A recent GOBankingRates survey of 1,000 Americans based on inflation found that nearly 30% of respondents cannot currently pay all of their bills, while 23% have gone into debt to pay for everything. And things might not improve any time soon.
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According to a survey by the Washington Post and George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, most Americans expect the situation to get worse next year as prices rise. Another survey found that 70% believe a recession is coming, while about the same number are unprepared.
If your finances are in bad shape, here is a list of financial emergency resources you can use to get help right away.
If you’re employed but need financial help to get your next paycheck, use one of these finance apps to get a small cash advance. The amounts you can receive vary.
“With Chime’s SpotMe program, you can go over $200 on debit card purchases or cash withdrawals with no overdraft fees,” Choe said. “This is completely free of charge and will automatically apply your next direct deposit to your negative balance.”
home equity line of credit
“As home values go up, there’s a chance you’ll build some equity in your home,” said Taylor Jessee, director of financial planning, CPA and CFP(r) at Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management. “A home equity line of credit allows you to tap into some of that equity and turn it into cash. For example, if your home is currently worth $350,000 and your mortgage balance is $250,000, you have $100,000 of equity in your home. Banks will allow you to take out a line of credit against some of that equity, depending on your personal circumstances and general financial situation.”
Cash Value Life Insurance
“Permanent life insurance policies have a cash value component that works like a savings account,” Jessee said. “If you have a policy that is more than 10 years old, you probably have cash value hidden in that policy. A loan gives you access to cash value. Technically, you don’t have to pay back the loan because you’re essentially borrowing from yourself. However, if you do not repay the loan, your life insurance death payment will be less because the insurance company deducts the outstanding loan amount from the death benefit.”
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Kevin Huang, former Wall Street pro and CEO of Ambient Home, said, “LIHEAP is a federal program that helps low-income households pay their energy bills (water bills are not included). The program is administered independently by each state, so qualifications and application processes may vary from state to state.”
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Your local 211
“The 211 Line connects those in need with the appropriate resources or organizations that can help them,” Huang said. “They can direct you to resources for housing benefits, help paying utility bills, basic human needs, and other low-cost or free services. It’s like 911 for financial emergencies.”
“The Salvation Army provides emergency relief and homelessness prevention,” Huang said. “They can help with utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, emergency food, medication and more. Specific services vary by area.”
Temporary Assistance for Families in Need (TANF)
If you are pregnant, have a child 18 or younger, or are 18 or younger and are the head of household, you can apply for TANF, which provides financial assistance and support services such as childcare support, career preparation, and employment assistance.
make home affordable
If you are facing foreclosure on your home, learn about mortgage assistance options through Making Home Affordable, an official program of the US Treasury Department and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
If you meet the low-income directive, you can apply for a housing voucher. Note that the Housing Choice Voucher program typically has long waiting lists. If you are about to lose your home or are currently homeless, another resource is the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Find Shelter tool.
USDA National Hunger Hotline
Contact the USDA National Hunger Hotline at (866) 348-6479 or (877) 842-6273, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. EST to 10 p.m. EST. You can also find local boards and programs through Feeding America. Also, check with religious organizations in your area that operate a pantry.
Modest Needs is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to qualified individuals. You complete a free application for assistance, and if your application is approved, Modest Needs will wire payment directly to the creditor or seller listed on your application.
National Association of Free and Non-Profit Clinics
If you are uninsured or underinsured, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics is a resource for finding free or low-cost health care. Another way to find a free or low-cost community clinic near you is to “Find a Health Center.”
“There are a number of websites that allow people to crowdfund money for a variety of reasons, including financial emergencies,” said Professor Michael Collins, CFA of Endicott College and Founder and CEO of WinCap Financial. “For example, GoFundMe is a popular site that allows people to create campaigns to raise money for things like medical bills, education costs, and housing costs.”
If you’re having trouble paying off your debt, contact a credit counseling center. Keep in mind, however, that not all credit counseling services are created equal, and nonprofit doesn’t always mean free.
“There are a number of nonprofit organizations that offer financial help and support to those in need,” Collins said. “For example, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers free or low-cost counseling to help people get out of debt.”
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