Yesterday the governor of Ohio extended our lock down until May 1st. That’s another four weeks, and it made me suck in my breath when I heard it. Another month seems like forever, at least it did last night. This morning I have a different perspective. I have 28 days to focus on business and personal development, to do some at home projects that have been waiting until, “I have time” and to embrace the warmer weather with the chance to work outdoors.
It’s always good to find the positive to keep spirits up. Admittedly, I woke up a little annoyed this morning, but after about an hour and a call to a friend (and an accountability partner) things feel better. I know that a lot of people are concerned, or even downright scared. The best thing to do right now is to hunker down and take care of ourselves. In my own household there are going to be changes we need to make around our personal money (and likely many of you as well) and I wanted to give you a little advice on the best way to take care of yourself and your family financially to get through the crisis a little easier.
First and foremost, stash cash.
Know your amount for the personal four walls and pay them first. You need to pay for your four walls- food, utilities, rent/mortgage, and transportation. Apply for the unemployment assistance if you are laid off or furloughed. If you are a business owner and unable to pay yourself enough to cover your four walls, apply for an emergency disaster loan. The good news is that you probably don’t need to gas up the car much. And you are eating at home more, so food bills are probably lower.
Second, call your creditors and ask for payments to be deferred if you cannot make them now.
Forget the FICO, seriously. You need to eat and have electric to cook with. Many banks are starting to get on board with waiving late fees. Let them know you applied for help, but they need to wait until you can pay them without depleting all of your cash.
Third, don’t make any financial decisions or make sweeping changes right now.
Keep your money picture consistent right now. Don’t cash out 401k or sell stocks, etc. These will have longer term consequences, and there are federal programs that have been created to help all of us get through this crisis. Remember, we are #allinthistogether.