The rapid viral spread across many states and nations have prompted stay-at-home orders and social distancing, forcing many workers to work from home or get displaced, and a handful of businesses to shut down temporarily. This has affected Average Joe’s income stream, potentially drowning him in debt for the next few months.
Thankfully, there are simple ways to keep our due payments in check. Given that 80% of Americans are in debt, technology and alternative repayment plans have become available to help the general public manage their finances, and now’s the perfect time to take advantage of them.
Without further ado, let’s discuss how to keep our finances organized during and after the quarantine.
- Contact Your Mortgage Provider
If you’ve been making monthly mortgage payments before the virus has hit, chances are they were your first concern when the stay-at-home orders were imposed. Let your provider know immediately if you realize that you’ll have trouble keeping up with your payments while in quarantine. Your provider could grant you a forbearance or other forms of short-term mortgage relief.
When the quarantines get lifted and you have to make regular mortgage payments again, consider having it refinanced. Check out the favorable mortgage refinance rates in Salt Lake City or where your provider is located. Paying lower interest rates is doubtlessly less of a burden than dealing with foreclosure!
- Find Out if Your Other Loan Providers are Offering Temporary Relief
Many credit card issuers have provided assistance for their consumers during the outbreak, and chances are your issuer is one of them. Likewise, other financial institutions have offered temporary relief, so you could be exempted to pay your other personal or business loans.
If you have other financial obligations that you can’t dismiss, the SBA and other lenders are offering loans, so consider turning to them if your finances won’t be enough for next few months during and after the quarantine.
- Automate Your Finances and Payments
Enrol in online banking and automatic payments to keep track of your finances better. Taxes can also be filed electronically, and your refund will be directly deposited to your account in three weeks. You can also pay your utility bills online, but some states have issued a suspension on utility disconnections, so if you’ll have trouble paying yours, find out if your state has implemented this moratorium as well.
- Cancel Costly and Unnecessary Subscriptions
Netflix may be our best bud during this period, but if your subscription fees are eating a chunk of your savings that you could’ve used to pay more important debts, canceling it is for the greater good. You can always get it back after the quarantine, or as soon as you overcome all your financial woes.
- Keep on Investing in Your Retirement and Emergency Savings
Surely, these times have made you realize just how critical retirement and emergency funds are. Auto-invest in your 401(k) after receiving every paycheck, and allocate another amount for your emergency savings. It is recommended to have at least six month’s worth of living expenses in your emergency funds.
- Review or Develop a Financial Plan
Finally, take time to review your current financial plan, or make one if you haven’t done it at all. List down all your debts, investments, and savings, and figure out how you can maximize your net income. It would surely involve giving up some nonessential expenses. You may also realize that you have to be more serious in budgeting for emergency situations.
We still don’t know how much longer we have to live through this “new normal,” so take this time to rethink your financial goals and make better plans for your future. This pandemic has hit us all hard, but let this inspire you to make better financial decisions.