Most of the world hit the pause button in March as the novel Coronavirus infected millions, and as of this writing has killed more than 216,000 people worldwide. Airlines canceled flights, bars stopped serving, and stores shuttered, throwing the economy and our social lives in a tailspin. While the numbers of those infected seems to continue growing, financial impact of the virus is tenfold. Economists have predicted that millions will go bankrupt, businesses will close permanently, and whole cities could suffer. So what can you do about your finances? Un-ruly has decided to cut through the clutter and provide a list of credible links and resources to guide you through weathering this storm.
- Cut Back Now
- Look For Work
- File For Unemployment
- Check on Your Stimulus Check
- Stay Sane
- Understand the Pandemic
Don’t Wait to Cut Back. Start Now.
First things first, do an audit of all of your bills. You need to cut every non-essential expense, NOW. If you’re not sure where to start, here are three simple ways to immediately see a difference in your bank account. We also have this straight forward guide on how to manage your money and save. It breaks down essential and non-essential expenses.
Next tackle the bigger bills. Forbes has a great article that will help you navigate possibly lowering or delaying your credit card payments and other monthly expenses like your rent. As the article says, “landlords do not want to be looking for replacement tenants in this environment, so they may be willing to make some accommodations.”
A warning though, if you’re a homeowner and get deferred payments, it could come back to haunt you.
Now that you have your bills under control, let’s get some extra income.
Look For Work
If you find yourself laid off or furloughed, waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to end, finding work online might be an option. Many job board sites are identifying and highlighting work from home jobs that can put some money in your pocket, while we sit at home. Forbes has compiled a list of sites.
Investopedia has also put together a really comprehensive guide to finding work from home jobs; including companies currently hiring and entrepreneurial opportunities.
File for Unemployment
Since mid-March record numbers of Americans have filed for unemployment. As of mid-April, more than 26 million have filed for benefits – numbers that far surpass those seen during the Great Recession in the late 1920s.
If you’ve been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19, you need to file a claim with your state’s unemployment office. Even independent contractors, those who are self-employed and gig workers are eligible for some level of unemployment relief. Every state has different guidelines so make sure you find your state to see what’s available.
Congress passed and the President recently signed the CARES Act that will allow those applying for benefits to receive more money along with other benefits for Americans suffering from the economic impact of COVID19. The bill is massive, but Forbes has a great breakdown of everything you need to know.
For the most recent unemployment data, click here. (Data released every Thursday morning.)
Want to learn more about the record unemployment and how we got to where we are? Check out this podcast from The New York Times.
Check on Your Stimulus Check Eligibility & Status
As part of the CARES Act, Congress authorized a payment of up to $1,200 for nearly every American. Here’s more on the amount you might receive.
Per IRS.gov you may be eligible to receive a Payment if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or qualifying resident alien;
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return;
- Have a Social Security number (SSN) that is valid for employment (valid SSN); and
- Exception: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN
- Have adjusted gross income below an amount based on your filing status and the number of your qualifying children.
Additional information about eligibility for the Payment can be found in the Get My Payment Frequently Asked Questions.
If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, no further action is required to receive payment. If you haven’t filed a return, the following FAQs provide guidance on how to request payment as a non-filer. You can also check on your payment status here.
Getting your finances under control during these uncertain times can go a long way to reduce stress and anxiety. It’s important to remember you’re not alone in this; millions of Americans are navigating their bank accounts and making difficult decisions right along with you. With a little planning and luck you will come out on the other side of this pandemic with a better idea of finances and empowered to have overcome a difficult situation.
For many, being cut off from family, friends, and your job can cause a lot of stress. In fact, it’s totally normal if you’re feeling a wide array of emotions during this time. One of the biggest things to remember is to breathe. Self-care, deep breathing, and exercise can go a long way to helping restore and rejuvenate your mental health during this trying time. Here’s a list to get started.
Understanding the Pandemic
In early January China reports its first COVID-19 death and 10 days later, the US has its first confirmed case in Washington state, and by January 30 the World Health Organization declares a global health emergency. Here’s a timeline.
Here’s a look at the latest numbers.
What is Coronavirus?
According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can infect humans and animals. In humans; coronaviruses cause respiratory infections and include viruses like MERS and SARS. COVID-19 is the most recently discovered coronavirus, with a wide array of symptoms.
Is there a cure?
No. Numerous countries and organizations are working around the clock to find a vaccination, but according to the WHO it could take years for a vaccine to be developed, tested, and released. Here’s the latest information on cures and treatments from the Mayo Clinic.
Why isn’t everyone getting tested?
The answer to that is complicated, but in early February the FDA did approve the emergency use of COVID-19 tests BUT (and this is a big but) it’s unclear if every test is measuring the same way, in other words there’s no standard baseline in these newly authorized tests. As to why everyone isn’t getting a test, that answer is even more complicated; there are different schools of thought on who and when tests should be administered. There’s a great article that gives an in-depth look at the issue of testing by Healthline.
How do you protect yourself?
Currently many states have instituted social distancing and self-isolation measures. Health organizations also recommend wearing a mask in public, the use of hand sanitizer, and hand washing. The WHO has some great videos and information on how and when to use a mask.