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Here's Some Financial Guidance To Help You Navigate 2020

Bank of America's Better Money Habits® is here to help you with your financial questions during this new normal. Watch the video below.

The world is confusing right now, but your finances don't have to be. Bank of America® presents "Money Talks," a virtual conversation with real people and Bank of America® specialists discussing the financial questions we have this year. Watch now!

Bank of America® and BuzzFeed thought it was about time we talk through our questions, tips, and experiences...together.

We brought together people from around the country with a variety of backgrounds, goals, and questions.

We heard from people like Candace, who is working toward financial stability for her and her daughter; Rachel, who is hoping to better navigate medical debt alongside income loss; Ahmed, who lost his secondary income and is saving up for his wedding; Chelsey, who wants to know how to budget for childcare; and Amanda and Andrew, who want to manage debt and combine their finances.

Here are some timely tips we learned from the conversations with Bank of America® specialists:

1. Leverage your existing skills to navigate job loss or a pay cut.

An unexpected drop in income due to job loss or a pay cut can cause a budget crunch, but part-time or gig work can help you bridge the gap. First, consider what you’re good at and whether you can get paid for using those skills. Also, there are many side jobs that can supplement your income in the current environment, from being a rideshare driver to working from home as a customer support representative. Learn more about the moves to make after a layoff or reduction in pay at Better Money Habits®.

2. "Decision trees" are a great way to make financial decisions.

In a "decision tree," you lay out all of your options and the costs associated with each. It’s a great tool to help you plan out your short-term and long-term goals. For instance, it can come in handy if you’re navigating the costs of your child’s remote or hybrid education, childcare, your household budget, and your own career. Better Money Habits® has lots of resources to help you with your financial journey.

3. Assess all your debt to find the right payment strategy.

There are a few strategies to pay off debt. Consider making a spreadsheet with your debts organized by balance and interest rates. Once you know how much your debt costs, you can create a plan that helps you reduce it. The Snowball Method lets you chip away at the smaller balances, while the High-Rate Method has you pay off the highest interest rates first. Better Money Habits® offers resources on paying down debt and saving money for the future.

4. Make your medical debt manageable.

Medical debt can seem like a massive burden, but there are a lot of ways to make medical debt more manageable. Try contacting your creditors and negotiating for an adjustment on your bill; they may be able to lower your costs. Or you could look into working with a credit counselor to help you develop a plan on tackling your debt.

5. Teach your children about budgeting and saving early.

Set up a "contribution chart" for your kids that allows them to choose what they want to do around the house and what they want to do for themselves that week. This sets up structure for your kiddos and an environment where they start learning about their wants vs. their needs. And, of course, good old-fashioned piggy banks are a great way to teach about budgeting and saving.

Visit Better Money Habits® for more useful financial guidance and resources.