MT financial adviser gives tips on spending COVID-19 stimulus checks

Posted at 10:22 AM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 12:25:24-04

BILLINGS — As Americans await their COVID-19 stimulus checks, many may have questions for how to use that money to prepare for unknown financial burdens due to the pandemic.

Gary Buchanan, founder of Buchanan Capital in Billings, says that the best way to plan for financial security is to first plan out your finances to cover three months of food and any needed medication.

“Obviously, one check of $1,200 and some more money for your family can only go so far. But I would prioritize and plan on three months’ worth of food and three months’ worth of medicine… and then start to work on some other bills,” says Buchanan.

Americans who make under $75,000 annually will receive a $1,200 check. Couples who make less than $150,000 annually will receive $1,200 each, along with $500 per child.

U.S. Treasury officials say people who have direct deposit information on file with the IRS will receive payments within a few days. Checks will be sent to others within a few weeks.

After food and medicine are accounted for, Buchanan said it's important to focus on the remaining bills, he said.

“I think that many bills that are out there could be restructured with the creditors. Don’t just not pay them. Contact the creditors, whether it's utilities or local government or a financial institution,” says Buchanan.

Many homeowners have already been feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Buchanan says it's important to let your lenders know what your situation is so they can assist in easing financial struggles at this time.

People who are having trouble paying bills at this time should contact their creditor to see how they can help.