Typically, in the month of April, our partner GreenPath Financial Wellness recognizes National Financial Literacy Month to highlight the importance of financial literacy in the United States.
It’s a time set aside to emphasize healthy financial habits.
But this year is far from typical. It’s a time of uncertainty and worry as the ongoing COVID-19 crisis sharpens the importance of financial health.
Many of us are experiencing financial hardships from loss of income and other challenges. Our housing and financial counselors continue to respond to people who need financial education as they work toward recovery.
A survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) finds that nearly 9 in 10 (88%) Americans say the COVID-19 crisis is causing stress on their personal finances.
More than half (54%) say they’re worried about not having enough saved, while almost half (48%) are worried about their ability to pay bills.
So to get started, assessing your current situation is a good place to start.
Changes in Income?
If you are dealing with unexpected loss or changes in monthly income, you face immediate need when it comes to managing housing and living expenses.
To keep up with paying your bills during this time, talk to your creditors to find out if they have any options to help.
- Financial institutions are being urged to meet the needs of affected people and communities. Some creditors may be able to extend your due date, waive late fees or offer a different payment plan option. Take a few moments to prepare before you call so you can clearly communicate your needs.
- Working with mortgage servicers to understand what options are available is also important. Learn more about seeking mortgage assistance.
- Read more tips in this article about dealing with loss of income.
Looking to Simplify Finances?
From automating bill payments to making a simple financial plan, simplifying your finances is a good step to building healthy financial habits.
Making your finances as easy as possible to manage will help during this crisis.
Learn more about healthy financial habits.
Hoping to Set a Budget?
Even in times of financial hardship, one of the most important steps to financial wellness is to create a budget.
- Budgeting means making a plan to match income with needed expenses.
- See tips about Budgeting 101 to track your monthly expenses by priority.
- Budgeting should be a family project. A budget is difficult to stick to if only one person builds it. That job can be very stressful if that person does not have the full support and understanding of everybody in the family.
Especially in challenging times, take the time to assess your financial situation. Keep it simple! There is no need for a complicated approach.
Taking one or two of the suggestions outlined here is an important step towards financial wellness – during National Financial Literacy Month and beyond.
Plan With GreenPath
Experiencing a loss of income? Looking to create a budget? GreenPath’s professional, caring financial coaches can work with you. GreenPath also offers free debt and credit counseling.