HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A new survey from COUNTRY Financial found that parents, compared to the general population, are dealing with additional financial concerns during the back-to-school season.
Many have had to reduce or change their work hours to be home with their kids during remote learning.
According to Huntsville financial representative Mark Berryman, many parents are now feeling the financial effects of reduced hours or incomes.
The bills and debt can be overwhelming but there are three simple steps everyone can take.
First, Berryman suggests sitting down with your family or spouse and discussing exact incomes and necessary expenses.
Rent, utilities, gas and food fall into the essential category and are the expenses he says you need to protect.
“Get on a plan and get your budget in place,” Berryman said. “The most important thing to do is take care of day-to-day expenses and then look at what’s unnecessary. Start there.”
After that, he suggests laying out your assets and setting up an appointment with a financial advisor.
“You need to sit down with your financial rep. or financial advisor and let them help you with whatever you need to protect or with your finances,” Berryman said.
He also hopes people know that it doesn’t cost anything to meet with a representative.
“I personally sit and talk to people who are not clients all the time,” Berryman said. “People like me, we offer advice for free and we are going to tell you what we think is best. And then maybe you go talk to three or four more. Get second opinions and find out if we are all kind of saying the same thing.”
The goal is to organize your finances and come up with a plan for your future.
Berryman also has advice for parents who may have to delay payments during this time.
“You are going to have to pay those debts eventually and I think what most people do is they kind of go silent and don’t talk to people," Berryman said. "And I think if you have a conversation with everybody that you have debt with, they can work with you. Especially during this time. They might not have been willing to work in the past...everybody is trying to help each other right now when it comes to those kinds of things.”
Interestingly, Berryman says people are looking at their finances more now than in previous years.
He’s even seen the younger population develop an interest in the market and savings accounts.
The bottom line is that the pandemic is going to end but our bills are going to continue and you must be willing to have a conversation if you feel stuck.