Best friends Joel and Matt have been doling out financial advice on their podcast, How To Money, for awhile now, but with the coronavirus quarantines in place, many of us are concerned about the economic fallout, not only for our country, but for ourselves. So they’ve focused their Friday episodes on the Covid economy specifically to address those worries. On this episode, they make recommendations for those of us working with less income or no income during this crisis, covering unemployment benefits, how to pay your bills and rent or mortgage payments, what we can expect from the government stimulus package, and more.
They start with the people who are hardest hit during this time, freelancers like wedding planners and photographers who are dealing with canceled events. They point out that several organizations, like museums and zoos, are finding ways to offer digital content and classes, and suggest the same for freelancers. “We might be right at the beginning of this online revolution...folks looking to online classes more,” Joel says. Places like grocery stores and Amazon are hiring extra workers at this time, so that could be a good stopgap measure for many who are out of work. Restaurant owners and staff are also completely out of luck during city lockdowns, and they suggest purchasing gift certificates to help keep them afloat.
The good news is that many states have halted foreclosures, and many utility companies have promised not to shut off their essential services for nonpayment, even forgoing late fees and interest. Joel and Matt point out that this does vary state by state, and most of the government-mandated relief won’t apply to private lenders or banks. So they suggest being proactive - go ahead and call them to ask for no interest and late fees during this time. “If you don’t ask, you won’t get,” Matt says. If you have student loans, they're also not be charging interest; the guys say that if you’re able to, you should continue paying on those loans because your money will be applied to the principal instead of the interest, helping you pay off the debt faster.
They also discuss tax filing, stocks and investments, and give props to a few companies who are doing cool things to help during this time, like Facebook, who just announced a $100 million grant program for small businesses. They also recommend a number of online banks like Simple and Ally to handle your financial transactions. Overall, there’s a lot to consider, they say. “We don’t know the far-reaching impact on our economy,” Joel says. “Worldwide collaboration of governments is essential to stop the spread...and government intervention to prop up the economy, so things don’t go completely haywire.” But as the situation keeps unfolding, they’ll be ready with new recommendations to help your family, and your finances, weather the storm. Get more great tips from Joel and Matt on this episode of How To Money.
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