Building & Maintaining Financial Strength During the Coronavirus Pandemic | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Building & Maintaining Financial Strength During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we navigate the myriad life changes brought by the coronavirus crisis, it’s tempting to put all our focus into day-to-day struggles: staying healthy, getting to work at home or elsewhere, making sure the kids keep learning.

But it’s crucial to also look beyond the everyday challenges and toward the future, both near- and long-term. With jobs and the economy still precarious—and likely to remain so for months or years to come—it’s especially important to put effort into building, fortifying and maintaining financial security.

Here are some key money topics to consider right now:

Your Tax Refund and Stimulus Check:

Most people will get a tax refund and/or a stimulus check from the IRS. In addition to covering additional day-to-day expenses that may occur as a result of the pandemic, here are two key questions to consider:

1) Do you have enough spare cash to cover emergencies? Ideally, you want enough to cover three months’ worth of living expenses. If that seems out of reach, know that any amount of savings will help in a bind.

2) Do you have credit card or other debt? Work on paying down that debt to save money on interest, but also to free up credit that you could use if needed in the future. If you need ready savings, but also have debt, consider splitting your available funds between a savings account and paying back debt.

Need a checking and/or savings account? Learn more and review your best options at MyMoneyDFW.

Managing Your Credit/Credit Score:

To guard your credit and that all-important credit score, make sure you’re:

  • prioritizing credit card and loan payments
  • working with your creditors if need be (call them immediately; don’t wait till you’re months behind)
  • looking at options for mortgages, student loans and other debt

You can find advice on all these topics, and more with regard to managing and protecting your credit/credit score during the coronavirus crisis, at Working Credit and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Need help with managing your debt?

Managing Your Taxes:

The federal tax deadline for filing and payments has been extended to July 15, 2020. Many in-person tax assistance sites have re-opened, and you can still file your taxes for free/almost free using these options:

If you’re comfortable using computers and confident preparing your own taxes, consider using free online tax software. IRS Free File is one option available if your income is $69,000 or less. If you choose to use one of the programs that are part of this coalition, carefully read the fine print (each program has slightly different software criteria).

MyFreeTaxes, a partnership between United Way and H&R Block, is another online tool that helps you file your taxes for free. Unlike Free File, MyFreeTaxes does not have an income limit. However, if you need to file Schedule C for business income, then you will not be able to use the free software.

General Money Management:

Plano-based Friends of Consumer Freedom works to support financial education and increase consumer financial literacy. The group helps people access solid financial information, financial management tools and affordable financial services, as well as helping consumers gain access to partner credit unions’ products and services.

For more income-related information, check out our Coronavirus Income Resources and Economic Impact Payments: What you Need to Know.

This article was published on: May 7, 2020