With the U.S. economy taking a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, many are concerned about its impact and the possibility of a recession.
The federal government has stepped in to try to stabilize the economy and help workers, enacting relief legislation that includes free testing and some paid sick time. A federal stimulus bill that could include cash payments to individuals is also being considered by lawmakers. These moves by Congress follow the Federal Reserve reducing interest rates to near zero.
During this time of great uncertainty, you may be asking about the personal financial steps to take in the near and long term. Here are some tips:
Manage Your Investments
Rule No. 1: Don't panic. Unless you expect to need money you've invested within the next three years, the conventional advice is that you should stay with your existing investment strategy and ride out the market turbulence.
If you need the money sooner than that, perhaps for living expenses now, you may have no choice but to sell regardless of the market's direction. If you can wait at least a few months, consider dividing the total you need into smaller amounts and withdrawing a fixed amount each month — a kind of reverse version of dollar-cost investing — to sell gradually over time.
Try to avoid tapping your 401(k), Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other tax-advantaged retirement savings early because if you access those funds, you'll likely have to pay income tax and an early withdrawal penalty. Borrowing against a retirement account may be a better option if you have no other choice, but keep in mind that you'll sacrifice any potential gains in your investments until you repay that loan to yourself.
If you're a long-term investor, you may view the market drop as an opportunity to increase or rebalance your investments. Market corrections from time to time are normal, and smart investors can capitalize on these fluctuations. Look for investments that fit your long-term strategy and are selling at a discount.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also triggered job layoffs, reduced hours, work-from-home schedules and smaller paychecks for many employees. If you've been impacted in this way, you may be able to:
- File a claim for state unemployment insurance benefits if you've lost your job.
- File a claim for state disability insurance benefits if you're unable to work because you're ill or
- File a claim for paid family leave benefits from your employer if you have to miss work to care for a sick relative.
Cover Your Bills
If you're concerned about meeting your basic monthly expenses, you may want to:
- Postpone major purchases until you feel more secure about your income.
- Create reminders for your credit card bills and other monthly payments, so you won't incur late
fees or hurt your credit scores.
- Watch out for scams that target people experiencing a financial hardship.
Plan for an Uncertain Future
Our thoughts continue to be with you during this challenging time, and Barclays is here to help if you
need us. As the situation evolves, things are changing rapidly, and we want to make sure you have all the information you need to manage your account as easily as possible.
All content provided in this blog supplied by Marcie Geffner and is for informational purposes only.
Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or
completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
For Barclays Customers: We are here to help.
As the situation evolves, things are changing rapidly, and we want to make sure you have all the
information you need to manage your account as easily as possible.
Call Center hold times increase:
During this crisis, our customers need our assistance more than usual, which has increased call volume. Like most Americans, many of our colleagues’ lives have been impacted by the
important precautions and measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Calling and speaking to a Relationship Manager may take longer than usual during this time, so we
encourage you to use our digital channels as much as possible.
Self-service online tools are available:
There are many online account management tools you can access from the comfort and safety of your own home, anytime you choose.
You can manage your account online and take care of a variety of routine tasks like making payments, viewing transactions and checking balances if you have a credit card or loan with us. Savings customers can make transfers, view transactions and check balances.
How to access your account online:
- Credit card customers can visit Barclays US
- Savings customers can visit Barclays US Online Banking
- Loans customers can visit MyBarclaysUSLoan.com
If you’ve never set up access to your account online, it is simple and easy to do. After you get to our
website, look for a link that says “Set up online access” which is located under the log in boxes.
You’ll need to have your credit card handy, and we’ll ask you some standard questions to verify your
Mobile app for consumer credit card and savings customers:
You can quickly download the mobile app by searching for “Barclays US” or “Barclays US Savings” in your phone’s app store. You can then access your account digitally at any time.
Update your contact details online:
We want to know how to reach you if necessary. Log in to your online account and update your personal profile.
Need to dispute a transaction? (Credit card customers only.)
If you need to dispute a transaction related to disrupted travel or event plans, please reach out first to the merchant to understand their cancellation policies - you may get it resolved faster by speaking directly to the merchant. If you are unable to resolve the matter with the merchant, please call us to file a dispute or mail your dispute to Card Services, P.O. Box 8802, Wilmington, DE *bleep*.
Business cardmembers can initiate a dispute by logging on to the website URL listed on the back of your card, by calling us, or mailing your dispute to Business Card Services, Billing Disputes P.O. Box 84030, Columbus, GA *bleep*.
Concerned about the security of your account?
Visit our Security Center to review how we protect your account and how to protect yourself against
phishing emails. If you're ever in doubt about the validity of a phone call, email, or text you receive, DO NOT provide your personal information. Please contact us, and forward any suspicious emails that reference Barclays to email@example.com.
We truly appreciate your business. We will continue to monitor the situation and are committed to
doing everything we can for our customers, colleagues, and communities. The latest information about the coronavirus is available at CDC.gov/coronavirus.