So, you got that stimulus check (or, as the government wants to call it, your “Economic Stimulus Payment”)…
What next for Southern California families and individuals?
Please use these funds wisely.
If I could sum up my advice for next steps, it would be this: act like you did NOT receive this payment.
And, yes … some of you have not yet received it.
If that’s the case for you, the IRS has set up a tool where you can check your status: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
And there are plenty of other links on that page to help ensure that the IRS has all the info they need so that you do get it.
Now … if you did get this check (and even if you didn’t), may I offer you some advice?
With all of the chaos we are experiencing in Southern California, we do have options.
Most of all: do not give into fear. Yes, the state unemployment systems are completely overwhelmed right now. Be patient. They will catch up.
But in the meantime…
1. If you are renting in the Southern California area:
If the government says you don’t have to pay your rent and there’s a ban on evictions, you better do whatever you can to pay your rent. There will be major repercussions when eviction bans are lifted. Don’t think you’ll get a free ride out of this. PAY YOUR RENT! Your landlord has bills to pay too.
2. To Southern California homeowners:
If the government tells banks to stop mortgage payments, DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO PAY YOUR MORTGAGE! Some lenders are saying you don’t have to pay for three months, but on the 4th month, all four payments are due in full.
Do not take a chance and not pay. Major foreclosures will come from all this. The banks didn’t help homeowners in 2008-2009, and in 2020 … the song will remain the same.
So: pay your mortgage.
3. If the utility company suspends payments, you should pay any amount you can. Like banks, they will want their money eventually, and when all this clears up, you’ll owe a hefty bill and still won’t have any utilities.
Pay whatever you can.
4. The stimulus check should be something that you use to pay your essential bills. That means your rent, your mortgage, your utilities, your insurance, your car payment, etc.
This is not for frivolous spending.
There is always free cheese in a mousetrap.
Be wise in this hour. Don’t allow this short-term “bonus” to affect your habits.
We don’t know what is coming down the pike — nationally, or here in Southern California. The last two months should have made that abundantly clear.
In the meantime … yes, the tax deadline got shifted — but can we get your 2019 tax return out of the way for you?
Let me know.
Barnes Accountancy Corporation
“CRISIS Action Plan” for my clients:
1) Don’t marinate in other people’s panic. Be mindful of your social media consumption.
2) Continue to stay financially and logistically prepared for worsening situations.
3) Make sure you have some ready, liquid assets, if you are able. (I.e., cash in the bank, and in hand.)
4) Set aside plans for any big spending until the dust settles — but especially look out for your small business owner friends and vendors.