Financial Health Tips for COVID-19

Apr 20, 2020 Ways to support your financial health in the times of coronavirus

COVID-19 has created sudden, new challenges for all of us. We recognize that many people are feeling the financial strain of not being able to go to work or operate their businesses normally, and that the last few weeks have made many more rethink personal plans and goals for the year.

For those struggling through the loss of a job or other financial impacts, banks, credit card and other companies are working to help people by offering payment relief. Some of the most common ways we are helping people include delaying payments and refunding fees.   

Here are some tips to help guide you through these challenging times: 

·         Check the payment due dates for your regular bills. If you are struggling financially and need to delay payments, make a list of who you need to alert—like car payments, home loans, or credit card companies-- to see if they’re allowing customers to delay payments or waive late fees. Look first on each company’s website because waiting times are long on the phone. Find out if your credit score will be affected if you participate in these programs; it won’t be in some programs.

·         Take stock of possible sources of cash and credit. Knowing how much is available on your credit card or bank account could help you get a sense of what you could draw on if needed.

·         Record unexpected expenses and adjust your budget. With many variables like unexpected expenses, record purchases so you can track what’s going on. With many places closed, you also are likely spending less on things like eating out and that can change your budget. If you did not have a budget, think about building one now.  Budget Builder is a free template can help you get started and is available to anyone.

·         Use technology to help keep you on track. A third of your credit score is based on on-time payments. Generally speaking, financial technology can help you with managing your bills and how you get paid. Automate all you can, and set up transaction alerts or deposits and withdrawals. If you use the Chase Mobile app, we have videos that can help you set these up

·         Monitor and protect your credit.  Certain actions can impact your credit up or down more than others, and information is key to help you. Sign up to Credit Journey for free. This is important if you are considering applying for a loan or a credit card in the near term or refinancing debt or your home loan.

·         Stay alert to scams. Scams are on the rise. To stay up to date, see the Federal Trade Commission’s advice. It is smart to triple-check any social message, email or solicitation you get, especially if it mentions COVID-19. Share this information to help protect your loved ones. Know that Chase won’t ask for confidential information—such as your name, password, PIN or other account information—if we reach out to you.

·         Rebuild when you can. If you’re using savings to help you right now, start to rebuild when you can, setting up a safety net to help you cover your everyday needs. If you are expecting a lump sum or relief funds, think about setting some aside for savings.

·         Think about the future. If you are investing through a 401(k) plan at work, do what you can to stay the course. Remember that retirement is a long-term strategy.  But if you are facing an immediate need, you might suspend contributions to your 401(k) or even consider taking a loan, if the plan offers it.

Financial health is a journey, and we can help you think about a plan for the now and the future. Also, remember you can reach out to community organizations and city and state resources that can help connect you to aid, if you need it.