Last week we hosted a webinar featuring Amy Thomann, Head of Consumer Credit Education with TransUnion, Sue Katz, American Consumer Credit Counseling Community Outreach Coordinator and Certified Credit Counselor & Educator, as well as RentReporters CEO John Simpson. The webinar offered several tips for managing your money – and credit – during a crisis.
In difficult times like the current pandemic, families and individuals are facing income loss and difficulties making ends meet. People have many questions about how to pay rent and other bills, how to manage debt, and how to preserve credit. Our recent webinar provided some answers.
Below is a summary of some steps you can take to get on firmer financial footing in the near-term. You can watch the webinar in full at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qodYW0WHE-Q&feature=youtu.be.
- Talk to your landlord and all lenders and creditors to seek accommodation or leniency
- When approaching your landlord, be honest and willing to work together. Many landlords – whether individuals or corporations – are experiencing financial difficulties as well, so the solution must work for both parties.
- With creditors, if the person you talk to says there are no leniency options available, call back and talk to someone else. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of who answers the phone. You can also request to speak to a manager.
- More ideas about how to handle an inability to pay rent or other expenses are covered on the webinar.
- Create a monthly budget
- Look at current spending and find every opportunity to cut unnecessary expenses – for example, if you have a daily Starbucks habit, cutting that can amount to a few hundred dollars per month save
- Review your budget regularly to make adjustments — daily, weekly, monthly, annually
- Be sure to keep track of all spending as you go — this will help you be more mindful of what you want to spend money on (or not)
- Check your credit report regularly to make sure everything is accurate
- You can get a free copy every week at AnnualCreditReport.com
- If you spot any errors, contact the creditor to file a dispute – both on the phone and in writing
- Create a debt management plan
- List who you owe, how much you owe, and any interest rates or other charges
- Create a payment plan based on prioritization of your debts
- Consider contacting a credit counseling agency, such as American Consumer Credit Counseling, for assistance
Many other topics were discussed, including why it’s always better to work with a debt management agency rather than a debt repair company, when it might make sense to declare bankruptcy, and how to continue building credit when resources are stretched.
Our mission at RentReporters is to bring you the information and resources to help you get through these difficult times, to know you’re not alone, and to give you hope that there are brighter days ahead. Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions or if there are topics you’d like us to cover in future webinars.