As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to unfold throughout the world, many areas are closing businesses, schools, and other major employers. While these measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus, they carry significant financial implications. Many people are finding themselves suddenly unemployed, while others who are able to work from home or retain their jobs are concerned about their economic stability as well. For retirees, this pandemic can be especially scary, as most retirement accounts have lost value as the stock market has steadily fallen. Before you panic, it’s worth taking some time to consider how COVID-19 may impact your financial plan, and what you can do to navigate this uncertain time with as much grace as possible.
Increased Support for Retirees
As savings accounts are becoming unable to generate as much interest as they once did, and as retirement accounts are depleting as the stock market experiences instability, two key government programs are stepping up their efforts to offer support to retirees. Although all Social Security offices have been closed as a measure to stop the spread of the virus, the agency still offers appointments over the phone. Senior citizens can now receive their Social Security payments through direct deposit or in the mail, and the Social Security website has been updated to provide easier access for older individuals in need of assistance. Additionally, those who receive Medicare benefits are allowed to consult with their doctors over the phone so that they do not put themselves at risk by having to visit an office or hospital during this crisis. Medicare has indicated that it will cover the cost of telehealth visits with most healthcare providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, licensed clinical social workers, and more.
Coping With a Depleted Retirement Account
With the instability of the stock market, investment accounts have become difficult to check without feeling worried. Retirees who are dependent on these funds may be especially anxious during this unprecedented time. However, now is an important time to take stock of what your immediate needs are—can you delay any major purchases right now? Can you reduce your overall spending for the near future? The more you can delay making significant purchases right now, the more time you will give your investments to recover. Until you actually sell your assets at a loss, your funds are still within your control. Explore all of your alternative options before withdrawing funds for your depleted retirement or investment account. Can you tap into a savings account and repay yourself once the market starts to recover? Do you have an emergency fund? Now may be the time to use it.
What to Do About Your Savings Account
With the Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate cut, savings accounts are likely to provide lower interest rates as well. Now may be a good time to look into switching to a different savings account that offers a higher interest rate, and online savings accounts tend to provide better interests rates than traditional savings accounts. You may also consider moving any funds that you do not immediately need into a certificate of deposit (CD). Whatever your financial situation may be right now, it’s important for you to carefully explore all of your options before making any major financial decisions. The more time you can devote to fully understanding your current financial reality, the more carefully and effectively you can plan for your future, no matter what it looks like.
The dedicated attorneys at Bevill & Bevill, LLC understand how challenging it is for people around the world right now. As we cope with this pandemic together, our firm is here to provide you with trusted and effective legal guidance. Call our Jasper office today at (205) 221-4646 to arrange a free consultation.