WEDNESDAY April 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) – The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the financial stress that is already plaguing many Americans, according to an expert.
According to a recent First National Bank of Omaha survey, about half of Americans lived on paychecks before the pandemic, and now many have lost their jobs.
“The pervasive financial stress that the majority of Americans feel is now on steroids because most Americans had no savings before this crisis hit,” said Julie Kalkowski, executive director of the Financial Hope Collaborative at the Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
“It’s important to know that you are not alone in this situation as you go along,” she added.
Kalkowski runs a business school program that educates people about money psychology, expense tracking, emergency savings, and credit repair.
She offered these tips on how to reduce financial anxiety during and after the coronavirus pandemic:
- Do not panic. Don’t use credit cards or payday loans to pay off your debt. Their high interest rates can cause long-term financial damage. Instead, look for creative solutions like contacting landlords, utilities, and creditors to negotiate payment plans. And don’t ignore the bills. This can make a bad financial situation worse.
- Beware of crooks. The scams are on the increase at the moment. Review all offers carefully by making additional calls and / or researching more information from trusted sources online. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. To protect yourself against identity theft, avoid sharing personal information via text or email.
- Focus on what you can control. Make a spending plan. Evaluate how much money comes in each month, prioritize bills to pay, eliminate non-essential expenses, and track expenses by keeping receipts. Adjust spending accordingly each month, focusing on the mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, and items needed to shelter you in place.
- Save more, spend less. After the pandemic, increase your savings and reduce non-essential expenses. For example, consolidate wired plans and cook meals at home instead of dining out or ordering on the spot. Compare prices when shopping for the best deals possible, but shop only for the needs, not the wants.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.