Some workers are not adequately prepared to deal with a loss of income, even a short-term one. For those living from paycheck to paycheck or without significant savings, any income interruption is likely to put them over the financial edge. For example, consider the statistics below from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Financial Literacy Survey:Thirty-three percent of respondents admit to not paying all bills on time; Thirty-nine percent have zero non-retirement savings; Thirty-nine percent carry debt over from month to month, and Sixteen percent have utilized overdraft protection in the last 12 months. Even if a person does not anticipate being impacted by sequestration, now is a good time for a comprehensive financial review. Whether due to an unplanned expense or a job loss, no one has ever regretted being financially prepared, and preparation starts with understanding where you stand today.
Assess current financial situation – The NFCC's free financial self-assessment tool, MyMoneyCheckUp™, is a good place to start. The tool provides consumers with a means of evaluating four key areas of personal finance: budgeting and credit management, saving and investing, planning for retirement, and home equity. After answering a series of topic specific questions, a personalized assessment of the individual's overall financial health and associated behaviors is generated. With areas of concern identified, the analysis suggests changes that consumers are encouraged to implement in order to become more financially independent. The traditional green, yellow and red traffic light colors signal whether the consumer should continue on their current money path, proceed with caution, or stop and make a change. Individuals can also complete an optional budget to further help them assess their financial health. The tool is available in English at www.MyMoneyCheckUp.org.
It's difficult to predict if the country's spending and borrowing issues will be resolved without triggering a shutdown or other consequences for everyday Americans. Given the potential impact if things don't go smoothly, it's smart to prepare for a worst-case scenario.If you're a federal employee or otherwise depend on government outlays to make ends meet, consider these 5 tips.1. Develop a Spending PlanIf your income has just been cut (or soon could be), get uber-focused on developing a budget. This number-crunching reality check will show you where your money goes and where to cut back. To get started, use the USAA Money Manager.™ It's a simple and easy way to set up a budget and track your spending, regardless of where your accounts are.2. Reduce Expenses If your income drops, your expenses should too. To free up cash, study your current cash outflows and find places to cut back on nonessentials now. Expenses like premium cable channels and frequent dining out are "wants," not "needs," and are a great place to start. You should also reexamine your approach to debt payments during this time. If you'e paying extra and don't currently have an emergency fund, you might be better off temporarily redirecting those extra payments to savings instead. Once you've got that built up to at least $1,000, then you can attack the debt again. The USAA Debt Management Tool (login required) can help you decide the best way to do this to save time and money. Finally, be careful not to cut important expenses like insurance coverage. Being uninsured or underinsured could be devastating in the event of a loss. 3. Build Up Your SavingsIf there is ever a chance your paycheck could get disrupted, your first line of defense is to have cash in the bank. So, take the money you've freed up by cutting expenses and build up an emergency fund. Your goal should be three to six months of basic living expenses, and tools like the USAA Goals Planning Tool can be helpful in setting one up. 4. Hold Off on Large PurchasesOccasionally, families buy big-ticket items such as household appliances or cars. But if your finances are on shaky ground, put those purchases on hold. 5. Ensure Access to Available CreditNo, you don't want your current circumstances to bury you in debt, but make sure you have credit available just in case you run out of cash and don't have any other options. As an additional layer of financial security, establish overdraft protection on your checking account if you don't already have it. Also, research any related rates and fees associated with any borrowing you have to do. Again, you should avoid taking on extra debt if possible, but use it as your safety net if you have to.
*turn the lights off when you leave a room*turn the water off when you brush your teeth, shorten showers*maximize laundry loads for efficiency
If there is a quick resolution to the sequestration, nothing has been lost by implementing the above steps. If not, consumers will be better prepared to face whatever comes their way financially.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL PREPAREDNESS IN
The Event Of A Government Shutdown
• How to plan for financial changes
• How to increase cash flow
• Resources for support
• Savings strategies & tips to get
through the shutdown
• By some estimates, more than two
million employees of federal agencies
and active duty members may receive
• Even if a person does not anticipate
being impacted by a government
shutdown, now is a good time for a
comprehensive financial review.
• No one has ever regretted being
financially prepared, and preparation
starts with understanding where you
• Determine how much of an impact a
pay delay will have on your personal
finances? Evaluate the situation and
• Run the numbers with your current
• Work from your obligated expenses first
• Incorporate other expenses on a priority
• NFCC's free financial self-assessment
• Evaluates 4 areas: budgeting and
credit management, saving and
investing, planning for retirement, and
• Overall financial health is generated
6 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR A GOVERNMENT
1. Develop a Spending Plan
2. Reduce Expenses
3. Build Up Your Savings
4. Hold Off on Large Purchases
5. Ensure Access to Available Credit
6. Contact creditors and banks/credit unions for support
If you're fortunate enough to be unaffected by Washington's woes, your
belt-tightening efforts will still leave your finances in better shape.
• Talk with your family about how things
• Brainstorm as a family how to absorb the
shortfall to ensure everyone is on board
• Gas in the car-maximizing trips
• Eating out
• Explore new entertainment ideas that save
CONSIDER ALL OPTIONS
• Everyone should consider and exhaust all
• Emergency Relief Societies-AFAS/AER/NMCRS
• Coordinate with creditor/billing company for
alternative payment arrangements….
• Car Loan- Contact the lender and ask for an additional grace period
• Mortgage/Rent payments-Contact the lender or landlord for a payment
• Credit Card Payments-Contact Visa, MC, Discover, Etc. and ask them
about a plan that will NOT charge you late payment fees
WHERE DOES YOUR DIRECT DEPOSIT
• USAA is prepared to offer a zero-
interest payroll advance loan to
members of the military with existing
direct deposit at USAA, including the
National Guard and Reserves.
• Also, there are temporary solutions
available for affected members' existing
products and include:
• Special payment arrangements, which could include payment
deferral, on some bank products.2
• Refunds of certain fees for credit cards and other USAA Bank
• Early withdrawal of funds from certificates of deposit without
• Billing arrangements for insurance products
• 800-531-USAA (8722)
• Check with your bank/credit union for similar solutions
• Meal planning can save hundreds of
dollars at the grocery store.
• Online resources that make planning
easy and cost effective.
• Create menu for the week
• Then a grocery list will be provided
• Coupons available for items on grocery list
• Detailed grocery list by aisle at designated
• Take A Hardship Loan from Investments:
Not ideal but could help in a rough time
• Negotiate With Lenders: It’s in their best
interest to help you make your payments,
even if it means a lower interest rate or
extending the terms.
• Air Force Aid Society may be an option if
you are married to an active duty
member-interest free loans www.afas.org
• Student Loans: Discuss possible
forbearance/deferment or other hardship
programs with lender
• Car Loans: Some companies offer a “skip a
payment” option usually around the holidays.
Discuss with lender…
• Many church’s have a relief fund for people
in a financial crisis…(utility bills, etc.)
• 1. Turn off the television: Premium cable and satellite
subscriptions can cost anywhere from $500 to over
$1,000 per year or more.
• 2. Trim your subscriptions: Magazines, DVD Rental, &
Gym memberships-Do you really use or need all of them?
• 3. Avoid banking fees: Banks are regularly changing
their products and you may be paying a monthly fee.
• 4. Pay your bills on time: These fees can be
substantial, ranging anywhere from a few dollars to $40
• 5. Keep eating lunch out at a minimum: Did you
know that spending only $6 a day on lunch while at work
can cost nearly $800 per year? If both spouses are doing
this…. $1,600 per year just on lunch!
• Federal Employee Education and
Assistance Fund. No-interest loans of
up to $1,000 are available to assist
with individual emergency situations
such as loss of income. www.feea.org
• Active Duty: The relief societies are
standing by to take requests for
emergency assistance. Loans are
Friends of Military Families Private
• FoMF is available to assist
Airmen/families with financial
emergencies when the relief societies
are NOT an option.
• Call the A&FRC for more information
• Click on Illinois
• Scroll through the many financial
support services available in Illinois
• General Assistance Program: Provides
families and people with emergency funds,
cash grants and also limited medical care to
help take care of themselves
ILLINOIS CRISIS ASSISTANCE
• Crisis Assistance
Organizations such as the Illinois
Department of Human Services and
other social service agencies offer a
number of grants and cash assistance
programs. Find help with medical bills,
housing, food, and job training
THIS IS A GREAT RESOURCE!
ILLINOIS HARDEST HIT
•Temporary mortgage payment assistance
•Maximum assistance is $20,000 - $25,000 (individually
•Borrowers may be currently experiencing an income
loss or experienced one in the past that caused them to
get behind on their mortgage payments.
ILLINOIS FINANCIAL PROGRAMS
• Rental Housing Support Program
The state of Illinois Rental Housing
Support assistance program is the
nation’s largest state run rental
assistance program and it helps
thousands of people pay their rent
• Ameren - Hardship Assistance for Residential
• Nicor Gas Assistance
This program was created specifically to help
customers who can’t afford to pay their heating
or energy bills.
• Illinois utility bill and energy assistance
programs… Illinois families may qualify for
financial assistance to pay their utility bills
• Over 15 different programs available in IL
• Beacon of Belleville
• Provide information on financial support
and food boxes/banks. Clearinghouse for
many churches to provide support
• Free Food Banks
Hundreds of food banks throughout
Illinois provide free or low cost food,
groceries, and other non-financial
support to residents of the state. These
are in addition to programs offered in
OTHER FOOD SUPPORT PROGRAMS
• Treasure Valley Food Box:
National organization that provides food
boxes to anyone who needs help, regardless
of their income, background, religion, or age.
The name of the program administered is the
Good Faith Food box, and it can provide
families with groceries and food valued at
about $60. However the food box will only
cost individuals about $35.
GABALLI FOOD PROGRAM
• No income requirements
• Can help people save up to 70% on
their grocery bill
• Top quality hearty country meals meat,
chicken, fish, and produce is offered.
• Phone number: 305-705-7257
• Crisis Assistance
If you are faced with unexpected bills
or need help paying for basic needs
like food, rent, and more, the Salvation
Army operates across Illinois.
• The Salvation Army of Illinois may be
able to offer you transportation
assistance in the form of free gasoline
vouchers or bus passes/tokens.
ST CLAIR COUNTY SUPPORT
• Help with heating and air conditioning
• Mortgage Help
• St. Clair County Community Action
Agency: one of the leading non-profits in
the area. Counselors may be able to help
you with apply for programs that provide
financial assistance, and they are
definitely a great place to learn about your
options and various programs.
ST CLAIR COUNTY CONT….
• The St. Clair County Community
Services Division (phone 277-6790)
offers Emergency Food and Shelter,
Rent and even Mortgage Payment
Assistance, government grants from
the Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and
• Look at this time as an opportunity to work on a
• Discover ways to be more thrifty that can be used
for a long period of time.
• Make these new changes your NEW NORM
• Make it a family affair that everyone is excited
about. Turn it into a game…..How much can we
save this week?
• Understand that emergencies are always unforeseen
and something to plan for ahead of time.
• One-on-one financial support
• Debt reduction plan
• Credit score and reports
• Friends of Military Families
-Budgeting worksheets available at
• Stay Motivated
• Maintain a positive attitude
• Keep realistic expectations
• This presentation will be available at
www.scottafrc.com (Under Personal
Financial Readiness tab)
• “Go forward without fear.” –
WORDS OF INSPIRATION
If there is a quick resolution to the delay
in pay/shutdown, nothing has been lost
by implementing the above steps.
Consumers will be better prepared to
face financial issues in the future.
Airman & Family Readiness Center
404 W. Martin Street