Important steps to keep your financial goals on track during a pandemic
Many families here in the Green Country are not sure when or if their next paycheck is coming. However, there are ways families can find financial comfort despite the lack of job and paycheck security, and they do not have to do it alone.
Families can talk with a trusted financial representative to help them get through tight financial situations and to help reduce financial stress during hard times.
21 percent of parents say COVID-19 has impacted their ability to pay bills
A recent survey conducted by COUNTRY Financial found 21 percent of parents in the West-South Central region of the U.S. say the coronavirus pandemic has “impacted their ability to pay bills.”
Additionally, back-to-school season has added even more financial burdens on families. Twenty percent of parents surveyed said they had to change or reduce work hours due to a change in school or childcare options, while eight percent had to leave a job altogether. Twenty-seven percent of parents surveyed said they have had to delay paying at least one of the following bills because of impacts from the coronavirus pandemic: paying rent, credit card bills, auto insurance bills and retirement contributions.
Families specifically in the Northeast Oklahoma and Tulsa area report more financial hardship during these unprecedented times than families in other parts of the country. But there is hope. With proper financial planning, families can find financial security despite the uncertainty we’re experiencing as a country.
Tips for being successful financially
Financial representative, Michael Trupia with COUNTRY Financial in Tulsa, explained how families in the Green Country can defend themselves against financial uncertainty.
Trupia explained the first step to create a sound financial plan is to define goals. Families should sit down together to discuss these financial goals. Trupia said one of the most important discussion topics spouses should focus on is about managing all income. “Ensure you are not spending more than you are bringing in.” He suggested going through everything your family spends money on throughout each week and each month and “focus on how much you currently spend on those discretionary items and where you can cut back.” Trupia recommended having those honest conversations with your spouse and family now versus later to prevent accruing debt.
Trupia also suggested families to talk about insurance. “Make sure your family, possessions and assets are protected with the right insurance policies.” It is important to invest in insurance protection now because it can save you out-of-pocket expenses later. Trupia said for life insurance, parents need to factor in that it gets more expensive the older they get. He explains that going without life insurance puts the entire family at risk. “Having protection for you and your family is not a nice-to-have, but a necessity,” Trupia said.
Once you discuss these important factors, families can begin to prepare for their futures with long-term savings goals for college, retirement, etc. Trupia said now may not be the time to put away for these long-term goals. “It’s important to remember if you can’t afford everyday expenses today, funding retirement or your child’s college funds may not make sense at this time,” Trupia said.
It can be difficult to choose certain priorities over others, especially when it comes to your children. “It’s a balancing act because you want to help your kids out when it comes to ensuring the continued well-being of your family,” he said. “But you need to have a sound financial footing before you can start putting money away for 30-40 years down the road. If you put too much money into a retirement fund to begin with and have to pull money out of that fund during a tough month, remember you will may likely have taxes and penalties to deal with,” Trupia said.
Where families can turn for help and financial planning tools
Trupia has a positive outlook on what feels like one of the most stressful financial times for most parents. “The pandemic presents an opportunity for parents to regroup and get on a good financial track.” Trupia said. “And talking to someone about your financial situation is often crucial for success,” Trupia said.
“There are plenty of places online you can go and run financial calculations on yourself and create a plan, but the behavior we’ve seen time and again is that advice-driven, personal relationships with a trusted financial representative are what help people actually stick to the goals they set for themselves.”
COUNTRY Financial can help address your family’s specific needs now and in the future. Trupia explains that financial representatives like himself are here to have those “in-depth conversations about your needs and help devise the best solutions for you.”
Connect with a local COUNTRY Financial Specialist for a free financial review.