Advice

Advice to help during the government shutdown, as families worry about their finances – 13WHAM-TV


Steigert and his wife have $130 left – in coins. (Provided Photo)

ROCHESTER, NY (WHAM) -The ongoing government shutdown is leaving some families in a bind when it comes to arranging their finances.

Adam Steigert and his wife both work as federal employees. He, like others, is wondering if and when things will get back to normal.

The 21-day shutdown is causing employees to miss their paychecks.

Steigert and his wife have $130 left – in coins. His concern is clear to see.

“The uncertainty you know, it’s a drain,” he explained in a Skype interview with 13WHAM.

Steigert works for the Treasury Department in Buffalo. He’s currently furloughed and not getting paid. To top things off – he said he is undergoing surgery in a couple of weeks.

“It’s more of worried about us as a family, a unit,” he said.

As the money gets tight consumer credit experts suggest picking up the phone.

“First of all contact your creditors, your banks, your loans, talk to them about what’s going on,” said Lynette Baker, Director of Marketing for Consumer Credit Counsel Service of Rochester.

She believes most companies will understand what’s going on and are likely to offer short term solutions.

She advises anyone without a paycheck or out of work to first find help by contacting local agencies like the Department of Human Services.

Baker also suggests calling your utility providers. She said – explain what’s happening because they could offer you a deal.

Lastly, she said it’s important to take a close look at your budget by listing what essential payments need to be made.

“When you are out of a job you have to go to that bare bones budget,” Baker said.

Essential payments for some people could include paying your mortgage or loan.

“We are offering interest only on their loans, and are willing to work with them if there’s an issue with their checking accounts,” said Daniel Burns, Regional President for M&T Bank.

The company rolled out the options on Friday. Burns said customers could have options like deferring payments or taking out bridge loans.

“We’ve got a few customers now that are wondering how they are going to pay for grocers, day care,” he explained.

“Even in Rochester, New York there is an impact to the shutdown,” he added.

It’s unclear when the shutdown will come to an end. In the meantime, it’s crippling for many families across the country.

“Don’t forget about us because we are so important to the contribution of the United States,” Steigert added. He has started a GoFundMe page.

M&T bank representatives said federal employee customers can seek help by visiting their local branch.

People can also get advice at the Consumer Credit Counsel Service of Rochester

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