It can be very difficult to manage your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic if you have less money coming in than ever before. Many people have lost their jobs and are unable to find work. This has reduced the average income in many American households by a large percentage. More Americans than ever are depending on support and financial assistance from the government to afford the things that they need.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make ends meet during this unpredictable time. Cobalt Advisors has many strategies to help you manage your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are looking for help and advice, here are some tips you should remember when looking to manage finances over the next few months while the pandemic is still at large
#1) Create A Budget
One of the most important things that you must do is create a budget. If your children are old enough you may want to include them in on the conversation to help teach them a lesson or two about personal finances. Teaching your children about the difficulties of the economy can help them understand the importance of saving money, creating a budget, and managing their finances properly.
To create your budget you should determine how much income you have coming in each month. This number has likely changed since COVID-19 started. You may have less income because you are unable to work or unable to find work. You may be forced to collect unemployment or collect other forms of government assistance. No matter what your situation is it is crucial that you understand the total income that you have coming in during the pandemic.
Once you understand how much you have coming in you need to determine how much you need to pay in bills each month. This number is likely similar to other months before the pandemic started. Try to determine how much you have on bills each month and then how much you will spend on food and gas. If you have any money left over you will want to save this for emergencies. Try not to make any large or unnecessary purchases during this time because you do not know where the economy will be in the future.
#2) Know What Assistance Is Available To You
To better manage your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic it is crucial that you understand everything that is available to you. There are many different options available to people to help them overcome the stress and difficult financial times they are in. Taking advantage of the assistance and collecting what you are able can help you increase your income and get more benefits during an unpredictable time.
Some assistance that you may be eligible to collect includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, regular unemployment benefits, and the Paycheck Protection Program. The unemployment benefits have been expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people afford their bills and all necessary purchases. The Paycheck Protection Program, which is known by many as the PPP loan, is set up to help small businesses stay in business during this crisis.
If you are able to understand what is available to you during these times you can have an easier time getting what you need and affording your necessary purchases.
#3) Delaying Student Loan Payments
Student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt in the United States. The total student loan debt in the United States is 1.6 trillion dollars. If you are one of the many people who owe student loans you may be struggling to afford your payments. Fortunately, Cobalt Advisors can tell you that student loan payments that are federal payments do not have to be paid back until September. As part of the CARES Act, student loans do not have to be paid back for a few months.
If you are unable to afford your student loan payments you can stop making payments and wait to make them until they are due. This will give you some extra money to spend each month on things that you and your family desperately need. If you still have a job and have extra money you can continue to make payments that will be applied directly to your principal. Making payments, if you are able, is smart because it can help you pay off the loan faster. The decision is up to you, up if you are struggling to determine what is right for you and your family you may need to seek help from a professional.
#4) Take Advantage of Low Stock Prices
If you are looking to better manage your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic it is important that you plan for your future. One of the best ways to plan for your future is to take advantage of the economic condition of the nation. If you have extra money and savings you may want to take a chance on the stock market. Today, the stock market is much lower than it has been in the past.
Buying stocks when they are low can help you significantly increase your profits when the stock market turns around. This allows you to better plan for your future. You should only buy stocks if you can afford them. Do not buy stocks if you are struggling to make regular bill payments since there is no guarantee on the stock market. If you are debating about what situation is best for you and your family you can always seek advice from a financial professional.
#5) Talk With A Professional
There are many financial professionals, like Cobalt Advisors, who can help you determine what financial routes are best for you and your family to take. With the changing economic situation, there are many things that everyone needs to consider to help keep their families afloat. It is crucial that people understand the best ways to manage their money and their budgets. Speaking with a professional is always recommended if you need help or advice.