Information brought to you by our partner, Greenpath Financial Wellness
There’s a lot to get used to in these challenging times. As the pandemic crisis continues, and many are dealing with financial uncertainty—from an income reduction to total job loss— it can be hard to know how to move forward.
Having a defined set of options and a clear understanding of your finances not only helps to better prepare you for the future, but can also make you feel more confident and less stressed about factors outside of your control.
To help you navigate these difficult times, we’ve partnered with trusted non-profit GreenPath Financial Wellness to provide you with some guidelines for managing your finances in times of uncertainty:
1. Prioritize your bills
Changes to our financial lives can often result in stress and mental fatigue, making decisions even more challenging. We have a natural tendency to avoid choices that feel like we are giving something up. Instead, we may try our best to take each day as it comes without a plan.
Getting the most important bills paid first is the most important thing in a time of crisis.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who have enrolled in a forbearance program (programs placing a temporary pause on payments toward credit cards, mortgages and other loans), it’s important to think about how (and when) you will pay these bills as these programs come to an end.
2. Start a Budget
Many people find that the journey to financial wellness is smoother when they take the time to create a budget. It might sound complicated, but there is a way to break down the process.
The number one key to setting your budget? Creating a spending plan. A spending plan can help you to:
- Figure out how much money you have
- Understand how much money you need to set aside each month for bills and expenses
- Setup a plan to meet your financial goals
3. If you’re having trouble paying off credit card debt, consider a Debt Management Plan
Credit cards are important tools for the majority of people, especially in times of financial challenge—but it can be all too easy to spend over your means, and if you have high interest rates on your credit cards, debt can add up quickly.
If you want to get out of debt and get your finances on track, you may find debt relief through GreenPath’s Debt Management Plan (DMP). A DMP is designed to pay off the entire amount that you owe, usually within three to five years. It can help you pay off credit card debt faster and save money on interest charges.
4. Build up an emergency fund (no matter now small)
Never in a million years would you have made a specific financial plan expecting a new virus to disrupt the global economy or your paycheck. Unfortunately, our savings accounts do feel the ripple effect of larger-than-life forces and events across the globe. Preparing yourself for a financial setback, such as an unexpected loss of income, can set you up to handle it with less stress and bounce back more quickly. It is especially helpful to think about these plans at a time when things feel “normal,” so that we get the full advantage of perspective on a potentially frightening and stressful event.
5. Connect with the Financial Counselors at GreenPath
If your finances have been affected by COVID-19, our partners at GreenPath offer free consultations and guidance to help people manage debt, save money, and meet their financial goals.
As a SafeAmerica member, you have access to GreenPath Financial Wellness that offers:
- Free Financial Counseling
- Debt Management Programs
- Housing Services
- Credit Report Review
- Student Loan Counseling
We invite you to explore your options and begin your journey towards a financially healthy life with the help of GreenPath Financial Wellness—just one of the many benefits of being a member of SafeAmerica Credit Union.