One of the most talked about benefits of the recent CARES Act is the $1,200 stimulus payments for individuals who earned $75,000/year or less and $2,400 for married couples filing jointly that earned $150,000/year or less. This goes to everyone, whether they’ve experienced income loss or not. Here are some strategies to use your check wisely:
- If you experienced a loss in income, your stimulus check is an important part of your recovery plan and can help cover essential expenses. Learn what other resources are available to you to help manage loan payments and debt.
- Pay down costly debt, such as credit cards. There’s an immediate savings on monthly finance charges, and the credit card is still there if you need it later. Trying to decide between paying off your debt or investing? Learn how to choose the option that gets the most value for your situation.
- Put it in an emergency fund so it will be there when you need it.
- Allocate it to a savings goal, such as a down payment for your next car.
- Add it to your IRA. If you didn’t max out your 2019 contributions, the deadline was extended along with the tax deadline extension, or, get a jump on maxing out this year’s contributions. If you haven’t opened an IRA yet, this check could be the perfect way to get started saving for retirement. SESLOC IRAs are safely insured and not subject to the wild stock market fluctuations that may be affecting other retirement accounts.
- Open a Save-to-Win certificate account. If you know you don’t need the money now, put it in a certificate to earn more in interest. With a Save-to-Win account, adding $250 in deposits each month maximizes your chance to win monthly and quarterly cash prizes. It’s only a one-year commitment, and it also has an emergency withdrawal option.
Support local businesses. Many restaurants are currently offering takeout or delivery, and other businesses you used to frequent may offer gift cards that you can use when they reopen. SESLOC is also giving you a chance to win a gift card to a local restaurant — keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram for our Friday Freebie giveaway!
No matter what your situation is, it’s important to be aware that scammers are trying to exploit the crisis. With checks on the way, expect to see an increase in scammers offering you fake products or medical advice, soliciting donations for fake charities, or attempting to compel you to click a fraudulent link to gain access to your device. Some people have recently reported receiving calls from scammers pretending to be the IRS stating that they must purchase a gift card to receive their stimulus benefits.
Keep in mind — the IRS and your financial institution will never call asking for your account information. If you receive a call asking for your account number, hang up. Stay up to date, and report suspicious messages to the FTC.