Here’s How to Stay Financially Stable Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Tracy L. Hirsch

March 22, 2020

Read these vital tips on how to survive the economic downturn surrounding COVID-19 in Kentucky.

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this current pandemic, and we want you to know that we’re here for you. We know how stressful it is to have your hours cut at work, or even worse, to have no hours at all.

While it’s hard not to panic, we want you to take a deep breath and know that we’re available to answer your questions. In the meantime, we want to offer you practical advice on how to manage your finances and how to not get behind on your bills.

While everyone has a different situation, these tips may help you set a plan in place while your income is temporarily affected.

Before we get started, please make sure to prioritize your (and your family’s) health and safety. Your well-being is our number one concern. Be sure to continue to thoroughly wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and practice social distancing.

Remember that we’re all in this together, and we will get through it!

Here are some practical tips on how to maintain your financial stability during the COVID-19 situation:

  • Prioritize your needs. Before you start paying any of your bills, make sure that you and your family have the essentials – food, toiletries, and living expenses (such as water and electricity) should be at the top of the list.
  • If you’ve lost your job due to COVID-19, apply for unemployment. Kentucky residents can apply for unemployment benefits here. Indiana residents can apply for unemployment benefits here
  • Ask your utility company for a payment extension. LG&E has pledged to not disconnect anyone’s electricity through May 1, 2020, and will also waive any late fees. You can read more about that here.  
  • If you have a utility company other than LG&E, be sure to call them to inquire about an extension.

Don’t bury your head in the sand. Start preparing for your financial setbacks now.

  • Contact your landlord or mortgage company. If your hours have been cut or you’ve been furloughed due to COVID-19, you may be able to get an extension on paying your rent or mortgage.

If you’re renting, contact your landlord to inquire about paying this month’s rent at a later date. If you’re a home owner, contact your mortgage company to inquire about paying your mortgage at a later date. See below for more details.

  • If you’re a home owner, contact the loss mitigation department. Go to your mortgage company’s website to see what your options are. They may have new information on their website regarding delayed payment options, reduced payment plans, and/or forbearance agreements.
  • If you owe federal taxes this year, you don’t need to file an extension. As of March 21, 2020, the IRS announced that federal income tax returns and correlating tax payments for 2019 (and estimated quarterly tax payments for 2020 for those who are self-employed) are not due until July 15, 2020.
  • Click here for more information.
  • If you owe Kentucky state taxes this year, you do need to file an extension. If you are a Kentucky resident and owe taxes for 2019 (if you work for a company) or owe taxes for the first quarter of 2020 (if you’re self-employed), and are unable to pay them, you can apply for an extension on your tax returns.
  • The 2019-2020 extension form is located here. **Please note that this may change. Be sure to regularly check the KY Department of Revenue’s website here.**
  • If you owe Indiana state taxes this year, you might not need to file an extension. If you are an Indiana resident and owe taxes for 2019 (if you work for a company) or owe taxes for the first quarter of 2020 (if you’re self-employed), you may not need to file for an extension on your tax returns.

As of March 19, 2020, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is extending the state tax return filing and payment due date (for certain Indiana tax returns) so that it aligns with the IRS extension (July 15, 2020).

Click here to see which type of Indiana tax returns are part of the new July 2020 extension deadline.

  • Defer your student loans. If you have educational loans, contact your loan company to ask about deferring your loans or signing a forbearance agreement.
  • If you owe court fees, city fines, speeding tickets, or tolls, ask for an extension. Call the phone number or visit the website on your bill to inquire about a payment plan or payment extension.
  • If you have credit card payments or medical bills, ask for an extension on those too. Contact your credit card company and/or or doctor’s office to set up a payment plan and/or to ask for an extension on your invoice due date.
  • Try to save as much money as you can. If you have an emergency fund or savings account, use that money to pay for your essentials and the bills you can afford. In the meantime, cancel all subscription plans, apps, delivery services, and other non-essential items.

Only pay for your necessities. If that means cancelling Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and the like, do it. You’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save by cutting out those “small” extras!

I know that this is a stressful time. If you have any additional tips or information that could help, please let us know. Most importantly, please stay safe and be well!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch

[Please note that this article is purely for informational purposes, and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have financial questions regarding debt or need legal protection from your creditors, you should meet with a licensed bankruptcy attorney. Please remember that I’m here to help!]
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