Picture of young woman staring at piggy bank with word, coping, next to her.

We all interpret and react differently to changes. In my extended family, some people have “what to do in a disaster plan,” and others prefer to take steps one day at a time. Whatever your approach to the new challenges that we are currently facing, the financial strains that may emerge could cause distress within us. We also know that money is a hard topic to discuss, therefore, finding ways to reduce anxiety about money conversations or accessing resources during this time is essential and can help resiliency in all of us.

You

Trust your instincts because you know what matters to you and how things affect you emotionally:

  • If continuous news coverage makes you uncomfortable, think about reading highlights and staying abreast of new and updated information through alternative methods.
  •  If working out is your way to de-stress, consider going on walks. Check your streaming services for workout and mediation videos. I found a few low-impact aerobics videos on one of my streaming services, and some of them are hilarious, and I have fun with them in my living room.
  • As human beings, it is easy to feel isolated and physically distancing ourselves from others can exacerbate some of our fears. Finds ways to connect with others virtually, whether it is a daily check-in with one person or group chat; consider what will help you feel connected to others.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also as resources for managing stress and anxiety during this time. Please click here for more information.

Lenders and Service Providers

The whole world is paying attention to the current economic climate, and so are your lenders and service providers. Find out what they are doing to support customers. Even though it is hard to plan for the financial impact of crises thoroughly, there are protective measures we can take to mitigate its long-term effects:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has specific steps we can explore (a) if there is a loss of income, (b) if we have troubles paying bills and other obligations, and (c) what we can do about fraud: 
  • For loss of income, check your state’s unemployment policies for more information
  • Contact your lenders about your situation. Some are proactive in creating responses for customers. For example, internet providers explore strategies to keep customers connected
  • Be wary of fake emails and messages that look like they are from a lender or service provider but are scams. Do not click on links in emails. Check with your services providers before clicking on links offering loan forgiveness or reduction options.

Us

University of Illinois Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences educators have resources for you. We provide research-based information on effective money management strategies, healthy and helpful nutritional information and wellness practices, and family resources that support all members of your family (along the life course). To learn more about our digital education programs, find us on Facebook, University of Illinois Extension: Around the Table, and on our website at go.illinois.edu/ExtensionCOVID19.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Managing anxiety and stress. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (2020). Protect yourself financially from the impact of the coronavirus. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/protect-yourself-financially-from-impact-of-coronavirus/

U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Services by location. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from https://www.dol.gov/general/location