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Coronavirus Financial-Related Tips From The Pros


I thought I would take a slightly different approach with this week’s article.  I’m bringing in some outside experts with their best tips during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Don’t worry, I won’t be sharing advice on cutting hair at home (although my wife offered to cut mine last night). Instead, I am focusing on financial-related topics.  Between all the changes with the stimulus package, taxes, and even insurance, I wanted to get some advice from specialists in those fields.  Enjoy!

 

  • David Hall, VP and Bank Advisory Officer at Preferred Legacy Trust Company
    • Recommends using some of your down time to review recurring charges and subscriptions. It may be worthwhile to cancel or suspend those you just aren’t using, especially if they have not already proactively cancelled them.
    • Also, if you receive a stimulus check and your income is stable, considering using it to pay off credit cards (Isn’t it amazing how all rates have gone to 0% except credit cards?) or beef up your rainy day savings fund.
  • Trey Bennett, Partner and Estate Planning Attorney at Stark and Knoll
    • Review your Powers of Attorney. If there is a sudden onset of Coronavirus, you need to make sure the right people can make financial and health decisions for you. If your Powers of Attorney are old or nonexistent, it could cause a lot of problems in case of emergency. Most people are going to recover from the virus, however, are you prepared for a temporary hospitalization?
  • Keith Gillin, Pfister Insurance Agency
    • Talk to your Personal Auto Insurance Carrier as most are offering premium refunds for April and May. Many carriers are doing a 15-20% credit for auto premiums for these two months. You may get a direct refund check in the mail, one through your electronic funds transfer or a reduced premium payment going forward. Some may even be doing a credit per vehicle.
  • Brandon Dauer, Commercial Relationships Manager at Home Savings Bank
    • Applications for the Payment Protection Plan (PPP) started two Fridays ago and self-employed or independent contractors were able to start their applications this past Friday. Guidance has been changing constantly on this front as the Treasury, SBA and banks are figuring this out. For those having problems with their bigger banks, this may be related to the fact big banks have to manually enter information into the SBA’s system, just like smaller banks do. Those bigger banks have higher volume and don’t have the staff dedicated to it. Hopefully with the Fed just announcing more PPP funds being released it will ease the anxiety of running out of funds for the PPP.   
  • Amy Ciccotelli, Experienced Tax Manager at BDO
    • A couple of solid tips here on the tax end. First, if you are using the dependent care, pre-tax accounts provided through your employer know these are use-or-lose-it accounts. Reevaluate your dependent care accounts and get in touch with your benefits people to adjust your withholdings so you aren’t withholding more than you can be reimbursed for.
    • Next tip, your employer more than likely is continuing to withhold municipal income taxes from your work location.  If you are working from home and your resident municipality is either less than or has no income tax, track the days worked from home.  You can then file a tax return with your work municipality and claim a refund for the different between the work and residence tax rates for the days worked from home.

 

Hopefully you picked up a nugget or two out of these. I know I did.  As always, stay healthy! And don’t worry, I’m not letting my wife near me with any sharp objects😉