The COVID-19 pandemic quickly upended the lives of many Americans and continues to wreak havoc on both personal and financial health.
Findings from an April 2020 survey conducted by Regions Next Step, Regions’ financial education program, show 61% of Americans are feeling stressed about their household’s financial situation over the next year. Joye Hehn, financial education manager at Regions, says in times such as these, it is important to know there are free resources available to help.
“If you’re going through financial hardship due to COVID-19 or simply planning ahead, you may be looking for practical suggestions and tips you can implement quickly,” Hehn said. “Regions is committed to helping you find the right solutions for you and your family.”
One of those solutions includes a free webinar with Eric Smith, who is known as the Financial Literacy Coach. Smith has more than 28 years of experience in the financial industry. He travels the country teaching financial literacy to college students and student-athletes. Smith also works with professional athletes and corporate clients. Regions and Smith have been reaching audiences together since 2015.
Smith answered many questions during the webinar. This gives you a look at where the conversation starts:
What should be our highest priority from a financial perspective during these unprecedented times?
“I think the priority should be taking a breath and a step back. Not to panic. Instead, we can make a plan. When we have a plan, we typically aren’t nearly as stressed, and we can be much more effective.”
What can you tell us about HOW to do that?
“To begin making a plan, you need to self-assess where you are financially. Examine your current financial situation. This is not about judgment or blame; it is about getting a realistic picture. Many Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak. And those who haven’t lost a job may be dealing with reductions in income and changes in expenses. So, our current situation may look different than it did six months ago. For all of us, with or without jobs, now is the time to commit to an honest assessment of your financial situation.”
What is the first step people should take from a financial perspective?
“The answer is the same for everyone: step one is to change your mindset. What that looks like, however, depends on your situation. Changing your mindset means going from, ‘Hey, I’m always going to get a check,’ to, ‘How can I make money?’ ‘How can I stretch every dollar and make every dollar count?’ and, ‘How can I tune up my financial game plan to weather the storm that we’re going through now?’ Also, and in my opinion almost more importantly, ‘How do I use this time of challenge to develop and create some positive habits for the rest of my financial journey?’”
To hear more advice from Eric and learn how to make a realistic spending plan, prioritize where your money goes, establish emergency funds and more, watch the full webinar here. For more information about safeguarding your finances during the COVID-19 outbreak, please see these resources on Regions.com. Additionally, Regions Next Step offers a wide variety of tools and resources.