General Financial Guidelines in an Emergency

  • At The Financial Gym, we know the value of an emergency fund, or what we would define as 3-6 months of expenses.

    • If you have extra income during this time, dedicate these funds to your emergency fund

    • Redirect travel or other short term savings to your emergency fund temporarily

    • If you are working on repaying debt that is 0% or low interest, consider holding off on additional payments and focus that money on building savings

  • Be extra mindful of your spending-focus on spending on needs (groceries, rent, utilities) rather than wants

  • When you are shopping for needs, look out for price gouging and scams. Report either to your local authorities

  • If you are 10+ years away from retirement:

    • Hold off on making any adjustments to retirement accounts

    • Hold off on doing retirement account rollovers for now

  • If you are currently retired, or are within 10 years of retirement and worried, discuss with your trainer or other financial advisor before making any moves

  • If you are unable to continue to make payments on loans, cards or other debt, contact your lenders to see if they can help reduce or hold payments for now

  • Try your best to make financial decisions with a rational, calm mindset rather than from a place of fear, panic or scarcity

  • If you aren’t a Financial Gym client yet and want a trainer to work with, sign up for a Warm Up Call

Unemployment Financial Relief Services

  • Here are some resources regarding filing for unemployment/financial support by state.

  • Government assistance programs might be available to you depending on your individual situation. Here’s a list of programs that you might be eligible to apply for.

 Debt/ Bank Relief

  • Some creditors and banks are already offering reduced interest increased credit lines, waived fees and even waived payments in the short term

    • Contact your creditors if you are worried about your ability to pay due to the CoronaVirus

  • For an updated list of banks offering hardship support

  • Do Not Pay: A tool that can help you navigate cancelations, refunds, and fees for you or even stay on hold with customer service.

 Student Loans

  • New information is being release often about student loans in light of COVID-19 , visit this link for the most up to date information from the U.S. Department of Education

  • As of March 27, the CARES Act put the following law:

    • Federal student loan payments on eligible student loans are suspended until October 2020, with 0% interest on all eligible federal loans

      • Not all student loans qualify for this relief, the eligible student loans include:

        • Defaulted and nondefaulted Direct Loans

        • Defaulted and nondefaulted FFEL Program loans

        • Federal Perkins Loans

    • If you have an FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan) Program loan owned by  a commercial lender, or a Perkins Loan owned by the institution you attended, your regular payment will be due

    • For loans that are eligible for under the CARES Act, payments will automatically stop, even if you are on autopay. If you have questions, you should contact your loan servicer (i.e. FedLoan, NelNet, Navient, Great Lakes etc.).

    • Suspended monthly payments will be counted towards Public Student Loan Forgiveness or Income Based Repayment loan forgiveness programs.

  • CARES Act relief does not apply to private student loans – if you need private student loan relief reach out directly to your lender and speak with your Trainer about options.

  • Our friends at Commonbond created a simple, interactive guide to help you understand the impact of the recent federal student loan relief programs and how to take advantage. Check it out here!

NYC Specific Resources & Information

  • We know many of our clients and Financial Gym Family are in New York so we put together some NY State specific resources. If you don’t live in New York, reach out to your Financial Trainer who can help you find the best resources for your state.

  • The Governor announced the Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. The directive includes:

    • Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;

    • No negative reporting to credit bureaus;

    • Grace period for loan modification;

    • No late payment fees or online payment fees; and

    • Postponing or suspending foreclosures.

    • Additionally, the Governor has asked DFS to instruct state chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credit cards to help lessen the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic for New Yorkers.

    • Learn more about mortgage relief here.

  • Hebrew Free Loan Society $2,000-$5,000 no interest loans to those in NYC or surrounding areas affected by Coronavirus.

  • If your power is provided by ConEdison, learn more about the COVID-19 response they released here, includes:

    • Waiving new late payment fees

    • Suspending no-access fees if they can’t read your meter

    • Suspending fees for refusing smart meter installations

    • Will not shut off service for non payment

    • Allowing payment by credit and debit card with no fees

    • Most customers can arrange for payment extensions and agreements online

  • Familiarize yourself with New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act to know whether you are eligible for paid sick leave if you or a family member is sick.

  • NYC Small Businesses can take advantage of resources from the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS).

  • NYC is offering 0% loans to small businesses and grants to keep employers running payroll. Click here to learn more about CoronaVirus Related Small Business loans through NYC

Restaurant Workers, Artists, Musicians, Freelancers & Gig Workers

  • In some states both restaurant workers and gig workers are now eligible for unemployment benefits

    • In most states, if your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to Co-VID 19, you can file for unemployment and learn more about unemployment in your state here.

  • Restaurant Worker Resources:

    • The USBG National Charity Foundation has created a bartender emergency assistance program to help service industry personnel who may be experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak.

      • Eligible applicants can receive a grant to help with bills and other costs due to sudden loss or decrease of income.

      • In order to qualify, an applicant must be a bartender or the spouse or child of a bartender.

    • Restaurant Opportunities Center launched an emergency fund to support tipped workers and service workers affected by the coronavirus and the economic downturn. The organization is raising funds to provide free emergency cash assistance to restaurant workers, delivery drivers, and other tipped and service workers impacted by the crisis.

  • Gig workers Resources:

 Giving Back

  • If you have your metaphorical financial face mask all set right now (fully funded emergency fund for 3-6 months, no or low interest debt, reliable income), then you may be in a position to financially give back!

    • Give goods and donate money to local food banks

    • Check out your favorite local charities and find causes and initiatives that you support in your city

    • We know our local restaurants are among one of the industries particularly hard hit during this crisis, consider donating to Restaurant Worker’s COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund

    • Lots of cities have virtual tip jars, like The D.C. Virtual Tip Jar, which is a running list of service workers in the city and their Venmo accounts where generous people can donate extra cash.

  • If you don’t have the financial means to support these relief efforts, consider donating your time

    • Offer to help out at risk neighbors

      • Sign up for neighborhood email listservs, facebook groups and local message boards so that you’ll be able to share your surpluses, pool your expertise, and call on your neighbors for help when you need it, too: https://nextdoor.com/login/

      • If you live in a neighborhood with a community board or message area in your building, consider leaving your contact information there if you war comfortable

  • Consider your budget right now, if you have some flexibility as a result of sheltering in place, consider buying gift cards for local businesses you visit regularly (your local bar, restaurant, salon, etc).

  • If you want to learn more about how to help your community right now, check out this article for more ideas