Dear Money Mentor is designed to answer common consumer banking questions and offer guidance to improve financial wellbeing. Read on for tips and expert advice from Nancy Smock, branch manager, and Anthony Marengo, branch assistant manager.
In one way or another, everyone has been affected by COVID-19. In these uncertain times, many people are finding themselves in difficult and unexpected situations, including sudden unemployment. Focus on what you can control, remain positive, and remember that you have the same set of skills and work ethic as you did when you were employed. Use these seven financial tips to help guide you through this time.
If you don’t have a budget in place already, take this time to examine your monthly bills.
When first hired, you likely received a stack of documents. Some probably outlined available resources in the event that you left the company, whether voluntarily or layoff. Refresh your memory by reviewing information on:
In some states, it’s required by law that companies pay laid-off employees’ wages through the termination date and for accrued, unused vacation time. But depending on the company and length of employment, you may be offered more in the form of severance pay. Some tips:
If you aren’t receiving severance pay or the money has run out, plucking from a savings account or emergency fund is completely acceptable. That’s the reason you have a savings account in the first place. Ideally, you should have six months’ worth of living expenses saved up. But don’t stress if that’s not realistic for you at this time. Once you are employed again, creating an emergency fund is a great financial goal to work toward.
Research and apply for COVID-19 unemployment benefits. These can vary between states, so use this benefits finder to determine your options as you move forward.
Asking for money from anyone, let alone a friend or family member, is difficult. However, if someone you’re close to can offer assistance, don’t be afraid to admit you need help.
If that isn’t an option, talk to your bank about securing a line of credit. It’s a set amount of money the bank makes available for you to borrow for a specified length of time that can last several years. Some benefits to having a line of credit:
Don’t hesitate to alert creditors of your unemployment situation.
The key is to talk to creditors early, before you miss a payment. If you’ve been on-time with your previous payments, they will be more likely to grant you some leniency.
Learn more about how U.S. Bank is helping customers during COVID-19.