Shield your income

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If the global health crisis has taught us anything, it’s that everyone is susceptible to an unexpected illness or injury.

No matter how young or healthy you are, there’s always a risk that a surprise medical issue could leave you too sick to work and affect your ability to pay your bills.

Well, there’s an easy way to protect yourself from the financial strain of a long term health problem — disability insurance.

There are free services online that can help you find a policy in just minutes. All you have to do is answer a few quick questions, choose the plan that fits your needs, and apply. Plans start as low as $9 a month.

You can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, but having disability coverage will ensure that you’ll still be able to support yourself and your loved ones.

DO hoard for your emergency fund

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For years financial experts have been advising us to keep enough money stashed away to cover six months of our normal expenses — now we all know why, thanks to the pandemic.

Americans from every walk of life have suddenly found themselves without their usual source of income, and those who failed to plan ahead by building an emergency fund are already feeling the pinch.

If you don’t have as large of an emergency cushion as you’d like — or any at all — it’s not too late to start saving. Even just $60 a month (around $2 a day) can make a big difference over time, especially if you’re smart about where you put it.

The best place to keep your emergency fund is in a high-yield savings account. That way your savings will accumulate interest and your money will grow over time. Interest rates can vary from bank to bank, so be sure to check out today's savings account rates.

Don’t neglect your student loans

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If you're still stuck with debt from a federal student loan, the government has announced that your payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020 until September 30, 2020, and that the interest rate will be set at 0% during this period.

However, if your loan came from a commercial lender, you’re probably still on the hook for your payments. And although some lenders may allow you to defer payment for a few months during the pandemic, chances are good your debt will still be accumulating interest.

If you want to avoid getting dragged down by interest, you should look into refinancing your loan. Refinancing to a lower rate cuts the interest added to your loan and shrinks your monthly payment.

There are companies online that make it easy to find the lowest possible rate, and you may be able to bring down your monthly payment substantially.

Shopping around for a lower interest rate is free and it won’t hurt your credit score, so you might as well see what’s out there. In times like these, every dollar helps.

Leave your family $1 million

Happy multiethnic family sitting on floor with children.
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Another difficult lesson the coronavirus has taught us is that life is fragile, and everything can change in an instant. It’s important to plan ahead and to protect your family in case something unexpected happens to you.

The simplest way to ensure your loved ones will be financially secure when you’re gone is to set up a life insurance policy.

Although you might be worried that the pandemic has made it harder to get life insurance, or caused premiums to go up, that’s not the case. In fact, there are companies online that can help you find the lowest cost policy with just a few clicks.

If you’re young and healthy, now is the perfect time to lock-in a low rate on a life insurance policy — you can get up to $1 million in coverage for as low as a dollar a day.

Reduce your monthly bills

Woman in protective mask driving a car on road.
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It should be much easier to get a better rate on car insurance during the pandemic.

With the state of the economy so uncertain, many of us have been forced to learn how to get by on a lot less than we’re used to.

A smart way to cut down your spending is to go through your bank statements and highlight any essential expenses that you could be paying less for.

Two good places to start are your cable and cellphone bills. Try calling your providers and negotiating a discount — many telecom companies will offer you a reduced rate if they think you might cancel your service.

Another easy way to save some money each month is to shop around for a better rate on your car insurance.

The pandemic puts you in a stronger position to lock in a lower rate because you're probably not driving nearly as much and may be likely to continue working from home once the crisis is over. You can compare plans from multiple insurers and potentially save hundreds of dollars a month.

Many auto insurance companies have even been offering customers partial refunds because of the reduced driving.

About the Author

Shane Murphy

Shane Murphy

Reporter

Shane is a reporter for MoneyWise. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Western University and is a graduate of the Algonquin College Scriptwriting program.