During this time of uncertainty, with circumstances and information constantly changing, it may be difficult to know where to turn. A good place to start? Talk to an AFCPE® certified financial counselor or coach. An AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) or FFC® (Financial Fitness Coach) can answer questions around, and help you navigate:
1. Job loss and unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits are operated by the state. While the CARES Stimulus Act provided additional unemployment benefits on top of existing state benefits, it is up to the states to accept and administer these benefits. A financial counselor or coach in your state can help you navigate the unemployment application process and understand what benefits are available.
2. Monthly bills and expenses.
The pandemic may have shut down businesses, but it hasn’t stopped your monthly bills from being due. A financial counselor or coach can help you create a plan for your bills this month and work with you to improve your cash flow going forward.
3. Basic tax management.
Taxes are already confusing–unemployment, alternative income, and recent changes to tax law only add to the confusion. A financial counselor or coach can answer your questions and help you with basic tax planning. Talk to someone now and start preparing for next year today!
4. Credit issues and education.
Most people use credit without understanding how it works. A financial counselor or coach can teach you the basics of credit, including how credit scores are calculated, how to build credit, and how to repair damaged credit.
5. Financial fraud.
Times of high financial stress can make it easy to fall for false financial promises. A financial counselor or coach can help you evaluate whether an offer is legit, or too good to be true.
6. Debt management.
Debt can feel overwhelming. A financial counselor or coach can help you build a plan to pay off your debt and work with you to create strategies to avoid debt in the future.
7. Making the most of your government stimulus check.
A financial counselor or coach can help you maximize the impact of your stimulus check with planning and personal financial goals.
8. A personal budget.
Every budget is different and if you’ve never created a budget before, it can be hard to figure out where to start. A financial counselor or coach can help you design a budget that meets your needs.
9. Strategies to build savings.
Financial stability and success is impossible without savings. A financial counselor or coach will help you identify your savings goals and learn strategies to make savings into a life-long habit.
10. Overcoming ineffective money management behaviors.
Have you ever run out of money before you ran out of bills to pay? If so, you are not alone! A financial counselor or coach can help you identify your financial weaknesses and turn them into financial strengths!
11. And, most importantly, setting yourself up for long-term success.
Whatever financial success looks like to you, a financial counselor or coach will meet you where you are and help you on your path to financial wellness and success!
You don’t need to be wealthy to speak with someone who is unbiased and qualified, and most importantly, you don’t have to navigate this alone.
Talk to a qualified financial counselor or coach – for free: https://www.yellowribbonnetwork.org/afcpecovid19
If you are looking for financial planning advice, a number of advisors in the XY Planning Network (XYPN) community are offering pro-bono financial planning services to those adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Remember: Not all credentials are created equal.
When selecting a financial counselor or coach, look for the AFC® or FFC® marks. These credentials ensure that professionals are equipped to help consumers beyond debt and credit issues and understand the deeper interconnected issues across your financial life.
When looking for a financial advisor, choose someone who is a fiduciary and look for marks such as the CFP® or ChFC®.
These certifications demonstrate that this professional has the education, experience, and is required to complete ongoing professional development to be able to meet you where you are and create a personalized plan to help you obtain lasting financial security.