Preparing for the Unexpected: How to protect yourself and your finances

At 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, we understand many of our members will be affected by the extended time at home and this could cause some major concerns for your finances. While you can’t safeguard against everything, there are proactive steps you can take to be better prepared if and when finances get tight.

Start an emergency fund. According to the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans say they cannot cover a $400 emergency expense. If you are one of them or your reserves are lower than you’d like, now is the time to begin putting away a set amount each week, no matter how small. Or consider using your tax refund as the down payment on an emergency fund large enough to cover your expenses for a few months.

Develop a cost-cutting plan. It’s time to think about ways to cut costs. Prepare and prioritize a list of your expenses now so you can be prepared to cancel non-essential expenditures quickly. If you aren’t traveling in your car every day to work, maybe you can cancel that music subscription. You can also freeze your gym membership for a few months to help cut costs as well.

Make sure you have credit available. While you should be cautious about adding debt when finances are tight, it may be necessary to help bridge gaps between missing paychecks. A home equity line of credit, for example, can provide a ready source of cash in an emergency.

Refinance your loans. Refinancing your mortgage, personal, or auto loans can help you save money over the life of your loan. We’re currently offering a promotion to skip your Auto Loan payment for two months and reduce your rate by at least 1% when you refinance your car with us! This is a great way to save money by skipping your payment for 60 days, plus your monthly payments could go down when we refinance your loan.

Communicate with your Credit Union. Most lenders will be more understanding if they know the challenges you are facing. If you think you may be unable to make a regular payment or need some form of assistance, let us know. If you’re impacted by COVID-19 and need help, please call (636) 916-8300 or visit our website.

Stay in touch. Circumstances change. Be sure to let us know when your situation changes. New information may help us help you. Communication is key here.

We are here for you and want to help you in every way that we can.

Stay well,
Chelsea Springli

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