminal event, it will leave lasting impacts. This includes impacts on how you manage your money. By making carefully considered decisions you will improve your financial situation and reduce the stress and anxiety of this virus.
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