Five Actions to Take Now to Benefit from the Pandemic

Brittany Lajoie |

Jay L. Gershman, Retirement Visions LLC, West Hartford

While many people are suffering financially right now, that doesn’t necessarily have to be you. If you have not seen a drop in your income, here are a few things you can do to benefit now.

  1. Manage your short-term debt: If you’re staying home, you’re probably not spending as much on travel and entertainment. Don’t let that money pile up in your checking account, take that savings and pay down those credit cards, auto loans and your Home Equity Line.
     
  2. Refinance your mortgage before it’s too late: If you have a mortgage rate of 4% or higher check out the latest rates as low as 3.25% for 30 year and 2.75% for 15 year mortgages. These rates are available to borrowers with good credit who still have a job, Social Security or a pension. 
     
  3. Start looking for that next car: With inventory sitting on dealer’s lots it may be time to negotiate for your next vehicle. We suggest starting your search on Cars.com or a similar site and narrowing down the make, model, color and features you want. Then search for that specific vehicle as afar as 150 miles from your zip code. Use that price to negotiate with your local dealer or use the new virtual purchase options most dealers now offer. Don’t worry where you buy it, you can have it serviced locally by any dealer. Also, use the same site to determine the fair price of your vehicle before you trade it in and get taken advantaged of. The same online sites can list your car for sale and find a local buyer in no time. Many people have also used Facebook Marketplace with much luck.
     
  4. Talk to your auto insurer about lowering your auto rates: If you’re not commuting to work until next year and driving less miles, let your auto insurer know and possibly save $$.
     
  5. Stop your IRA distributions and save taxes: Retirees who are required to take minimum distributions get a pass this year. If you have other buckets to draw from or have less expenses because you’re staying home, consider stopping or reducing your income til year end. Even taxpayers with lower taxes may find that reducing income may lower the tax applied to your Social Security and save you even more taxes.

Jay Gershman is the Owner and Founder of Retirement Visions LLC, a West Hartford-based financial planning firm that focuses on comprehensive life planning and financial management. For more information, visit www.allset2retire.com. Information and advice are for guidance only and opinions expressed belong solely to the author. Securities offered through Securities Service Network, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Fee-based services are offered through SSN Advisory, Inc., a registered investment advisor.