Under the new relief law, a good number of Americans are anticipating the arrival of a stimulus check in the weeks to come. As is the case when coming into any amount of unexpected cash, such a situation can create a debt of personal responsibility. Yes, you owe it to yourself not to spend the funds spontaneously. Now is the time to pause, reflect on your financial situation, and prepare a strategic plan for that cash.
Before you click ‘next’ on binge streaming, take a few minutes of couch time and outline a budget for your stimulus check. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or even require a lot of details. Feel free to use the template we’ve provided here. As the saying goes, “Plan the work and work the plan.”
One of the most important aspects to consider during uncertain times is making sure our credit stays in good shape. It can be easy to distract ourselves by buying “stuff” and chasing a temporary high. Unfortunately, it can also be easy to slide into additional debt. You owe it to yourself to plan ahead. Take stock of any essential needs first. Are you safe? Do you have enough to eat? Are your housing, utilities, and insurance payments being met? If so, count yourself fortunate and give these other options some thought.
If you didn’t set up direct deposit for your 2019 taxes and anticipate receiving a check in the mail from the IRS, be extra cautious as fraudsters are on high alert and looking for opportunities to steal mail and commit fraud.
To better protect yourself, consider setting up mobile deposit now. You can enroll right in the mobile app by going to the menu and choosing “Deposits” and following the screens step by step. When your check arrives in the mail, make sure to endorse it, note that it’s for mobile deposit only to Blackhawk Bank, and then you’ll be able to immediately deposit the funds into your account through the Blackhawk Bank app. It is free of charge, convenient, and can be done in the comfort of your home.
Restructure Your Debt
Now may be the right time to refinance your home. With interest rates on the move, many of our clients are taking advantage of this opportunity. Refinancing can potentially help you clear your mortgage debt in less time. Paying less towards your mortgage each month also gives you more cash to put towards your other short- and long-term savings goals, paying off other high-interest debts, and more.
If you anticipate receiving a direct deposit, now is a great time to establish an Emergency Savings account, Regular Savings account, or get a jump on a Christmas Club account you’ve been meaning to open. You can learn more about your savings options, here: https://www.blackhawkbank.com/personal/savings/money-market/cds. Once your stimulus check is deposited in the account that the IRS has on file for you, simply transfer the funds into one or more of your new savings accounts.
Stocks are currently at lower levels than those seen just a few weeks ago. You may wish to take advantage of investment opportunities. Think about how happy you will be in the future if markets begin to recover and stocks start to rise again. The money potentially generated from these investments could help ensure long-term financial security for you and your family.
Remember your local merchants. Small businesses and small business owners are the backbone of your local communities, and they need your support. You can purchase gift cards, shop local merchants and make purchases online, if you are able. Your friends and neighbors will appreciate it.
Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender