The U.S. President and his admin, made a $2 trillion, stimulus check relief package official to be disbursed to Americans who ”fit the criteria”. Naturally, every American’s mind was immediately plagued with questions about what the individual payouts might be. Among those looming questions, one basic query undoubtedly crossing the intelligent mind is – if I do get fortunate enough to qualify for a stimulus check, what’s the smartest or most prudent way to apply it? Do I spend it right away? Pay some outstanding debt? Buy that item or items I’ve been putting off, or save it for a rainy day as we do not know how long this pandemic is built to last.
The question becomes even more important when the amount being paid is expected to be in the area of $1200 for individuals or $2400 if you are married. Also, parents will get an extra $500 for each child under the age of 17. For so many Americans, these are no small amounts. Making the right decisions regarding spending when the checks do in fact arrive could be paramount .
This list is not at all extensive. It’s your money once it arrives and as such. there are countless things you can choose to do with it. This article will aim at providing you with 5 smart ways to go about properly apportioning your Stimulus Check.
Invest your stimulus check on the essentials:
If you’ve been forced out of work and currently staying at home, struggling to find a replacement job amid the COVID-19 chaos, you might need the money for your basic needs. In this case, it may be prudent to sit down and make a list of all the essentials you are going to need during the lock-down. From groceries to rent or mortgage payments, credit card bills, or maintenance of the family vehicle. Leave nothing out.
Once the list is made, time to re-order and prioritize items more essential than others. For survival, we know we each need Food, Shelter and Clothing. Above all else, meeting these three essentials should take precedence over any items on your recently compiled list.
Spending your Stimulus check to cover short-term needs is a situation-dependent decision: Your specific situation, coupled with your list, will determine what needs come before others.
Boost your savings with your stimulus check:
If you have your essential needs covered, an ideal when it comes to making a decision about this inflow of cash can be to add it to your savings. Savings are always important. They are important during progression, during regression, in peace, in war, and during a period of crisis like we are currently experiencing. Economists agree that businessmen and jobholders alike should save, as savings can be converted into investments when needed. No doubt, life happens. For some of us, having savings piled up in the past has been the difference in tough and perhaps even life and death situations
Another benefit of your savings could be impact your savings has on the community around you. If you have saved enough and don’t need it on an urgent basis, you may find yourself in the unique position to lend the money to someone who is in dire need of it, or give in some way to the next person. As Americans, the sheer joy of being able to pull each other up and extend a hand in time of need is what makes us, at the core, who we are.
You’ll find plenty of needy and helpless amid the Coronavirus crisis. There is nothing more personally gratifying than you helping your fellow citizens with the little you have and creating a chain reaction of paying it forward.
Invest for the Future:
Contrary to what most of us believe,the option of building investments remains a viable one, and perhaps is even more cogent during the crisis. However, a few things must be kept in mind before embarking on any investment.
- What type of investments channels or options do you have in mind?
- How aggressive on an investment do you have the stomach for?
- How much exactly are you looking to invest, and
- For how long are you willing let the investment ride out?
The answers provided to the above will assist you in painting an adequate picture of what type of investments to look out for. If for instance you were looking for something to pay you regular monthly dividends, ETFs may be the best way to go.
Betterment and Wealthfront are two of the most popular robo-advisors out there and very often written about on my blog. I have accounts with both. Saving for a new car for my bride with Betterment, and saving for the kids college with Wealthfront. Do your own due-diligence of course in deciding which of these, if either, to go with.
Betterment and WealthFront are best for….
- Investors with short to medium term outlooks.
- Investors looking to diversify their portfolios without having to do extensive research.
A more permanent, or longer-term investment may nudge you in the direction of Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT. Fundrise’s eREITS offer up a good avenue to invest in private commercial and residential real estate deals. The highly illiquid nature of the eREITS may be exactly what you are looking for since the company itself advises against looking for any redemptions of your shares in its REITS for at least 3 to 5 years.
Fundrise is best for…
- Those looking to invest in real estate with long-term goals
- Landlords who want the benefits of land-lording, without the hassle
- Investors not shy about doing their own due diligence and homework
If the unfortunate crisis prolongs and the economies around the world remain closed, your investment in a steady growth portfolio of stock and ETFs or in the crowdfunding Real Estate space could prove to be one of the best things for you that come out of this painful time the world is currently experiencing.
No matter how small your initial investment figure is (most of these options mentioned above you could hop on for very little initially and build from there), you would be starting something new, and sustainable, that could form the bedrock of you building your own portfolio beyond your thoughts.
My advise, invest with patient optimism. The U.S. economy will be back. No one, not even the experts, can predict when, but it will be back. Jumping in while things are down could be a great thing for savvy investors.
Student loans… Student loans… Student loans:
Student loans get the fourth spot on our list of 5 smart things you can do with your stimulus check because debt, and student debt in particular, has ruled the headlines and remained a hot debate topic in the USA for a while now. From aspiring presidential candidate running an entire campaign on student loan talk to senate committees trying to offer up solutions to the growing crisis, student loans have remained in the fore-front of the news.
If you find yourself currently trapped in a web of student loans, your stimulus check could provide some relief to your outstanding balance and get you that much closer to finally being rid of that debt.
Health and Wellness:
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the world on notice and sadly, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions at greater risk than others. Current data available to researchers and experts shows that to date, senior citizens suffer the most severe symptoms if they do contract the virus. Apart from being at an increased risk, there’s the emotional toll of being isolated from loved ones, friends and neighbors for fear of exposing our grandparents and seniors who are greater disposed to falling ill.
You can spend the stimulus check on your health and wellness in the form of personal protective gear, online health classes, and perhaps even electronic gadgets that would allow you to stay connected to those closest to you whom you cannot be with in person.
To summarize, the question of what to do with your stimulus check should not be tasked lightly. The five smart things that you can do with your stimulus check are: spend it on immediate needs, add to your savings, start or boost your investments, reduce your student loan debt, or on health and wellness ideas for yourself or loved ones.
Set your own priorities. The situation would look a little different from one person or family to another. You could of course choose to explore one or more of the avenues mentioned above – as well as others of your own.