With the spread of Coronavirus continuing across the globe, Americans have officially been placed on notice to prepare for a pandemic. What does this mean in terms of finances? Don’t panic — prepare. Sometimes just the act of making a plan helps to ease the stress of facing the unknown. Take a proactive approach (and a few deep breaths), with these strategies for financial preparedness:
This step is one of the most important, and easiest, to accomplish when it comes to financial preparedness during a pandemic. Many banks, including Fidelity, offer a full suite of online and mobile services that are user-friendly and easy to access. Customers with online and mobile accounts are able to complete a wide variety of transactions from the convenience of their homes, including:
These are just a few ways that mobile banking makes it easy to maintain finances without leaving home — a great service to use for those who aren’t well enough to go out or those who may be contagious with an illness.
For assistance in creating an online account and downloading Fidelity’s mobile banking app, contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-388-4380 or ask a Banker for assistance at a local office.
Those who receive paper checks from their employers should consider requesting direct deposit. Those who receive paper checks for Federal benefits may enroll in automatic deposits via GoDirect.
An emergency fund will help to cover unexpected medical costs that could arise from being ill (visits to the doctor, medical tests, medications, loss of income from taking time off work, etc.) For those who already have an emergency fund, now is a good time to contribute a bit extra to that account if possible. For those who haven’t created an emergency fund, start one now. Even reserving small amounts can make a big difference, and it’s never too late to get started. Click here for tips on short-term and long-term savings, and don’t hesitate to ask a Banker for help.
Regardless of the nature of the emergency, it’s always a good idea to keep some cash handy in a safe, secure place, just in case.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends gathering important personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records in case of a disaster or emergency. Print copies and store them in a safe, secure location (ideally a fire-proof and flood-proof safe) and be sure to backup electronic files in a password-protected environment.
It’s important to be able to access financial accounts and institutions, especially during a difficult situation. To avoid the stress of searching for this information, make a list of important account numbers and financial institutions now. This list may include toll-free telephone numbers for banks and lending institutions for credit cards, mortgages and car loans.
This is an ideal time to review health insurance coverage. Knowing what is, and isn’t, covered is important in planning for unexpected medical expenses. When it comes to paying for medication, be sure to research prescription discount cards. There are many options available, and these cards can help everyone (insured and uninsured) to save substantially on medications.
Employees should do a quick status check on how many paid sick days their company provides, and how many they have used this year. Some companies are modifying their policies in light of the recent warning from the CDC for Americans to prepare for a Coronavirus outbreak. Some may also want to inquire about their company’s remote work policy in case they are homebound for an extended period of time.
Fidelity Bank has built a strong history as trusted advisors to the customers served and is proud to be an active member of the community of Northeastern Pennsylvania. With 12 branches located throughout Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, Fidelity Bank offers full-service Trust & Investment Departments, a mortgage center, and an array of personal and business banking products and services. The Bank provides 24 hour, 7 day a week service to customers through a variety of digital banking tools, branch offices, online at www.bankatfidelity.com, and through the Customer Care Center at 1-800-388-4380.
Daniel J. Santaniello, President, and CEO, of Fidelity Bank, publishes Financially Fit with Fidelity, your guide to financial well-being, every Thursday. If you’re interested in a financial topic we haven’t yet covered or want to subscribe to our emails, please feel free to drop us a line at blog at fddbank dot com. We would love to hear from you.