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You are no doubt reeling from the recent events attributed to COVID-19. Stress and fear weigh on all of us and the uncertainty is unnerving. The Coronavirus has caused significant disruption in nearly every facet of our lives. Between working from home, balancing work with homeschooling, cancelled sports, travel, and school, closed stores, and the constant feeling of vulnerability, our lives have changed.

This disruption is cause for action to make sure your clients maintain financial stability. At my firm, WealthChoice, we are working on five key action items with clients to address some of the financial uncertainty many are experiencing, and we are sharing them so that you can take these steps, too.

1. Check in on financial plans to see if they are still on track, or if you need to make some changes

Each client we work with has different life and financial goals, some of which may be happening in the not-too-distant future. Take stock of where you are given the market decline, to see if you are still on track, and if not, to determine the impact of recent events and steps you can take. You will want to re-run your plan so you know what you are dealing with and can determine any options if there are gaps that need to be addressed.

2. Revisit budgets to find places to cut

If your plan is not on track, revisit where money is being spent to see where there are options to cut. Spend a few minutes penciling out expenses so you know what clients must pay for versus what they’d like to spend money on. The must-haves are fixed expenses, and everything else is discretionary your clients truly don’t need. Discretionary spending has been cut back with the elimination of big expenses like travel, but online shopping and take-out can be a financial drain.

The CARES Act allows for the deferral of federal student loan payments through 9/30/20, as well as mortgage forbearance. Many credit card companies are also offering relief. Speak to lenders for deferral on payments, but these actions can free up much-needed cash.

This may also be the time to cut back on retirement contributions temporarily, if it makes the difference between covering living expenses.