Amidst the changing economic situation due to the coronavirus outbreak, many Americans are struggling to manage their finances. We had the chance to sit down and chat (virtually of course!) with Len Kunin, one of our co-founders of Brigit and a well-traveled member of the financial community to seek his advice. Len started off working for Morgan Stanley under their risk management department and moved on to various roles such as a trader or portfolio manager for hedge funds and large banking institutions.

Using Brigit to help view and plan your budget during Coronavirus

One of the first points Len made was a call to action for everyone to have a “rainy day fund” of savings just in case anything like this were to happen again. He recommended having 6-8 months prepared. You can start today! It is never too late to start your savings.

Brigit can help out with viewing your spending habits. Make sure to take a look at the Spent vs Earned section which shows the amount of money from your paycheck relative to how much you spend. You can also break down month by month in categories where your money actually goes. You can view how much you are spending on food, entertainment, bills and much more! Start saving by cutting out what you think you do not need and go from there.

What to do if I lost my job

The first thing Len recommends to do is to file for unemployment immediately. States have been overburdened with requests so it’s best to apply as soon as possible. It’s important to also change your mindset in terms of spending. Practice a Need vs Want mentality when it comes to opening your pocketbook.

Many banks have agreed to waive transactional fees and other interest fees associated with credit cards. We have also done the research and found that many companies are now hiring as a result of the Coronavirus. This will give you a chance to build a small cushion or pay for immediate emergencies.

How the stimulus bill helps

The good news is that the government is stepping in and now offering relief for those affected by the coronavirus in many different facets. One of them being a $1,200 stimulus check if eligible. The stimulus bill also pushes back unemployment benefits to now cover 9 months instead of the usual 6. Len also explained how freelancers who are self-employed, as well as workers with reduced hours/wages, can apply now for the first time.

The tax deadline has also been pushed back to July 15th which has allowed for filing to be done 3 months later on the federal level. Check for your individual states however as not all have caught on yet in terms delaying their deadline. Len recommends filing as soon as you can, that way your stimulus check if eligible will be delivered quickly and timely.

You can now borrow from your IRA or 401K, essentially taking money from your retirement to be used immediately. In these dire situations, Len says that it is worth to weight the odds as you might need this money now to stay afloat. The government has paid the banks with this new stimulus package so if you have a mortgage or personal loan, you can freeze it. Speak with your banks in order to start that process to start saving.