Who To Call if You’re Experiencing Financial Hardship
Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels
This post is part of a series of branded posts sponsored by Verizon. The focus of the series — part of a paid partnership between Verizon and CircleAround — is on women small business owners, and how they are navigating the complexities and challenges of contemporary business, from the pandemic to the economy.
Experiencing financial hardship — be it because of a job loss, medical bills, divorce, death in the family, legal issues, or something else — can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. While recovering from significant financial loss is not fast or easy, Carole Brody Fleet knows it can be done. Fleet is a life-adversity expert and the author of Widows Wear Stilettos.
“Gather your checkbook, your credit cards, your debit cards, your insurance policies, and anything else that has anything to do with monthly output,” Fleet tells CircleAround. “Most people do not have an accurate idea of how much money goes out each month, and once you have made this determination, you are going to feel much better.”
In order to reassess, reduce, or even eliminate everyday payments, Fleet suggests picking up the phone and contacting people who can help. Here are four simple phone calls you can make right now to begin your journey back into financial health.
Contact Assistance Programs
“Depending on your particular loss circumstances, you must immediately prioritize anything that will possibly generate income to your household,” Fleet explains. If you have suffered the loss of a spouse, contact the Social Security office, the Veteran’s Association (if applicable), life insurance companies, and any other outlets which can contribute to your personal income. If you have lost a job, nothing is more important than filing a claim for unemployment insurance.”
If you’ve been impacted financially by the pandemic, you may also qualify for special assistance. “You may be eligible for assistance with medical insurance premiums through state or federal health exchanges,” she adds. “Money that isn’t going out in premiums income.”
Contact Utilities and Housing
Saving money to help you recover can be as simple as picking up the phone. “Start with your cable television provider, internet provider, telephone and cell phone provider to see what rate reductions are available,” Fleet suggests. “Many providers offer reduced rates and extra savings when you bundle services.”
She also suggests discussing options with your electric, gas, water, trash collection, and other utility companies. “Many utility companies offer ‘level pay’ or reduced rates for people in financial hardship,” she tells CircleAround. “If you are in difficulty with rent or mortgage, immediately contact your mortgage or property management company to find out what options are available.”
Contact Your Credit Card Provider
Credit cards can be a good short-term resource when experiencing a financial loss, and there are steps you should take in order to ensure you have the best debt repayment plan out there. Most credit card companies are willing to adjust minimum payments if you’re experiencing financial hardship.
“Assess the interest rates that you are paying on each one of your credit cards,” Fleet says. “Call each company, advise them that you are contemplating transferring your balance to a company offering a lower rate, and ask if they would be willing to lower your rate rather than lose your business.”
Contact Insurance Providers
Lastly, have a call with any and all insurance providers in your life. These services have more flexibility in their rates than you realize, as they’d rather keep you as a customer than lose you to another company offering a competitive rate.
“Review all of your insurance policies, including automobile, homeowner (or renter), and medical insurance,” Fleet states. “You may be able to reduce your monthly premiums by raising deductibles slightly or eliminating coverage that you may not need.”
The Bottom Line
Adjusting your lifestyle after suffering a sudden financial loss can feel overwhelming, but keep in mind that help is out there. Don’t assume you won’t qualify for relief. After making a few phone calls, you may be pleasantly surprised by the kind of assistance you could receive.