Stimulus Check Time!
As most of us know we are currently in unexpected and unprecedented time with the global expansion of the coronavirus. Recent government statistics have shown that millions of Americans have filed for unemployment over the past three weeks as companies lay off employees to starve the economic loss of stay at home orders and social distancing policies.
To remediate this economic shortfall, the government recently passed the CARES Act. The act has plenty of provisions but in this article, I will only be focusing on the stimulus checks.
The IRS recently started sending out checks to eligible Americans who filed income taxes in 2018 or 2019. This is a one-time $1,200 stimulus, plus $500 for dependents under the age of 16.
Here’s who qualifies:
- A single U.S resident making no more than $99,000 adjusted gross income in a year
- Head of households who earn less than $146,500
- Those that file jointly can make no more than $198,00.
If you want to see how your payment is calculated and what you should expect to get. The Washington Post has created this nifty calculator.
This article will focus on those that received $1,200 which most young people with no kids. Except for college students, we learned the hard way the cost of having our parents count us as dependents. But, I’m not bitter at all.
Okay, let’s jump in.
- Bills, Bills, Bills: This is the most crucial way to spend this many. Millions of people have lost their jobs and have filled for unemployment due to COVID 19. This means that times are tight and people are being forced to tighten their belt and try to make do. This $1,200 stimulus check is going to be very beneficial for those that have outstanding bills. Whether that be rent, utilities, phone, internet, etc. Anything that’s so over that needs to be paid. This should be the number one priority on how to spend this money.
- Pay down your debts: Now, after your bills have been taken care of (or if you do not have any outstanding bills). The next recommendation is to pay down any debts you might have. This is especially important for those that have credit cards or other debts with high interests. Paying down those debts would put your mind at ease and will allow you to focus on becoming more financially independent. There are many methods out there that simplify this process for you.
- Start an Emergency Fund: This is critical. It is often something that is talked about in the abstract but hunkering down and getting started is easier said than done. However, what this pandemic has shown us is the importance of having an emergency fund. Emergency funds allow you to plan for the unexpected so that you do not have to deep into your savings or investments in order to make ends meet. It is highly recommended that you have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses (only expenses, things you need to pay for) saved up. It might not even cover a month’s worth of expenses for some of us, however even a little goes a long way and this money can help you get started with that.
- Invest the stimulus check: Alright, so let’s say that you have exhausted all the options above. You now want to invest the money. This is a great avenue and it is never too late or too early to get started. Investing takes many forms. It can often seem complex and in these times especially markets are tumultuous. I am no investment expert but for those just beginning, I would recommend a Roth IRA that invests in index funds or other low costs funds. If you do not know what that is or how to start. No worries. I got you. Just click here and here.
- Donate the stimulus check: Finally, if you need the money to consider donating it to a local, national or international charity of your choice. Times are hard out there and charities and other non-profit organizations are being stretched and strained by the influx of people in need. Donating money to your chosen organization will go a long way towards helping those in need. For those who are not currently in the philanthropic mood, the donation can also be a tax write off.
At the end of the day this is your money and you can do what you want with it. If you want to use to pay all your bills, I’m here for it. If you want to use it to buy some Gucci loafers, I’m here for it as well.
If you want to burn it all because you believe it is some part of a QAnon, lizard world conspiracy. I can’t say I’m here for it, but it is your money and we are in a pandemic so why not? If you want to make some extra money while inside check this out.