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Where to Go for Financial Education During the COVID-19 Crisis

By
Samantha Rose
Samantha Rose covers financial literacy for the educational arm of OppLoans. Her work focuses on providing hands-on resources for high school and college-age students in addition to their parents and educators.
Updated on March 18, 2021
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Four sources for educational support.

With a surge of layoffs and furloughs across the country, many Americans are experiencing unprecedented financial hardship. If you’re worried about covering bills, the best decision is to reach out and ask for help. But where can you turn for guidance?

Rely on financial education.

One result of the new economic reality is an increased demand for financial literacy resources. And nonprofits, government agencies, and financial institutions have stepped up in a big way.

Are you searching for financial education during COVID-19? Start here.

No. 1: Nonprofit organizations

Resources offered

  • Counseling
  • Educational materials
  • Resource lists

How they help

As the world reels from the pandemic, many nonprofit organizations are deciding how best to assist their communities impacted by the crisis. In the coming months and years, the need for financial literacy will likely increase. As a result, nonprofits are pivoting and strengthening preexisting financial resources.

Two clear missions have developed: to support Americans’ financial capability needs and to help them endure and recover from the pandemic. And most nonprofits provide services at no cost to those in their community. Assistance may include:

  • One-on-one counseling.
  • Financial education courses.
  • An information hotline.
  • A resource list.

Those struggling with a financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic should reach out to a nonprofit centered on financial education in their local community. Explore the organization’s offerings and resource lists.

Examples

Several nonprofit organizations are adjusting operations to best serve educators, learners, and staff. One is the National Endowment for Financial Education, which has reaffirmed its commitment to financial education.

Capital Area Asset Builders, a D.C.-based nonprofit, has seen a 25% increase in communications recently. The nonprofit offers free financial coaching to low-income residents — a service in high demand. Clients are primarily asking for advice about how to prioritize bills and have financial conversations with landlords and debt collectors. They want to know what to pay first, what to put on hold, and what to negotiate.

Financial educators and advocates have pivoted to keep financial services available. They are developing plans to respond to the millions of Americans in need of financial education as individuals work toward financial recovery.

No. 2: Government agencies

Resources offered

  • Educational materials
  • Resource lists
  • Financial relief

How they help

The U.S. government provides a wealth of financial resources to Americans. In fact, it established the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) in 2003. The commission developed a national strategy to address financial education and created accessible resources to do so.

Beyond the FLEC, other government agencies provide benefits to those dealing with financial hardships. For instance, welfare programs touch on issues of health, food, housing, and loss of income. Americans in need can turn to these agencies for education and assistance.

Examples

MyMoney.gov was created by the FLEC as a national financial education platform. The website is organized around five core financial principles — earn, save and invest, protect, spend, and borrow.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is responsible for protecting consumers’ finances. Check out the official website for up-to-date information about COVID-19. Follow the steps outlined on the site to secure your finances, both short- and long-term, during and after the pandemic.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) created Money Smart, a free financial literacy resource available to all. The website includes helpful financial management videos.

No. 3: Banks

Resources offered

  • Counseling
  • Debt management
  • Disaster relief
  • Educational materials
  • Payment options

How they help

Large banks and home-town banks have responded to the pandemic by increasing services and resources to customers. Assistance may include the following:

  • Waiving fees on late or missed payments.
  • Waiving penalties on early withdrawals.
  • Offering deferred or skipped payments.

Those impacted financially by COVID-19 should contact their bank for more information and to explore hardship relief options. Check to see if your bank is included on this Forbes list of banks offering coronavirus relief to customers. The FDIC compiled frequently asked questions about the impact of COVID-19 on banks.

Examples

Bank of America’s website contains a coronavirus help page with an informative video explaining the bank’s services during this time. Customers can contact one of Bank of America’s financial professionals to explore the best relief options available. This includes finding a solution for those unable to meet payments on credit cards, loans, and mortgages. In fact, Bank of America now offers online payment deferral requests.

Customers at Chase can expect the bank to continue to adapt throughout the coronavirus pandemic. A dedicated page on the Chase website provides resources to small business owners, including information on contingency planning.

Wells Fargo has committed to providing financial access, guidance, and support to its customers. Customers are encouraged to call the disaster assistance number to speak with a trained specialist about their options.

No. 4: Credit unions

Resources offered

  • Counseling
  • Debt management
  • Educational materials
  • Payment options

How they help

Credit unions provide traditional banking services. Many also offer financial education and counseling services.

The National Credit Union Administration encourages credit unions to assist members impacted by COVID-19 via special services during this time. Assistance may include the following:

  • Extending payment due dates.
  • Waiving fees on late payments and out-of-network ATM usage.
  • Offering deferred or skipped payments.
  • Extending responsible, small-dollar loans to individuals and businesses.

The National Credit Union Administration addresses the frequently asked questions of credit union members on its website. Members experiencing COVID-19-related financial difficulties should contact their credit union to work directly with the institution.

Examples

Connexus is a digital credit union, available nationwide. Members of Connexus Credit Union can access the member resource center. The site offers security tips, an FAQ, and detailed information about the member assistance program.

The State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) is a small, local credit union. It has financial relief programs for North Carolina members impacted by the coronavirus. Like many other credit unions, SECU has a vast member service support center available during these challenging times. Members can contact the credit union to speak with a representative about loan assistance, payment extension, and other financial concerns.

Many regional and local credit unions are offering similar services too. Check with yours to see how they can help.

Bottom line

Financial education can help you make smart decisions during tough times. Many groups are offering resources — just reach out!

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