May 2020 Newsletter (COVID & the CARES Act, student loans in forbearance, the heirarchy of cash flow, staying healthy)Submitted by Dorval & Chorne on May 5th, 2020
By Keagan Kinsella | May 1, 2020
Welcome back to the second edition of my monthly newsletter! Another month of social distancing, Zoom-hangouts, and turning on the news and knowing exactly what the headlines will be... There are lots of numbers flying around, whether it be COVID cases, the stock market (the S&P 500 was down double digits March, and up double digits in April!), the unemployment rate, or the price of a gallon of gasoline (stay tuned for more about why gas is so cheap). There will also be numbers in this newsletter, but my hope is they will be more relatable and fun to you!
In this newsletter I will share:
- Five key things to know about the CARES Act (and what it means for you!)
- Question of the month: Student loan edition
- Video: How to prioritize your cash flow (what to do with your stimulus check!?)
- My favorite online home workout videos
- Recipe of the month: Gooey Chocolate Chip Mug Cake (Protein packed!)
The CARES Act in 5 bullet points: What you should know!
There have been big events that have occurred since the last newsletter. One I will focus on today is the CARES act, which was passed by Congress on March 27th, 2020. It offered over $2 trillion in economic relief to Americans to help mitigate hardships caused by COVID-19. If you, like me, were curious as to what the acronym CARES stand for? It's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security. You could spend hours looking at the details of the act, but here are 5 main takeaways that everyone should know!
- Stimulus checks were issued for up to $1,200 (if you file single, or head of household), and up to $2,400 if you file married-jointly. There are income limitations that can affect the amount of your check. Check out my video below where I chat more about what to do with this new found cash!
- Federal unemployment benefits were increased by $600/week (through July 31, 2020) for those who are eligible. Eligibility requirements are now expanded to include those who work part time and self employed.
- Student loan payments on federally issued loans have been temporarily suspended until September 30th. Over that time, interest will be 0%. Check with your loan provider to make sure you are eligible. Later in the newsletter, I will answer a question about managing federal student loans that are currently on a temporary hiatus.
- Small businesses may be eligible for loans (likely you have heard of the PPP, which is one of the most common), but the government has also been providing financial aid to large corporations/industries (ie: airlines!) with hopes to provide economic stabilization.
- The federal tax filing deadline was moved from April 15 to July 15, 2020, which means you have an extra three months to file and pay your federal taxes. There have been various temporary changes that relate to retirement planning as well. Some of which include: 2020 RMDs (required minimum distributions) being waived, and 401k loan rules/taxation changes.
Check out the video I made about the Heirarchy of Cash Flow!
Question of the month: Student loans and COVID Crisis--what to do!?
The question I received was "I have both federal and private student loans, now that the federal loans--some of which at higher interest rates, will have deferred payments and interest, should I look at refinancing any of my loans now that rates have dropped?"
There are a few different parts of this question. Wouldn’t it be nice to refinance federal loans to lower rates and to take advantage of the federal loan payment freeze so when September 30th rolls around, you’re at a lower interest rate? Well, unfortunately...Federal student loan refinancing is done by private lenders, so when federal loans are refinanced, the new loan is a private student loan. So I would hesitate to take any action on federal loans until the loan freeze is over—but you could look into private student loan refinancing, and definitely check into the options loan refinancers are offering. For Minnesota residents, one of the refinancing tools we’ve had people have good experiences with is the MN SELF REFI Program. On their website, they actually do say they are offering a temporary 0% interest rate due to COVID-19 (see the image nearby). So, this is a great example of why you should check with your loan provider- private or not- to see if they have changed their guidelines. Visit our website to read a blog Dan wrote a couple years ago about the program (Read more here!). Rates have decreased since the start of the year though, so it could be a good option to consider!
Another month of quarantine workouts... How I'm staying motivated!
Another month of gyms being closed...another sad Keagan! While the nicer weather helps expand my workout options from the limited space in my living room (bike rides and hill workouts have now entered the mix!), I have found a couple great no-equipment home workout videos on YouTube that have become my go-tos. Finding new videos keeps things interesting and fun, so I stay motivated! If you're looking for some inspiration, check out two of my favorites:
- Whitney Simmons: 18 MINUTE AB AND HIITWORKOUT *NO EQUIPMENT*
- Pamela Reif: 20 MIN FULL BODY WORKOUT - Intense Version
Oh, and if you missed the "Killer quarantine workout" I created in my newsletter in April... I have received feedback that it was indeed quite killer! Check it out here and give it a try! April 2020 Newsletter
Of course, a workout would not be complete without a post-workout snack!
It's recipe time... Here is my favorite protein double chocolate chip gooey mug cake. All you really need is protein powder and a mug, and you can get creative with what you add! Here are the ingredients I use...
Gooey Chocolate Chip Mug Cake
- 1 scoop protein powder (I use plant-based vegan protein)
- 1 tbs. sugar free pudding mix (chocolate or vanilla)
- 1 tsp. baking powder, cocoa powder, and cinnamon
- 1 tbs. unsweetened apple sauce
- A splash of egg whites
- Almond milk until consistency like cake batter
- Sprinkle in chocolate chips
- Microwave for 30-45 seconds until firmer but still gooey
Check out the before and after of digging into the mug cake, and tell me that doesn't look irresistible...
All right, that’s it for this week! Stay tuned for my next newsletter where I will continue to share and inform in new and creative ways. If you want to sign up for the newsletter email, visit www.dorvalchorne.com and enter your email address on the pop up at the top of the screen. And let others know they can sign up!
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