Paying bills during the Coronavirus


Coronavirus is getting us all – in the bank account. My anecdotal reading of the situation is that people are much more worried about their ability to pay the bills than they are about actually catching the virus. So what should you do if your income has taken a sudden hit or has been cut off entirely?
If you’ve worked with me one-on-one or done the Financially Fit Foundation workshops, you already have a contingency budget for just this type of situation. Now’s the time to whip it out and follow that plan.
Even if you don’t have that, try as best you can to not freak out. There’s likely no need.
It is unlikely that you’ll get evicted or have your utilities shut off for failure to pay right now.
Some of your bills will be automatically frozen. I’ve seen gyms send emails that they’re freezing memberships and not charging for the time being.
Right now is a good time to look through your bank and credit card statements to cancel subscriptions and services that you don’t need.
Call your credit card company (or companies, if you have more than one). I’ve received an email from mine that they are working with people if they can’t pay. I have no idea how generous they’re being or what’s required for them to cut you a break. But you’ll have no idea if you don’t ask. I urge you to pick up the phone and find out today. Be prepared for a long wait on hold. I recommend doing it now, rather than waiting for the day your credit card payment is due.
Try calling your car insurance to see if they’ll work with you. I haven’t heard anything from mine, but it’s worth a shot. Same goes with your car payment, if you have one. If you have to choose between your car payment and your credit card bill, the vehicle takes precedence because it has a bigger impact on your life and credit.
But it might not come to that. Today we heard the U.S. Treasury Secretary say that the federal government is figuring out how much money to send us, like within two weeks.  Even a Republican congressman is pushing for giving everyone $1,000. I never thought I’d see the day! It’s unclear if it’ll be a one-time thing or monthly. While skepticism of this administration’s word is quite appropriate, I don’t think that they really have any choice but to follow through with this. Stay tuned.
More good news. The California Franchise Tax Board, who collects the state’s taxes, has provided a three-month extension to file 2019 returns. The IRS is also providing a 90-day deferment. Check to see if you qualify; most of us will.

What we can all take comfort in, is that we’re in this together. There has been no other moment in our lifetime that we’ve all – as in everyone on the planet – faced the same challenge at the exact same time, and there’s something beautiful about that. For now, our ‘every-man-for-himself / every-woman-for-herself’ economic system is on a break, and could possibly be forever changed by this situation. It’s a time to catch our breath and re-connect to each other (emotionally and spiritually, not physically, of course 🙂
In solidarity,

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