JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
Many Americans will receive economic stimulus monies as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which was just signed into law, but some will not. If you are one of those who will receive funds, here are some sound financial strategies to consider.
First, Kevin Keith, a personal financial readiness manager at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Military and Family Readiness Center, suggests developing a budget, in writing.
“As part of the budget, you should identify all sources of income currently being received, as well as listing all expenses, like housing, utilities, gas, etc.,” he said. “Then, label each expense as either a want or a need. Spend money on the things you need first.”
Continuing to save is also important, even in hard times.
“If possible, start or continue to fund your family’s savings, for emergencies and long term,” Keith said.
It is also important to make a list of all debts, including the due dates and interest rates, he said. This will make it easier to determine which bills to pay first once you do receive income or aid.
When stimulus funds are dispersed, Keith suggests depositing the funds into a savings account.
“Unless absolutely necessary, avoid using the money for 30 days to prevent frivolous spending,” he said. “Also, strategize before spending. For example, divide funds up into the number of weeks needed to supplement your current income.
“If struggling to make credit payments, you should contact your lender immediately. Many mortgage and credit card lenders are extending interest-free grace periods to assist borrowers to navigate through this period,” he said. “You must contact and stay in communication with each lender. Do not just assume your payment period is extended.”
Keith added that it is important for you to establish a plan for each debt, in writing, so you don’t lose track.
For families with members who have lost employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment benefits may be an option to obtain a replacement for a portion of the lost income.
Be sure to follow through on unemployment claims if applicable,” Keith said.
“Being intentional is the key,” Keith said. “The lack of a predetermined financial plan can lead to wasteful spending."
If you have further questions, contact your Military and Family Readiness Center where financial counselors are ready to assist:
- JBSA-Randolph: 210-652-5321 or email Randolphmfrc@us.af.mil
- JBSA-Lackland: 210-671-3722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- JBSA-Fort Sam Houston: 210-221-2705/2418 or email email@example.com