Coping with a Changing Financial Picture – FEMA
- July 13, 2020
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Excerpt from FEMA’s publication showcases the challenges of coping with a changing financial picture in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) looked to GreenPath to provide insight for their monthly individual and community preparedness publication.
The message put the focus on how to navigate a changing financial picture in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The pandemic continues to affect many people across the country. Trusted organizations like GreenPath have stepped up to provide help where it’s needed. Providing guidance on how to manage bills and dealing with changes in income have become challenging for many, as people find themselves in different situations as a result of the pandemic.
GreenPath provided an example, culled from many calls and counseling sessions related to concerns about managing through a crisis. A grandmother suddenly found herself unable to rely on her income to pay her mortgage. Her lender had her contact GreenPath, a national nonprofit group that provides financial counseling and education through offices in more than 50 locations across the country. Over the course of the pandemic, GreenPath has served many people by providing financial advice for income loss.
“We helped her to understand the implications of the relief options and look at her total financial picture to better manage her credit payments and other obligations. This guidance reduced her uncertainty and gave her a path forward to obtain the best mortgage relief options,” said Jeremy Lark, senior manager of client services at GreenPath.
As the country continues to cope with an ongoing crisis, community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments are stepping in to offer free financial advice. Lark said that GreenPath has seen a 50 percent increase in calls related to housing in particular.
Other financial resource organizations report seeing an uptick in requests for help for a variety of concerns, particularly furloughs and unemployment.
Coping with a Changing Financial Picture, with Help from Clarifi, a GreenPath Affiliate
A client at Clarifi, a nonprofit financial planning and literacy group serving people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, ran into roadblocks while trying to file for unemployment. Clarifi is a GreenPath affiliate.
The caller misunderstood a question about her earnings and instead of highlighting the error, the system then asked for information for a second job, which she didn’t have. Even Clarifi had a hard time unraveling the problem and got nothing but busy signals when trying to call the unemployment office.
“This one misunderstanding could well be the one thing that keeps a single mom with a business crippled by the crisis from the necessary income to survive. But how many more [sic] other people didn’t have a person to call? We need to look out for each other where we can. One gentle nudge at the right place and the right time can turn a crisis into a success,” said Maureen Keown, Clarifi’s vice president for marketing and community engagement.
What’s the most important advice these groups give their clients?
“In a time of crisis, the fundamentals hold true when it comes to protecting one’s financial health and wellness,” said Lark. “Don’t delay in contacting lenders to understand your options. If faced with a sudden income change stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, we encourage people to reach out to their lenders as soon as possible. From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many lenders have been helping customers who may need extra time to pay their bills.”
Those coping with a changing financial picture have other challenges.
In a time of crisis, it is important to make sure you are getting information from trusted sources for your finances. City and local governments and nonprofits are the places to start. Many people have reported getting a fraudulent call from someone saying they are from the IRS and can help obtain relief programs. Be sure to double-check with federal and state resources before agreeing to any offers.
GreenPath Financial Counseling
If looking to cope with a changing financial picture, consider connecting with a trusted resource like GreenPath so you can make strong decisions about your future.
We all make the best decisions we can with the information we have available to us. Especially in a time of uncertainty, GreenPath offers free financial counseling to get useful information into your hands.
Our counselors are trained in compassion and empathy. We will help you understand your full financial picture and the specific steps you can take to reduce stress in this time.