(WAVY) — If you’ve lost your job or have taken a pay cut, this can be a scary and confusing time. That’s why Suzanne Johnson of Grace Financial Coaching wants to give advice, and hope, to those trying to figure out how to be financially fit right now.
Suzanne says what we should focus on is preparing ourselves to only look at, what she calls, the “four walls,” meaning our main budget categories. Those include shelter, food, utilities and transportation.
So, if you have experienced job loss, meaning no more income is coming into the house, Suzanne suggests you take whatever money is available and focus on those four things. She also suggests cutting down on other unnecessary expenses. For example, she says a lot of TV streaming services are experiencing increases in viewership right now, but if that’s not really something that’s going to fit into your budget, you need to cut that back.
You might also be wondering about paying off debt.
“At this point, if someone is in the middle of paying off debt, we actually want to encourage them to stop making any extra payments, which is contradictory to what we would normally tell someone, but right now we either want to pay the minimum or we want to call those creditors individually and contact them and let them know that we’re in this situation due to the coronavirus. I’ve seen some creditors actually cut interest rates in half. I had a client who was paying off an airline miles card, and she called and before she knew it, she hadn’t even really asked for favors, and the woman comes back on the phone and says, ‘Okay sweetie, we’re going to cut your interest rate in half,’ and actually they extended that interest rate for her across the life of the card,” Suzanne said.
She continued: “I know it can be scary, but these creditors are used to speaking to people every day, and someone being proactive and calling them and being polite and saying ‘Here’s my situation’ can go a very long way.”
Suzanne says her company gives an initial financial consultation for free. Click here for contact information.
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