Tag Archive for: finance

Practical Finance

Practical Finance 

By Cathy Perkins

We’re all in this pandemic together. That
means we all need to look out for each other and give back where we can. When I
looked for ways to help others, the obvious kinda stared me in the face. I work
in the financial sector and could talk about financial moves to make right
if you’re out of work and worried.

Hopefully, you received your economic stimulus
payment today. If not, you can check the IRS website (go here)
to see where you are in the process. There’s also a link for the alternative
registration if you didn’t file a tax return last year.

In the meanwhile, there are other
steps you can take if you are caught in the shutdown without a paycheck.

Important note:

I’ve posted a longer version of this post on my website (https://cperkinswrites.com) with lots of links for exactly where to go for these and other subtopics. 

Hopefully this quick overview will help. 

Image courtesy of Librarypoint.org which details Virginia state help

Your job and benefits

Check with your employer and get a
timeline. If this a furlough? A complete separation from service? Will you be recalled as soon as your company reopens or is this a permanent layoff? Are there any
employer provided benefits? Ask about the status of your benefits, especially
your health insurance.


you haven’t already filed for
unemployment benefits, do this first. Yes, the state
websites were overwhelmed and crashing and the lines were long, but go do this.
Try to apply online with your state’s labor department rather than over the
phone or in person.

Mortgage payment

If your mortgage
is federally backed, the CARES Act gives you a right to forbearance for
up to 12 months. Federally backed mortgages include loans owned by Fannie Mae,
Freddie Mac and various federal agencies. Forbearance means you don’t have to
make payments, although interest will typically still accrue. There’s also a 60-day
moratorium on foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions for these

If you’re not
sure whether your mortgage is federally backed, call the company that takes
your mortgage payments, aka your loan servicer, and ask. Even if your loan is
not federally backed, you may be eligible for some kind of relief. Explain your
circumstances and ask what help is available.

If you don’t ask,
the answer if “no.” 

Rent and utilities

A number of
states have implemented policies to prevent eviction during the crisis, or at
least through May—but understand even if your rent or utilities are suspended,
you still have to pay them later. 

Try to pay at least part if you can, but reach
out to your landlord and explain your situation. Odds are, the person who owns
your building is in the same bind. He or she owes a lender for the building’s
mortgage and common area utilities and insurance and is scrambling to figure
out where the money to pay those bills is coming from.


Look at everything.
Say the B word (budget) out loud. Can you live without a subscription, be it
television or another entertainment charge? Cancel the gym, the monthly basket
of whatever. There are a ton of services available for free. Question
everything. Use this time to explore some of those options. 

Final Word

If you still have
a job, focus on an emergency fund. If you already have 3-6 months expenses in a
cash-equivalent fund, good planning! If not, build that fund first and then
consider the current stock market swan-dive an opportunity to build a regular
investment fund.

If you’ve lost
your job, you may be tempted to put off asking for help, hoping that you’ll
land another job before your household is on financial fumes. Don’t go there. Assume
you could be out of work for many months. Not only is unemployment
skyrocketing, but a vaccine could be a year or more away, indicating the
economic disruptions likely will continue.

Good luck, and
don’t lose hope.

An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.  Visit her at http://cperkinswrites.com or on Facebook 

Sign up for her new release announcement newsletter in either place.

She’s hard at work on sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, which was recently presented with the Claymore Award.