Really, it’s not your fault. There’s a torrent of Coronavirus myths out there, and many of them have to do with your personal finances. In this post, we’ll examine some of the biggest myths that impact your bottom line.
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Well, you probably knew this one was too good to be true. The tax filing and tax payment deadline has been extended until July 15th. If you need more time to file your taxes, you can file an extension request by that date. If you are experiencing hardship because of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, you can contact an IRS tax advocate who will help you request a tax payment suspension, an expedited refund, or an affordable payment solution without charge. Learn how to apply here.
Yes and no. In some states, like New York and California, governors have ordered all eviction processes to halt temporarily, along with penalties for mortgage non-payment. Once these orders are lifted, however, you will still be responsible for payments that occurred before the grace period.
Myth 3: You can’t get health insurance now.
You can still get health insurance now but be aware of any fine print limiting your ability to get treatment for Coronavirus or related ailments, especially if those treatments are considered experimental (a designation that often means treatment is not covered). If you currently have health insurance and want to update your coverage or a family member, make sure you review any Coronavirus impact clauses that may have been added to new policies in light of the uncertainty surrounding diagnosis and treatment.
Not so! While you may be stuck at home, there is a whole world of legitimate online work available. From skill-sharing as a virtual tutor to graphic design, there may be a viable work-from-home option for you. Learn more about working from home here.
Amazon, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens are all hiring to deal with demand from the pandemic along with many grocery stores and some restaurants. Here’s a list of companies that are looking for workers.
Myth 5: If you are working or were recently laid off, you can’t get emergency financial assistance from the government.
Every state varies, but most have different tiers of emergency financial assistance available to many middle-income families. Because of Coronavirus, many working families are experiencing financial challenges and states have options, from emergency food banks that will put food on the table immediately to short-term loans, called “one-shot deals” that allow you to pay your rent to prevent eviction. Contact your local Human Resources Administration for more information.
Myth 6: You will have to hire a tutor for your kids if you want to keep working from home (and not go crazy).
There are lots of online resources for homeschoolers (this means you) available for free. Your local library also has a wealth of digital resources online, from videos to educational games. If you have the budget, there are a range of low-cost, video-based enrichment courses, such as those offered by study.com, engaging enough to keep your kids busy after school hours.
Never say never, especially when it comes to bargain-hunting. While you shop online there are always ways to save, even in a national crisis. Websites like Brad’s Deals and browser add-ons like Honey help you save as you shop online. If you are shopping at Amazon, look for deals-of-the-day on essential items.
Myth 8: You might as well give up on buying a house or a car for a few years or so.
As our nation’s path forward becomes clearer, don’t lose sight of your long-term goals. While we don’t recommend jumping at the first real estate steal that you find, it is good to keep an eye on the market and be ready to move when your financial horizon clears. As motivated sellers drop their prices, savvy buyers who maintain their big-ticket item fund through the turbulence will be in a good position to buy after the markets’ volatility calms.
Myth 9: There is no way you can start graduate school or a coding bootcamp now.
Despite America’s economic uncertainty, highly skilled labor will always be in-demand. If you have your heart set on graduate school or entering a hot STEM field, investigate your online options. Many universities offer distance learning, and there are numerous free and low-cost programs available for adults interested in picking up a coding language or two. While in-person coding bootcamps might not be accessible to you, there is a wealth of online certification programs that allow you to study at your own pace. Check out our list of introductory online courses here.
Myth 10: We’re going to run out of everything in major cities and there’s nothing you can do.
Many cities are sounding the alarm that medical supplies are already running low. You’ve probably been to a grocery store and been shocked at the number of empty shelves. What can you do? Instead of hoarding, stock up on essentials intelligently. Canned goods and pantry basics are more important than that hundred-roll pack of paper towels you’ve been eyeing. Start a home garden if you have the space. For most of us, a vast emergency response infrastructure will be there to halt any serious shortages before things begin to look like The Hunger Games. Stress and anxiety can cause you to “stress shop” and that can be just as dangerous for your bottom line as unemployment.
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