How to stay sound during financial uncertainty

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In uncertain times, it helps to have someone to lean on. As the coronavirus continues to challenge both our financial and emotional well-being, Oregonians are increasingly stepping up to lend a hand to neighbors, complete strangers and even pets.

OCCU is lending a hand, too. Our role in the pandemic response is to help our community weather the financial impacts of COVID-19, and we’re focused on supporting our members with lending solutions that meet you where you are. If you’re facing a loss of income, unexpected medical bills or other expense burdens, we’re here to help you through it.

It’s natural to feel worried right now. The anxiety is real—but so is the help that’s being extended to people all over the world. There are resources available to you, from social networks to community relief efforts, can ease your stress while preparing you for the road ahead. There’s no telling what the next few months will bring, but here’s what you can do now to maintain your financial footing.

Explore your lending options

A personal loan or credit card can help you stay afloat in tight times—especially now that historically low interest rates have made borrowing more affordable. Since everyone’s financial situation is different, OCCU has assembled a variety of lending solutions to help our members.

Personal line of credit: A personal line of credit works much like a credit card, but with the advantage of a lower interest rate. You can use it as overdraft protection for your checking account and withdraw funds as you need them.

Personal loan: A personal loan can help you meet a sudden expense or give you a cushion in the bank when you know you’re going to need it. With interest rates lower than most other loans, it can help ease your financial recovery.

Credit cards: If you need a credit card to help cover your expenses, or if you’re looking to transfer debt to a lower-interest card, OCCU credit cards can help you out financially. Check out which credit card options are available.

Put your payments on pause

If you can’t make all your monthly payments, you might be able to skip some without a penalty. OCCU’s Skip-A-Pay program, for example, can give you a break from loan payments for up to two months if you have an eligible loan with us.

You may also have some flexibility on other monthly payments, such as utility bills. Check with your providers to see what they can offer.

Find out what state and federal relief you qualify for

Governments and organizations at both the state and federal levels are responding to the coronavirus in a multitude of ways, from Oregon’s relaxed unemployment requirements to the incoming federal economic stimulus package. Whether you’ve already suffered a loss of income or are preparing for increased hardship soon, find out which programs you might be eligible for. Here are some state and federal resources to look into.

Prioritize your expenses

In an emergency, our financial priorities change. Short-term needs rise to the forefront. Long-term financial plans may need to be paused. Online subscriptions become more important than gym memberships. You may face some tough choices in the coming months but rearranging your financial priorities now can help make those decisions easier. How you sort your priorities will depend on your individual household, but financial experts recommend that you:

  • Make housing and food your top priorities.
  • Make minimum debt payments if you can.
  • Put any extra income into your emergency fund.

If you’re looking for a way to start building funds, our Ignite Savings® account can be a great tool to help.

As we all cope with the impacts of COVID-19, it helps to know there are people in your corner ready to help. OCCU is here to support you and give financial peace of mind through these uncertain times.