The finances of many people have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these recent financial situations are:
- Large numbers of households lacked an emergency fund, and were not prepared for unexpected financial difficulties.
- People who encountered difficulties making their mortgage and rent payments were offered relief and protection options to avoid losing their place of residence.
- Monthly payments and interest on student loans were suspended until a later date.
- Consumers lost nearly $80 million as a result of coronavirus-related fraud. Some common scams were offers to receive stimulus checks sooner, fraudulent unemployment claims, threats of utility shutoffs, online shopping and price gouging for high-demand products such as sanitizer and paper goods.
- COVID-19 surcharges were added by some businesses and restaurants to cover increased cleaning, sanitation, and food costs. Some dentist offices added an “infectious disease” or a “personal protective equipment” charge.
- A coin shortage resulted from banks and coin-heavy businesses being closed, lower U.S. Mint production, and increased contactless payments. To adapt, stores gave store credit or a free drink or chips when coins were not available for correct change.
For our current and future times of crisis, these money management suggestions are offered:
- Learn about federal, state, and local government assistance programs.
- Reassess and review your budgeting priorities.
- Reduce and avoid debt; contact creditors to discuss revised payment plans.
- Start to rebuild your savings cushion.
- Use online tools for managing finances and to automate savings and payments.
- Increase your awareness of possible frauds and scams.
For additional information on managing money during COVID and future times of crisis, go to:
- Have students talk to others about the financial difficulties and actions taken in recent months.
- Have students create a video with suggested actions that a person might take when facing financial difficulties.
- What are reasons that people might not prepare for unexpected financial difficulties?
- Describe actions you might take to prepare for unexpected financial difficulties.