There’s just so much to worry about during the Coronavirus outbreak. Shortages at the grocery store, sick relatives, making sure the kids don’t fall behind in school; it’s like a laundry list of things that could go wrong. On top of all that, we’re all wondering if we have the finances to weather the storm.
We’re right there with you, and Chickasaw Community Bank is ready to help you find the resources that you need to keep your financial head above water until the world comes back to normal. We’ve collected some information regarding programs and tips that will hopefully give you the ability to take one or two of these worries off of your plate. Take a look, and if you see anything we can add or if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!
Economic stimulus payments
The financial assistance program that’s most familiar is the Coronavirus Impact Payments, which are payments sent directly to Americans from the U.S Treasury. As of mid-April, about 175 million Americans had received their economic stimulus payments, with most of those being individuals who already had direct-deposit information on file with the IRS from their previous tax filings.
The majority of remaining Americans who haven’t received their payments are waiting for them to arrive in the mail. In certain cases, the delay may be caused by a lack of accurate contact or payment information being held by the U.S. Treasury. If you haven’t received your payment yet, an official government portal was established to help you track the status of your check, which you can find here.
Check out the possibility of deferred loan payments
While every lender is different, the experts all agree on one thing: Communication is key. When we’re talking about lenders for your home, car, or even credit cards, it’s important that you contact them as soon as possible. Let them know about your situation, and see what plans or programs they may have in place. They can’t help you if don’t communicate with them, so picking up the phone isn’t just a good idea, it’s an essential first step.
Most major credit card companies have already addressed the COVID-19 pandemic, and Credit Karma put together a website collecting the links to all the Coronavirus-related statements from major lenders, so see if one of your debt servicers is listed here.
Tax Filing Extension
Among the many annual rhythms disrupted by the Coronavirus outbreak is the annual filing of tax returns. Thankfully, the government responded quickly and extended the filing deadline for federal 2019 returns to July 15th, 2020. It’s important to note that this new deadline only applies to federal tax returns - each state operates independently when it comes to the deadlines for state tax returns. Most states have responded accordingly to the pandemic, but you should definitely check in with your state’s tax agency to see their specific guidelines for filing.
Now is a good time to try a bit of cash flow management
The pandemic has forced us all to consider some belt-tightening measures in our lives, and while it wasn’t a situation we asked for, it could be a surprise opportunity to streamline our financial rhythms. Now is a good time to talk to your bank or mortgage lender and see if you can take advantage of low interest rates to refinance your home or pay off high-interest debt like credit cards or older auto loans.
A little time spent with your local banker could yield significant reductions in your monthly expenses.
Watch out for scammers
While this pandemic has reconnected families and communities and reminded many of us about the importance of looking out for one another, not everyone has received the memo about showing goodwill to their fellow man. The confusion surrounding disasters has always been a favorite playground for scam artists and conmen, and they’re out in force during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are simply too many scams to list here, so we’ve decided to leave this up to the experts. We highly recommend that you check out what the FBI has to say about COVID-related fraud, or this good collection of tips from the FCC. Even if you think you’re a savvy, scam-proof consumer, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on what these ne’er-do-wells are up to. There are so many different scams going on right now, it’s not difficult to get caught up in something that would otherwise be easily avoided.
“Building Better Lives for Everyone” is the mission statement that drives us every day, so if there’s anything that Chickasaw Community Bank can do for you during these trying times, we hope that you’ll get in touch. Stay safe, and we look forward to serving you as we all do our best to get back to normal.