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How to prepare financially in the US for covid-19 job layoffs? RSS

If people get laid off in droves due to the virus (either directly or due to work relying on other densely impacted areas), how will people afford things?

What financial prep are you guys doing now to prepare? Or if quarantines happen will money and work not be an issue?

First, everyone should have a well padded 3-6 month emergency fund. Meaning, if you didn't have a job for that amount of time, you could live as you are now - at least with the essentials. That's bare bones, basic, non-virus threatening financial advice. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, that's just asking for trouble.

Two, I'd get out of all debt too. At least everything except for a mortgage and have that payment in your emergency fund for a few months. I get this isn't immediate for everyone, but now, more than ever, is a good to get motivated to tackle this.

Everyone should also have an updated resume. Probably time to just revisit this anyways. Job losses can hit at any time.

I have worked in financial institutions for years (in the USA) and am privy to the SOP for disasters. After a disaster occurs and an emergency is declared by local or federal government, the standard practice is to suspend payments for a period of time. (By the way, this usually happens during hurricane season, at least on a local level, so the practice is very familiar to every major financial institution.) This doesn't mean you won't have to pay, and the situation will depend on the financial institution, but generally speaking mortgages and utilities can have payments put on hold.

And afterwards, during the recovery period, there is usually a call center helpline established by each company to help answer questions or concerns, should you have trouble paying after the hold period is over. Other creditors usually adopt the same plan, but not always. Hopefully this practice trickles down to renters in the form of landlords placing payments on hold (NOT always), but individuals will have to work out the payment plan with the landlords. I would say don't expect your landlord to have a plan for you until something happens, but it's also not in their best interests to kick people out during an emergency. Always remember that when in doubt, you'll have to wait for the event and then call your creditor/landlord/etc to discuss the situation.

As far as work is concerned, if you have an office job, it may be worth asking your employer about the disaster plan, should a national emergency be declared by the government, advising people to stay in their homes. The worst that they can say is: no you cannot work from home.

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