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Local financial expert shares tips to staying afloat during COVID-19

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DULUTH, MN-- Week by week the number of people filing for unemployment continues to grow as businesses are closing down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barry Bigelow from Great Waters Financial in Duluth says a record number of people across the country have filed for unemployment.

"Ten million people filed for unemployment in the last two weeks in March."

Bigelow said as many as ten million people in the last two weeks have filed. "A very overwhelming number for many," he added.

"We were adding jobs every month and now all of a sudden we are losing jobs very very quickly, and that doesn't happen- even in a recession, it typically slowly ticks down over time and you might gain speed on the way down but this is happening overnight.”

While Bigelow expects this to get worse, there are some things you can do now to keep you afloat financially.

#1 Adjust your budget:

"When they hear the word budget they cringe a little bit because it feels restrictive but really all it is telling your money where to go ahead of time."

Write out your 'new' budget. List all your expenses, including fixed expenses, then determine how much income you have coming in.

#2 Review your savings:

For those who are still getting a paycheck, Bigelow says if you have the ability to put additional money away, do it.

"We don't know how bad this is going to get and if you're able to save more into the stock market this is a great opportunity to shave years off of your working career by being able to invest in the stock market when it's down."

#3 Stay on top of your communication:

"Make sure you're in constant communication with the people you owe money, especially if you're going to miss a payment."

Before taking on any form of debt, research other options. You might also try negotiating some of your current bills to avoid taking out a loan.

Bigelow says ultimately, he believes the solution is not going to come from Congress or the president. It will come from the people.

"If you are one of the fortunate few and you see someone that needs a hand I would recommend helping them because that’s only going to build a better community, it’s only going to build a better economy where people can get back to work sooner," suggested Bigelow.

Lyanne Valdez

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