Whether or not you are financially secure during this time, we are all feeling stressed and anxious as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. Those still employed worry about exposure to the virus, while those now working from home are dealing with the difficulties of a remote office. Still, if your income has not been negatively affected by the current pandemic, there are some things you can do to turn the current situation to your advantage.
If you are feeling financially secure during this time
If you are fortunate enough to keep your job and are not facing a financial crisis at this time, the current situation affords you the unique opportunity to make some moves that will put you in an even better position when the economy begins to bounce back. This article will provide information on just a few of the ways you can benefit from the new rules Congress has put into place to combat financial distress during this difficult time.
Pay down your student loans
With the 0% interest rate of current student loans, now may be a good time to put a huge chunk of money toward your student loans. If your income has been affected, rather than halting payments altogether, it may be a good time to get on an income-based repayment plan. This way, your payment will be limited to a fraction of your income, while any payment made will go toward repaying principal.
If you feel financially secure and have any cash to invest for the long run, now may also be a good time to do that. With the market so low, now is a good time to buy in.
With the value of your IRAs down, now is also a good time to convert your IRA money into a Roth IRA. If you would like to explore this possibility, please let us know and we can help you.
If you feel financially secure at this time, a great way to put those extra dollars to use is to give to charity. It is a good year to bunch several years’ worth of contributions to receive the deduction. There are several organizations that are accepting and deploying charitable funds in an efficient manner during this health crisis. Many of them even offer matching contributions. These include the following:
1. Donate to the JFS Emergency Fund: Your gift will be matched up to $25,000.
2. The Jewish Community Foundation also has several funds you can contribute to, including the Public Health Response COVID-19 Fund and the Vulnerable Local Populations COVID-19 Fund. Click here to learn more about these funds.
3. Interfaith Community Services: They have created an Emergency Fund to lift up our neighbors in need and address the unique health challenges the coronavirus creates for the poorest of our community. An Interfaith supporter has pledged $50,000 to match all contributions toward this fund. Please consider donating to help your most vulnerable neighbors. Click here to donate today.
4. MusicCares: https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/musicares-coronavirus-relief-fund
5. COVID fund: https://www.sdfoundation.org/programs/programs-and-funds/san-diego-covid-19-community-response-fund/
6. San Diego Food Bank: https://sandiegofoodbank.org
If you have the resources during this time, you may want to consider donating to your local charities. Most local charities have cancelled their fundraisers for this year, but they are still in need of these funds. Please continue to support your favorite local charities, even if their fundraisers have been cancelled. Not only does this help causes that you care about, but it can also be a future tax benefit for you as well, allowing you to count this as a part of your charitable deductions for 2020.
Another category of businesses that is suffering greatly is the small local businesses. If you are not struggling with a financial crisis right now, a good way to help your community may be to support the really small local businesses. Think about the mom and pop shop you stop by for lunch sometimes and maybe get takeout from there instead of a large chain restaurant. Consider buying groceries from your neighborhood grocery store if it’s still open. These kinds of decisions will benefit us all in the long run.
Even if you are feeling financially secure, there’s no doubt that this is a difficult time for all of us.
That said, there are still opportunities to take advantage of during these trying times. The suggestions offered in this post are just a few of the ways you can help both yourself and your community in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.