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Planning in the Age of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic turned the markets — and our daily routines — upside-down, with much of the country struggling to adjust to a COVID-19 world. Here are some ways you can regain some financial control in these unprecedented times, today and over the long term, plus a look at how to take advantage of the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

What You Can Do Today

RETHINK YOUR FINANCES

By taking stock of how your financial needs and expenses have changed, you can make adjustments that better reflect the new landscape.

  • Take the money you're not spending on entertainment and consider moving it to your retirement or emergency funds.
  • If you've lost income due to the recent downturn, talk with your advisor about relief under the CARES Act or if selling positions from your investment accounts makes sense.
  • Take the time to revisit your asset allocation, risk tolerance and financial goals in light of the extreme market volatility we've seen.

EXPLORE DEBT REFINANCING

In response to the pandemic, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near-zero – which could provide an opportunity to refinance debt on more favorable terms.

  • Check the APR on your credit cards, and consider transferring credit card balances with high interest rates to cards with lower rates.
  • If you've been impacted by COVID-19, you can withdraw — penalty-free — from your retirement plan to reduce debt. Understand that you'd be sacrificing growth on your retirement savings in the interim.
  • Thinking of refinancing your mortgage? Consider shortening the term so you can get out from under it sooner.

MANAGE CHANGES TO HIGHER EDUCATION

With so many college students having finished their semesters at home, it's worth reviewing what's happened to education loans and expenses.

  • Federal student loan borrowers are in administrative forbearance until September 30, meaning you can stop making payments without risking default or additional interest.
  • Interest rates on federal direct loans, FFEL Program loans, Federal Perkins Loans and defaulted HEAL loans have been reduced to 0% until September 30, provided they are still owned by the Department of Education.
  • If funds withdrawn from a 529 account have been refunded to you, you may have to pay taxes and penalties on the distribution. Your Financial Advisor can review your options with you.
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Did You Know?

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