The CARES Act has provided relief across the board. For those of us who have student loan debt, the CARES Act has come in with a plan to help manage those payments for the time being. But, is everyone covered?
There is no question about it. Student loans are a big deal. The education that came along with accruing the debt is priceless, but when that bill comes every month it can be hard to remember that. Although we have had some positive steps forward in our economy since the pandemic hit earlier this year, many of us are still dealing with financial strain. When money gets tight, the first things that come to mind are taking care of the essentials; a place to live, food, transportation, and your bills. For a lot of Americans, this has been hard to take care of. Student loans put pressure on many, regardless of what was going on in the country. Thankfully, when the CARES Act was signed, relief was finally here. Those with student loans were going to get a little break. But, did that mean everyone with student loan debt was going to feel this relief? Sadly, no.
The United States has seen relief and support in more ways than one through the ongoing pandemic of COVID 19. The CARES Act has been one such support system. It has provided small business loans, helped with those planning for retirement, given us our stimulus payments, and it also ushered in relief for the payment on student loans. According to Dave Ramsey and AmericanProgress.org around 43 MILLION adults in America have student loan debt. The CARES Act gave many Americans one less thing to worry about. It has allowed thousands of Americans to allocate these funds to keep food on the table and the lights on. While many of us waited for our stimulus checks to appear, this was cause for celebration. But, it didn't mean a celebration for every student loan holder. While this aid did help those 43 million Americans, it didn't help them all.
In any situation before the pandemic, to stop or pause your loan payments you would have to prove that you were financially unable to pay your loan. When you proved this, you would then qualify for a forbearance or deferment. These are the technical terms for putting your loan on hold. While your payments are paused, your loan continues to accrue interest while it's in forbearance. With the CARES Act, every federal student loan was automatically put in forbearance, your loan payments were paused, and no interest will accrue until its end date, according to Forbes and Dave Ramsey. You do have the option to continue your loan payments if you wish, and it is recommended you do so if you can afford it.
Did you notice the specific loans that are being taken care of by the CARES Act? Only federal student loans. These loans are personally owned by the United States Department of Education. Any other private student loans that are not federally owned will not be covered under the CARES Act. To give you a better idea, here is a list of federal and private student loans that are and are not covered:
As of now, according to Dave Ramsey, the loan forbearance and the 0% interest will last until September 30th. This could be extended, but only time will tell. Please note that this is not the government forgiving all of your federal student loan debt, nor are they paying your loan for you. Once the CARES Act ends, you will need to pick up where you left off. If the focus of your money needs to be survival, then take advantage of this opportunity. If you can keep paying your student loan, continue to do so. Regardless of your decision, take this time to save up as much as you can. If these last three months have taught us anything, being prepared is a must.
If you do have a private student loan, there are some companies out there that are offering some relief during this time, according to Forbes. This is not true of every company and they are not legally mandated to do so. If you are having issues paying your private student loans, call your loan company immediately and see if there is something you can do. If you are going to put your loan on forbearance, make sure to ask about the interest that will be built up.
This Act has done a lot of great things, but there is a darker side to it. According to Forbes, there was more damage done than relief. There have been reports that one, if not more, of the U.S. Department of Education loan services, reported borrowers loan status to credit bureaus. This very improper move lead to serious credit damage. Some have even had their tax refunds seized, illegally, by the Department of Education. The Department of Education claims that all tax funds have been repaid, but some citizens are still waiting. Lawsuits have even been filed, says Forbes.
As much as the CARES Act has helped, was it worth it? Will it be able to sustain the country in the months to come? As much as it has seemed to help a good number of people, it has also seemed to fail many others. If you have any questions about your finances during this time, need help with your tax payments or tax money for 2019 or 2020, please never hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you and our amazing community of Goose Creek! if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Are you utilizing your time properly and working as much as you need to be? Thanks to some easy to use tools and apps, you can monitor this with ease!
As we get back into a normal routine, returning to business and productivity as normal can be a little daunting. With so much happening in our community while we are adapting to many new changes, we wanted to share some of the best tips and tools on how to keep your small business productive.
Make sure you know exactly how much time you and your employees are spending on each client and project. There are multiple ways to track this progress with apps, a dial-in program on your work phone database, computer programs, and more. Make sure to review this time with your employees, and see if they are working wisely. Discuss with them if time needs to be added or if they're spending too much time on certain things. If they are spending too much time on certain projects or tasks, offer suggestions on how to use their time better. If their time is exactly what is needed to get every task and project done properly, make sure your clients are paying the correct amount for the hours you're working for them. Tracking hours like this can help you adjust your fees accordingly and to guarantee you and your employees are getting compensated properly. Toggl, Tsheets, and ResueTime are great examples of tools that can help you with this.
TO DO LIST
Managing your time is very important and so is managing your projects and everyday tasks. Being proficient in this will help keep your current clients very happy, help with getting the word out about how professional your company is, and be a huge draw to new potential clients. Being able to give very accurate timelines and project estimates is essential, and following through with them as promised will guarantee a happy client. Knowing what projects and tasks you have on your plate, knowing what order they need to be finished in, what their completion dates are, and which ones must be done right away are important to keep your sanity and productivity intact. Efficiency is a key proponent to the growth in any small business. Don't worry, there are many different kinds of task management software out there for you to use. You just need to find the right one for your companies particular workflow. When you're in the market for this kind of software, try out a few versions for free before committing to anything. This can save you a lot of time and hassle. Make sure you pick software that allows your whole company to use it and communicate in, and one that allows a calendar to be uploaded into it so deadlines can be set. Pick one that has an operating system that is flexible to your personal needs, and doesn't take a long time to learn. Pick one that can sync with your current applications, software, and with your website and social media platforms if needed. Trello, Basecamp, and Asama are three great examples to start with.
Make sure that once your small business is up and running that you have a solid program manager that allows you to control your website domain, emails, Eblasts, documents, and more. This will allow you to be in control of your domain and be able to manage your website without stress. It will allow you to send out eblasts, gather and store clients' emails for easy use and promotional purposes, and to keep all of your online documents organized and accessible. Squarespace, GoDaddy, MailChimp, and WordPress are great examples to start with. Also, use Google to your advantage. Their business tools are outstanding, easy to use, easy to access, and free!
DAY TO DAY
Social media management is a key player in your advertisement world. This can become very time consuming having to not only create all of your content, but also needing to remember to post at the correct times every day. Thankfully, there are plenty of programs available to you that allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time once they're created. You can also choose what platforms your content is being posted to, what times, how often, and more. Buffer, HootSuite, Agoraplaus, and Facebook Creator Studio are good choices to look into. Make sure when choosing the correct platform, that it allows you to post on all the social media sites you use. Some don't allow posts to Instagram, while others only allow you to post on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to read the fine print, try it out for free if you can, and only invest in a plan that you need. Your plan level will depend on how many accounts you're running, what platforms you're posting to, and how many posts you'll be posting every month.
Everyones ability to remember their ideas, tasks, projects and activities vary from person to person. You might believe that you can remember everything without writing it down. When working for or owning a small business, that's a difficult place to put yourself into. Avoid putting yourself into these situations and skip the possibility of forgetting something. Even if you're not someone who likes writing a list or keeping a handwritten planner, tons of wonderful apps can help you with this. Your smartphone is a great place to start, as it might already have a built-in calendar and note-keeping app. Google is also a great place to begin. They have a fantastic interface for both your computer and your smartphone. Other great apps to keep your to-do lists and notes organized are Evernote, Wunderlist, and Todoist.
Staying organized, communicating, and using your time wisely are three of the most important things to keep your small business productive. We hope these tips and suggestions help your company grow. If you have any questions or comments, never hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help our Goose Creek family and stand with you during these difficult times. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
The pandemic has affected us in many ways. Sometimes, it's difficult to keep up. For those who receive supplementary security income, receiving financial support has been an interesting battle.
Hello Goose Creek! We hope this finds you healthy and well. Times are still unsure, but there is a ray of hope in how our beautiful state is starting to open up bit by bit. The waves of financial help have been an interesting experience, and each of us has been affected in different ways. For those of you who receive supplementary security income or SSI, it has been a difficult and interesting experience to go through. But, there has been an update to your economic impact payment. In this blog, we will be discussing what this update is, how to apply for as much financial help as you can, and what this will look like for you over the next few years. These specific benefits for SSI recipients were created to help you as much as possible and to help care for and supplement your children.
For those new to the term, SSI pays benefits to adults with disabilities and also helps pay for children who have limited income and resources. It also financially helps those who are 65 years and older who don't have disabilities but who meet the financial limit and need assistance.
For those of you who collect SSI, you had until May 5th of this year to go to the IRS website and fill out the IRS non-filer tool to list and receive $500 for each of your qualifying children. A qualifying child is one that is 17 years old or younger who is under your care and your responsibility. If you did not make this May 5th deadline, you will have to wait until tax time of next year to apply and receive this financial help. Even if you did miss the deadline you will be able to (if you haven't already) receive your $1200 stimulus check. You will receive them either in paper form or through direct deposit. Please note that the IRS will be sending you these checks, not the Social Security Administration. If you have any questions about filing or any questions about a qualifying child, contact the IRS offices. Not the SSA.
Be aware, as we have mentioned in some of our recent blogs, there are a lot of scams out there targeting SSI beneficiaries directly. There is no fee or anything you have to give to receive your stimulus check or your impact payment for your qualifying children. The only thing you were required to do was to fill out the non-filer tax form on the IRS website. If you have already missed this cutoff, make sure to still apply and fill out this form. Even if you don't receive this money until next year, you are entitled to it. The information that the SSA gives to the IRS every year doesn't provide them with any information about your dependents (your qualifying children). Not filing at all will prevent them from knowing that you have dependents that qualify for this $500. If you did file on time, you should have started to see your money mid-May. You will receive the money just like you would with your normal SSI benefits. When you do begin this process and use the non-filer form, be prepared to create an account. You will need to provide information for each of your qualifying children. You will need to provide contact information, social security numbers, your address, email account, and phone number. Be prepared and have this information ready for when you do file.
Do NOT apply for this or through the non-filer form if you did end up filing your 2019 tax return. If you are required to file, this tool will not speed up the process of getting your payment, it will slow it down. If you are someone over 65 and you're caring for a child 17 years or younger, please know that you are also eligible for these benefits. If you missed the cutoff date, make sure to file for these benefits so you can receive them in 2020.
For everyone who receives SSI benefits and those who are eligible for this economic impact payment, we hope this helped. Don't forget, we are always here for a consultation if you need help! Never hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about your taxes, filing for taxes, and so on. We are here to help our Goose Creek family and stand with you during these difficult times. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
You can follow the Social Security Administrations Offices on Facebook, twitter, and their blog by following the links below:
For Updated information about the current pandemic and how it will affect you financially, visit the IRS website!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.