Getting financial help is like saving for retirement, the more vehicles the better. You don’t have to be choosy about the options you take advantage of, you can go after them all. You might not get them all, but you definitely won’t if you don’t try. With the rise of freelancers and the gig economy, the benefits are out there if you know where to look. Check out these below options for staying afloat through the economic uncertainty of this pandemic:
Tip 1: Grab All The Grants.
If you are a freelancer or contractor, you can apply for a $10,000 grant. Go to Covid19Relief.SBA.gov to fill out the application. You will need to estimate the revenue from the last 12 months and answer some basic questions about you and your business. Reportedly the Small Business Administration wants to get these grants out quickly to help “gig workers” but it’s currently unclear what the estimated timeline will be. Freelancers Union is also offering $1000 grants for freelancers.
tip 2: Benefits Are There For A Reason.
You could qualify for relief from the government. Keep a close eye on benefits.gov for the latest. As of now, adults get $1200, children get $500 and the check amounts are lowered with higher incomes. Make sure you are registered for direct deposit on the IRS.gov website. Beware of scammers contacting you by phone, email or snail mail asking for more information. No personal information is required, it’s all automatic based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.
tip 3: Talk – Even If It Feels Awkward.
Even though getting a raise or a bonus might not be a thing while we are reeling from this pandemic and tough financial times, more credit is. As you make the rounds with your bill and debt collectors to ask for a hookup in payment and/or deadlines, keep in mind that higher credit lines are always a good thing, especially if you don’t need it or aren’t using it all. A higher utilization score (the less of the allowable credit you use, the better), means a higher credit score. A higher credit score means lower interest rates when you need to borrow money. Additionally, while the CARES Act helped put an eviction freeze on mortgages that have federal backing, you can still ask for relief if you aren’t a homeowner. You can send your landlord a letter explaining your circumstances and asking for a deferral for a couple of months. You can also offer to have them use your security deposit for rent. Oftentimes landlords would rather take something than nothing. If they still aren’t budging, offer to pay half for the next few months.
TIP 4: Look To Tech.
Facebook and Google have launched grants and access to capital. While their sites are geared toward small businesses, you can apply for their grants and credits for their products if you were already looking to grow your business. There are also many resources being offered for free from many business-related sites like LinkedIn, Hootsuite and Shopify.
TIP 5: Get Expert Advice.
If you don’t have a financial advisor or you’re just not jiving with yours, it’s a good time to get someone you love. Financial planners and advisors are not just for the uber-wealthy. During the crisis, check out the Financial Planning Association and Foundation for Financial Planning’s websites. They are offering pro-bono work.
Some of the hardest words to say are “I need help,” especially during the times when you need help the most. While we are all trying to make sense of the “new normal,” or this “adaptation phase,” knowing what to do to help others is often easier than helping ourselves. But we all need help right now, and there’s no shame in doing what we need to survive. Remember – if you don’t ask, the answer is always no, and the same is true for not acting on these opportunities for help.
Nicole Lapin is the New York Times Bestselling author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch. She is the host of the nationally syndicated business reality competition show, “Hatched.” She has been an anchor on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Her third book, Becoming Super Woman, is out now. Sign up and learn more at The Money School.