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Creighton expert give financial advice for families during coronavirus

Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 00:11:46-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A Creighton University financial expert gave 3 News Now tips for families and small business owners on how to better manage their finances during the coronavirus pandemic.

Julie Kalkowski is the Executive Director of the Financial Hope Collaborative at Creighton. She said 18 percent of the households in the U.S. has someone who has been laid off or is working reduced hours and 67 million Americans are worried about paying their bills. In Nebraska, before the coronavirus pandemic, 56 percent of households were living paycheck to paycheck or they did not make enough income to cover their expenses.

“Financial stress is on steroids for millions of Americans,” Kalkowski said. “If you’re unemployed or your hours are cut back, you still need to pay your rent and your kids still need to eat you need to figure this out. This is a pandemic, it’s affecting us all health-wise, emotionally, physically. ”

For the typical household Kalkowski had a few tips. She said the most important thing was to create a spending plan for your family and track expenses. As well, she suggested cooking more, consider bundling or getting rid of unnecessary subscriptions and to limit credit card spending. She also said to not ignore your creditors and if you get a call that’s too good to be true, hang up because it’s likely to be a scammer.

“The federal government is not going to call you and ask you for your bank account number. So no matter what they tell you, do not give that stuff over the phone, do not text it, do not email,” Kalkowski said. “These people are persistent, creative and they will find ways to trick you.”

Kalkowski added that if anyone is feeling stressed financially they are not alone. She recommended people should not panic and if worried about paying bills they should call landlords, banks and utility companies and see if they negotiate a payment plan with them.

As well, for small businesses in the area Facebook announced it will be providing $125,000 in grants to 31 local business in Sarpy County as part of a larger $40 million program, with a special emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.