Coronavirus questions answered: Financial experts on what do after losing your job

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Speaking from Franklin, Tenn., on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, Ramsey Solutions personal finance experts Rachel Cruze and Ken Coleman answered your financial questions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Question: I lost my job. What financial moves do I need to make immediately?

“The first thing I want to do is, I want to encourage you that just because you lost your job, your dream, your career hasn’t disappeared,” Coleman said. “So you’re going to have to prioritize right now.”

“This is about meeting the four basic needs. This is about your home, this is about your transportation, this is about your utilities and this is about food, and so what I want you to do is get a job,” he continued. “There are jobs that are exploding in certain industries, while we’re seeing others contract.”

He noted that pharmacies, grocery stores and delivery services are among those that are currently hiring to keep up with demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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“What you got to focus on is this is temporary, short term,” he said. “So swallow your pride. If you’ve got to stock shelves at night and deliver stuff during the day, that’s what you do.”

“You’ll get back into that career, into that purposeful work,” Coleman added.

Question: I do not have an emergency fund and I’m worried I could lose my job. I also have a lot of debt. Any advice?

“Just because you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job, that’s not the facts,” Cruze noted. “But if you are in an industry where you say, ‘OK, I probably am going to lose my job,’ then pause all paying on debt, just pay the minimal payments and stack up a huge emergency fund, stockpile money.”

“But if you are in an industry that you think ‘I am not going to lose my job,’ continue to pay your debt,” she advised.

Question: I almost got my dream job, but now they’re on a hiring freeze. I need to earn money. What type of job should I go after?

“You are looking for any opportunity to just bring in some income,” Coleman stressed.

He advised that during this period, it would be a good idea to use any downtime to prepare for “go time.”

“In the next two, three months, I believe you’re going to see the economy beginning to come back online, people getting back to work,” he said, adding that if someone has been laid off, furloughed, or even working in a job they did not like, this time period “could be a moment to shift.”

“I want you to be preparing, learning, reading, watching what you can do in the downtime to get ready for go-time because it’s coming and I want you to be ready,” Coleman said.

Question: My credit card company has offered deferred payments. Should I take it or continue to pay as usual?

“If you’ve lost your job, make sure those four walls are covered: Food, shelter, utilities and transportation. If that’s covered, then continue to pay on those debts,” Cruze said in response.

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She added that if someone lost their job, then they should take advantage of the grace period.

“There are a lot of industries right now that are giving grace periods without extra interest or fees, so if you’re in a position where can you only do your needs, those four walls, then go ahead and take the grace period,” Cruze said, adding that “if you’re still making an income, go ahead and stay current on your debt.”