April is National Financial Literacy Month when we urge individuals to take steps to better their financial situations. It is impossible to overstate the importance of financial literacy and your clients. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put a financial strain on many families. These family’s financial futures are facing uncertainty across the country.
We remain the trusted advisor to trusted advisors and align with CFPB’s theme of resilience and recovery for April. Coming alongside the CFPB’s collaboration with the Financial Literacy and Education Commission is crucial. Providing you with tools to help your client manage their monthly money habits now and in the future.
Help is available
Together with CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), we are here to assist in protecting your client’s finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are steps you can help them take today to protect their financial well-being.
Ask for help
For clients with financial struggles, please encourage them to contact their providers right away. Their providers would include their bank or credit union, mortgage company, landlord, utility companies, or credit card companies. These providers might be able to assist them, but they must first ask.
While asking for help might be difficult, emphasizing it is beneficial for their long-term personal finances. Your client will feel more relieved if they can work out a payment plan with their lenders or providers. More COVID-19 information and advice, including how to approach lenders, may be found here.
Check your credit reports often
It is usually a good idea for clients to keep an eye on their credit reports regularly. Setting up a payment arrangement with lenders or creditors is a significant step. It is also necessary for the client to check their credit report consistently to ensure that the reported information is correct.
Everyone has a right to free weekly online credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and Transunion until April 2022. To get your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
There are mortgage and rent relief options.
If your client is worried about paying their mortgage or rent because of COVID-19 related financial difficulties, we can help. If they are a homeowner, first consider having them contact their mortgage servicer. Have them ask the mortgage servicer to see if they can qualify for any forbearance or relief programs.
Another option is to consult with a local HUD-certified housing counselor. The HUD-certified housing counselor is a free resource who can help figure out relief options.
Beware of scams
Be mindful that scammers are targeting many vulnerable clients as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Above all, knowing about these scams is the first step to preventing them at this uncertain time. Learn more about COVID-19 scams and how to avoid being a victim.
Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, although not in the same ways.
Although predicting the impact of the dual crises was never a thought, we continue to commit to helping clients overcome them. COVID-19 and the financial fallout are wreaking havoc on underserved communities. This impact severely burdens the physical health and economic well-being of Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities.
Knowing what struggles clients experience daily helps CFPB create educational resources that can benefit your client and their family. Your client can also make a complaint about a mortgage, debt collection, credit reporting, or any other financial service.