139th News

Coping with Financial Issues of COVID-19 - Part 21

  • Published
  • By Randy Gerard, Personal Financial Counselor

So far this month my weekly briefings have covered saving and investing, all about credit reports, FICO scores and building up good credit. The last two will be on “Can’t Always Pay Cash - Debt is Getting in the Way!" and "Buying a Home". Hope to see you at the sessions (Thursdays at 1:00), or if you can’t make the Thursday times, let me know and we’ll work out a personal session. If there is a topic not covered by my choices, let me know and we can cover that individually or at the unit level if you are in charge of a group.


I. UPDATE on HEROES vs. HEALS Acts:  As of this morning, August 12, there is still no bill in place. The President has signed three memorandums and an executive order to sidestep some of the debated issues as follows:

  • These items were the President’s effort to spur action on eviction relief, extending the enhanced Federal unemployment benefits and providing relief for student loan owners.
  • Additionally, a payroll tax cut (agreed to in principal by both parties in earlier budget discussions) was also included in the executive orders but has since been dropped by the Senate and Republican negotiators. The ability of these orders to stick without Congressional approval, however, could further negotiations.
  • As reported last week, the $2 trillion difference between the two bills is not only debt concern but the grounds for meaningful compromise by both sides for a bill to be accepted. Stay tuned!

II. Preview, “Can’t Always Pay Cash” (August 20th):  I recently received a shipment of booklets published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and wanted to give you a preview of my future briefing on debt management. This website is an excellent source of information and resources and I encourage you to take advantage of it. I’ve picked just a few of the topics in the booklet “Debt Getting in Your Way? Get a Handle on It”. In my opinion the three most important aspects of the booklet’s eight tools if debt is getting in the way are: 

  • Debt Inventory:  Before you can assess the issue of debt getting in the way, you have to know how much you owe, to whom (type of debt), when payments are due, (are you current?), and how long will it take to have them paid off under the current payment plan (assumes no more charges).
  • How do I reach my goals?:  First, establish your goals, short-term (<1-2 years), intermediate (2-5 years) and long term (>5 years). Pick a strategy to meet these goals, both with steps you can take now and by identifying additional resources/income that can help achieve/accelerate your plan. Then, track your progress and adjust your plan as life happens or you meet a goal.
  • Which Debts Get Priority in Tight Months?:  Dave Ramsey always says to make sure you cover the “Four Walls”: housing, utilities, food and transportation. Beyond that, take stock of the repercussions of delaying/missing other debt payments. Take inventory of late payment notices, finance charges, penalties or worse - letters of eviction, repossession, service interruption. Develop a plan to minimize (or eliminate) future debt priorities and follow it religiously.

Remember, you have a free, confidential financial professional that specializes in these and other areas of personal finance. Check in with me and to discuss any situation. I’m never in judgement and a second opinion never hurt, right? Don’t hesitate to reach out by phone, email or ask for a private Zoom session for you or your family members. Be Vigilant and STAY SAFE!

Randy Gerard, PFC
C (573) 415-6934
O (816) 236-3659

This week’s thought: “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird, and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt