I’m in a Crisis
I was already behind and I’m in a state of panic now over my finances. I need relief ASAP.
Step 1: Contact all creditors now & prioritize your bills
If you haven’t yet, reach out to all your bill providers to request hardship consideration. Many utilities and other service providers are offering additional flexibility on bill payment during the pandemic, but you do have to apply. Check out these resources for additional information and next steps.
Step 2: Make the most of your stimulus check and tax refund, if applicable
First of all, important PSA (Public Service Announcement): the IRS is automatically sending the money based on your most recent filing, so if anyone calls you or emails you for information asking you to update anything, it’s a scam. However, you may need to proactively take action if you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return or you’ve moved or switched banks recently – review this website for where to go to update the IRS with your information. They WILL NOT be calling or emailing you in the coming weeks for this. Once you do receive your money, make the most of it by prioritizing your bills appropriately.
Step 3: Look into temporary income opportunities
If you qualify for unemployment due to the expanded eligibility rules, make sure you file ASAP. At the same time, it’s a good idea to seek additional income, as even a little bit can help. There are still businesses in desperate need of workers – think of the places you still can go or the services you’re still using, and consider applying to work until the world gets a bit back to normal.
Step 4: Explore community resources
Most communities have established websites for residents with the latest on the COVID-19 crisis, including financial help for those affected. Start there to find out what aid is available, while also looking at other relief agencies such as:
Step 5: Access retirement funds as a last resort
Part of the CARES Act relaxed the hardship withdrawal rules for people affected by the pandemic, which may offer access to retirement savings without early withdrawal penalties. This should really be a last resort if, after practicing all the previous steps, you’re still unable to pay your essential bills. Please be sure to check with your retirement plan administrator or review your company’s COVID-19 resources to find out eligibility. If you do make a withdrawal, you should plan to re-pay it within 3 years if possible, as you will still face taxes on the withdrawal, along with potentially delaying your retirement in the long run.
© 2020 Financial Finesse, Inc.
All content is for informational purposes only and should never be considered, conveyed, or shared as legal, tax, investment, or financial advice under any circumstance.