139th News

Coping with Financial Issues of COVID-19 - Part 17

  • Published
  • By Randy Gerard, Personal Financial Counselor
  • 139th Airlift Wing


  1. New TSP Website – The TSP Board has released its new version of their website in an effort to make it more user-friendly and to incorporate all of the recent changes - https://www.tsp.gov/.  The site now just has 5 pull down menus:  Manage Your Plan; Learn About Fund Options; Fund Performance; Use Your Savings; and Manage Life Changes.  There is a FAQ section, many calculators and a new feature that when deciding which funds to invest in you can compare 3 at a time.
  2. CARES Act – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed into law March of this year has many facets of financial assistance for individuals and small businesses in the country, the most recognizable being the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and $600 additional unemployment for individuals/families and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses.  Following are a few less known features of the Act:
  • Use of Retirement Funds-waving of the 10% early distribution penalty on withdrawals up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related purposes.  The distribution can be claimed “ratably” over 3 years (spread out) and income tax due can be paid off over 3 years (or paid back to the plan without taxes)
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) are suspended
  • Payroll taxes-Act allows postponement of employers portion until 2021or 2022
  • Charity-Act provides for a new above the line deduction for charity and changes the limits
  1.  Benjamin Franklin and “small leaks sink big ships”- I used his quote in one of my first Tidbits and want to re-emphasize that again here.  As you hopefully manage your monthly expenses, make sure you’re not overlooking small, incidental expenses.  No one “small leak” will sink your ship, but realize the general nature of these is that if you have one or two, you most likely have several more.  Let’s look at an example:
  • Daily vending machine purchase - $1.50 (5 days/week)
  • Commuting purchase at Starbuck’s -  $4.50 (5 days/week)
  • Big Gulp purchase at gas station - $1.50 (5/mo)
  • Drive thru meals - $6 (2/week)
  • Taking wash and wear items to laundry - $ 12 (twice a month)

    Granted, my figures are arbitrary, but picked to prove a point.None of the examples are budget busters by themselves, but collectively they represent $199.50 per month and $2,394 over a year (and maybe just one person, consider the impact of a 3-4 person family).Take Ben Franklin’s quote to heart and if necessary, keep track of even the smallest expenses on a phone app, small notepad or other item you can keep handy!