Long Financial COVID

Many people will also suffer long COVID financial impacts, even after the pandemic.
Many people will also suffer long COVID financial impacts, even after the pandemic.

We have all heard of the long-lasting effects of the coronavirus on many people. The so-called “long COVID” impacts linger long after the immediate fever and other physical symptoms have passed.

And with all due respect to those who are still suffering, it’s important to note that many people will also suffer long COVID financial impacts, even after the pandemic (hopefully) fades into the background. This is the moment to face up to that reality – and do what you can to make your financial future more resistant to those lingering strains.

I am well aware that if you’re taking the time to read a financial advice column, you’re likely in a stronger economic position. So, as you read, join me in this effort by sharing this column with others you may meet who are suffering silently these days. They could be elderly or young, single or married. But most will show no outward signs of the COVID impact.

Still, they need help.

Housing

The day of reckoning for renters and homeowners has been extended – but eventually it will come. For renters, the Centers for Disease Control’s current moratorium on evictions for most renters will end Oct. 3, 2021, or sooner if declared illegal by a court. The administration says it is working hard to push allocated dollars through the system to tenants and landlords.

But don’t just sit back and wait for the money to flow. Contact your landlord – whether an individual or a large company — and try to work out a deal to avoid eviction when the moratorium ends. Offering to pay a small percentage of your current monthly payment, plus a catch-up plan for past arrearages, will put you at the bottom of their evictions list. Then contact every local and state agency – and the local media – asking where those “rental help dollars” are sitting!

If you have a mortgage and have been in the forbearance program, now is the time to contact your servicer. If you entered forbearance early during the COVID-19 pandemic your total forbearance, including extensions up to 18 months, could be ending soon.

You need to both know your time status and your rights to make a plan with your servicer!

If you are currently IN forbearance, your mortgage servicer cannot require you to repay your skipped payments in a lump sum once the forbearance period ends. But reach out to your servicer about a plan to resume even partial current payments – and to add missed payments to the <<end>> of your loan, extending the total repayment period. Also, if you have a government-backed mortgage (FHA, VA, etc.), you will likely qualify for a 25% reduction in monthly payments.

If you have not signed up for forbearance with your servicer, you must DO IT NOW – before Sept. 30 – in order to qualify for these helpful provisions.

Jobs

The balance of power has turned in the labor market. You’ve seen the headlines about businesses in dire need of workers, and workers negotiating successfully for higher wages. But after Labor Day, extended Federal unemployment benefits will cease. (Many states have already stopped paying the extra $300.) And for many, the original benefits and extensions will run out, forcing them back into the labor market.

While COVID-19 has many people rethinking their purpose in life and their willingness to work, at some point down the road you’re going to need the retirement benefits you should be contributing now! So, if it’s just a matter of lifestyle choice to delay a return to work, don’t miss this immediate opportunity to get hired and get paid well for your services.

Student loans

Although the student loan forbearance period has been extended to Jan. 30, 2022, it is still unlikely that your outstanding balance will be completely forgiven. Use this time of forbearance to catch up on other payments, such as credit card debt. Save as much money as you can; earn as much as you can now.

This is the time to prevent long COVID financial problems. Take this opportunity to be proactive about your financial future. The opportunity may not come around again soon. And that’s The Savage Truth.