Financial tips to help you survive the pandemic
By: Adam Marlowe
If you’re scared or feeling uncertain about the state of your finances during this pandemic, you are certainly not alone. A recent national poll conducted by NPR’s Marketplace showed 33% of Americans were losing sleep over concerns about their finances and 44% were genuinely concerned about being able to afford groceries and other basic necessities in the coming months. We know many of our members are feeling the same stress and anxiety, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you have accurate and actionable information from financial experts to make the best decisions for you and your family. With that being said, I wanted to share some of the key questions we are getting most frequently from our members, and our best practices to navigate through the choppy waters:
Should I refinance?
While it might seem like a good time to refinance your home or take out a mortgage due to low interest rates, if you don’t have enough liquid funds to pay for the closing costs, you probably shouldn’t focus on it for the time being. If it doesn’t happen now, don’t panic, because this step could certainly make sense down the road.
Is my money safe?
If you feel the need to carry more cash than usual, that’s certainly fine, but there is no need to take out huge sums of money—not only are your deposits federally insured by the NCUA, but your money earns interest while it is with your financial institution, whereas cash in your pocket does not. So not only is your money safer and more secure in a checking or savings account, it’s also more valuable in the long run.
Which bills should I prioritize?
If your bills are piling up and you need to prioritize, make sure to pay your cell phone bill. Between staying connected with your friends and family and having a lifeline to your work remotely, your cell phone is an indispensable tool in our new socially distant world. Many providers are currently offering deferred payment options due to the effects of the pandemic, so be sure to see not only what your cell phone provider is willing to do, but find out what other providers (internet, cable, etc.) are offering to help you manage these challenges.
Can I still afford fun?
Even though disposable income is understandably limited during this time, it’s also important to stay sane and have ways to entertain yourself. In the age of streaming, you can find tons of engaging content on many of these services, so while you might need to cut back on some of your entertainment options, keeping a large streaming service with a deep catalog of content is certainly justifiable.
These are just a handful of topics that we are discussing with our members, but if you have other questions about managing the financial burden presented by this crisis, be sure to reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We are here to help!