COVID-19 and your personal finances
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Keeping Your Finances Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary: Take steps to protect your financial well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic with these six tips.

We have all been impacted by COVID-19 over the past several weeks. Financial challenges may arise during times of change and uncertainty. However, there are steps we can all take to mitigate risk to protect our financial well-being during times like these. Here are six tips to boost our financial well-being.

1.

Visit defense.gov and these Department of Defense sites for up-to-date information about the DoD’s response to COVID-19. Here, you’ll find guidance for military and civilian personnel — specifically, detailed answers to questions related to military personnel, stop movement orders, pay, benefits, fact-based news and a variety of other resources.

2.

Eligible individuals will receive a one-time payment of up to $1,200 or $2,400 for joint filers, plus an additional $500 per qualifying child, under the recently signed CARES Act. Payments will be available to individuals with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 or $150,000 for joint filers and $112,500 for head of household filers. The one-time payment is phased out for those with higher incomes. This resource could be the boost you need to get started on your emergency fund if you don’t have one, or keep current on financial obligations if you face a loss of additional income. Financial experts recommend keeping three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund, but any money in the bank is important during this pandemic.

3.

Here are some tips from financial experts to help you build a spending plan:

  • Create or update your spending plan. Focus on essential living expenses and try to minimize discretionary spending. Determine where you can cut and divert that money to savings. Review your current spending for areas to consider, where possible, cutting back.
  • Prioritize your bills and contact your lenders if you need help making payments. Many lenders will allow you to defer payments such as mortgages, rent, car loans and credit card payments. Others are temporarily suspending late fees or collection efforts of past due payments.
  • Check with your service relief society for additional assistance. Military relief societies may offer immediate, no interest loans or grants for financial needs.

Army Emergency Relief: https://www.aerhq.org
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: https://www.nmcrs.org
Air Force Aid Society: https://www.afas.org
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance: https://www.cgmahq.org

4.

  • The CARES Act provides relief on federal student loans for college students and graduates. Visit Federal Student Aid.gov for more details.
  • Spouses who lose their job may file for unemployment. The CARES Act offers workers up to an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs typically pay.
  • The CARES Act provides relief for those typically not eligible for unemployment, such as gig or freelance workers.
  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals otherwise ineligible for unemployment compensation. This includes self-employed individuals, independent contractors and those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. Those with a small business of 500 or fewer employees can visit SBA.gov for additional COVID-19 guidance and loan resources.
  • Seek food security programs, if needed. The CARES Act includes additional funding of $15.5 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to help cover new applications.

5.

  • Retirement accounts, like the Thrift Savings Plan, should be viewed as long-term investments and not something you should change on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.
  • Consider your long-term retirement strategy before making any investment changes to your TSP or other retirement accounts. During volatile markets, trying to sell out of the market and buy back once you feel better about the economy could be a costly mistake.
  • Visit tsp.gov or your investment management company, if you have one, before making a decision. DoD personal financial managers and counselors are available at no cost on your installation or virtually.

6.

Be vigilant and guard against potential scams. Some things to be on the lookout for and guard against may include:

  • Calls from the IRS. They will never call you asking for your bank account or other financial information.
  • Online phishing scams designed as coronavirus-themed requesting to click on a link or open an attachment.
  • Calls regarding coronavirus test kits which ask for personal identifiable information.

The bottom line is to remain cautious and do not fall prey to any scammers. Guard your Social Security number, credit card numbers and all personal identifiable information, and utilize resources such as credit freezes, credit monitoring and reviewing your credit report regularly. 

If you think you may be a victim of a scam, immediately report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Additional Links

Keeping Your Finances Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary: Take steps to protect your financial well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic with these six tips.

We have all been impacted by COVID-19 over the past several weeks. Financial challenges may arise during times of change and uncertainty. However, there are steps we can all take to mitigate risk to protect our financial well-being during times like these. Here are six tips to boost our financial well-being.

1.

Visit defense.gov and these Department of Defense sites for up-to-date information about the DoD’s response to COVID-19. Here, you’ll find guidance for military and civilian personnel — specifically, detailed answers to questions related to military personnel, stop movement orders, pay, benefits, fact-based news and a variety of other resources.

2.

Eligible individuals will receive a one-time payment of up to $1,200 or $2,400 for joint filers, plus an additional $500 per qualifying child, under the recently signed CARES Act. Payments will be available to individuals with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 or $150,000 for joint filers and $112,500 for head of household filers. The one-time payment is phased out for those with higher incomes. This resource could be the boost you need to get started on your emergency fund if you don’t have one, or keep current on financial obligations if you face a loss of additional income. Financial experts recommend keeping three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund, but any money in the bank is important during this pandemic.

3.

Here are some tips from financial experts to help you build a spending plan:

  • Create or update your spending plan. Focus on essential living expenses and try to minimize discretionary spending. Determine where you can cut and divert that money to savings. Review your current spending for areas to consider, where possible, cutting back.
  • Prioritize your bills and contact your lenders if you need help making payments. Many lenders will allow you to defer payments such as mortgages, rent, car loans and credit card payments. Others are temporarily suspending late fees or collection efforts of past due payments.
  • Check with your service relief society for additional assistance. Military relief societies may offer immediate, no interest loans or grants for financial needs.

Army Emergency Relief: https://www.aerhq.org
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: https://www.nmcrs.org
Air Force Aid Society: https://www.afas.org
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance: https://www.cgmahq.org

4.

  • The CARES Act provides relief on federal student loans for college students and graduates. Visit Federal Student Aid.gov for more details.
  • Spouses who lose their job may file for unemployment. The CARES Act offers workers up to an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs typically pay.
  • The CARES Act provides relief for those typically not eligible for unemployment, such as gig or freelance workers.
  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals otherwise ineligible for unemployment compensation. This includes self-employed individuals, independent contractors and those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. Those with a small business of 500 or fewer employees can visit SBA.gov for additional COVID-19 guidance and loan resources.
  • Seek food security programs, if needed. The CARES Act includes additional funding of $15.5 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to help cover new applications.

5.

  • Retirement accounts, like the Thrift Savings Plan, should be viewed as long-term investments and not something you should change on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.
  • Consider your long-term retirement strategy before making any investment changes to your TSP or other retirement accounts. During volatile markets, trying to sell out of the market and buy back once you feel better about the economy could be a costly mistake.
  • Visit tsp.gov or your investment management company, if you have one, before making a decision. DoD personal financial managers and counselors are available at no cost on your installation or virtually.

6.

Be vigilant and guard against potential scams. Some things to be on the lookout for and guard against may include:

  • Calls from the IRS. They will never call you asking for your bank account or other financial information.
  • Online phishing scams designed as coronavirus-themed requesting to click on a link or open an attachment.
  • Calls regarding coronavirus test kits which ask for personal identifiable information.

The bottom line is to remain cautious and do not fall prey to any scammers. Guard your Social Security number, credit card numbers and all personal identifiable information, and utilize resources such as credit freezes, credit monitoring and reviewing your credit report regularly. 

If you think you may be a victim of a scam, immediately report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Additional Links

Primary Text Separator for Milspouse Money Mission, Financial Education for Military Spouses

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