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The Real Financial Impact Of The Government Shutdown On Workers – Forbes

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Alex Edelman/Bloomberg© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

We’re in the 24th day of the partial government shutdown, and for many of the 800,000 federal workers affected (and let’s not forget about the 4 million contractors), this means by now they’ve missed their first paycheck. While not getting paid has an obvious negative effect on a worker, the real financial impacts of this shutdown are far-reaching. And the longer the shutdown goes on, the more the problems snowball.

  • Day to day living: Each of the 800,000 federal workers not being paid is directly and negatively affected by not receiving a paycheck this month. How they are affected can vary in impact. To some, it may mean they need to tighten their budget, stop spending on items the don’t need and limit their activities. For others, the impact is far worse. A Post analysis found that half of these workers do not have a college education, and 14 percent make less than $50,000. For these workers, some living paycheck to paycheck, missing just one could mean they can’t pay their mortgage, bills, credit cards, student loans, buy groceries, etc.
  • Mortgage and home purchases: If you live in a house, you have to pay for it whether you’re getting a paycheck or not. Zillow estimates that federal employees who are not being paid during the shutdown and own their homes pay about $249 million in monthly mortgage payments. And renters are being hit too. A recent HotPads analysis found that renters within that group pay about $189 million for housing each month. And the housing problems aren’t limited to making mortgage payments. With Federal Housing Administration operating with limited staff, loans may be delayed which will leave buyers unable to complete their purchase. Zillow estimated that as many as 39,000 mortgages could have been affected. Again, this will affect the lower income the hardest as many of these buyers use FHA-insured loans because of leniency with smaller down payment and credit requirements.
  • Paying Debt: If you owe on student loans, you are still expected to pay them even if you are a federal worker not receiving a paycheck. And while many credit cards and lenders are working to provide relief for the workers affected (see below), some are not. Workers not getting paid may be more likely to default on loans and credit cards, resulting in fees and credit problems. If you cannot pay your debt, be sure to call your lender and see if they can provide a temporary relief program for you during the shutdown.
  • Loans: To get through the shutdown some families are forced to take out a loan. While many lenders are trying to work with borrowers to help them through the shutdown with reduced fees and rates (see below for examples), those borrowing will come out of this with debt that will have to be paid off.
  • Those paid by federal workers are losing income: If a federal worker isn’t getting a paycheck, and doesn’t know when they will get their next one, it’s time to make some tough choices and prioritize. If you have to choose between your nanny or mortgage, you’re probably going to let go of your nanny. So now, it’s not just the federal worker without a paycheck, it’s the people who work for them. Then when you look at places like Washington DC, which is being hardest hit – restaurants, cab drivers, construction and other local businesses may be suffering as well.
  • Dwindling Savings: For those lucky enough to have an emergency fund, or extra savings – it may not be enough if the shutdown continues. For those with only retirement savings, they may need to tap into these accounts soon (if they haven’t already). While there are financial hardship withdrawal options available, those withdrawals permanently deplete those critical retirement savings.
  • Government assistance for low-income families: While the effect of the shutdown is not currently felt by most Americans, millions could be financially impacted if it isn’t resolved soon – with the poor being the hardest hit.

As the shutdown continues, financial regulators have urged financial institutions to work with consumers to minimize the damage and help people through the gap until the government fully reopens.

Specific efforts include:

  • Credit unions across the country are working to help families affected. FedChoice, The US Employees Credit Union, Launch Federal Credit Union, Space Coast Credit Union, Justice Federal Credit Union  and Navy Federal Credit Union are a few examples of those providing assistance programs.
  • Some local and national banks are providing relief by: waiving certain fees, allowing customers to break certificates of deposit early and / or offering low rate loan programs. Be sure to check with your bank if you are affected.
  • Some creditors such as credit card companies, mortgage companies and lenders are providing some relief. Make sure if you’re affected, you contact any creditors to discuss possible options. The US Office of Personnel Management provides sample letters to creditors and mortgage companies.
  • Massive companies like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon are offering relief in the way of reduced fees and payment schedules. Additionally hotels, restaurants and other local businesses are pitching in across the country to provide much needed assistance to federal workers.

For now, there’s no end in sight for the shut down as lawmakers enter another week without a resolution.

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Alex Edelman/Bloomberg© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

We’re in the 24th day of the partial government shutdown, and for many of the 800,000 federal workers affected (and let’s not forget about the 4 million contractors), this means by now they’ve missed their first paycheck. While not getting paid has an obvious negative effect on a worker, the real financial impacts of this shutdown are far-reaching. And the longer the shutdown goes on, the more the problems snowball.

  • Day to day living: Each of the 800,000 federal workers not being paid is directly and negatively affected by not receiving a paycheck this month. How they are affected can vary in impact. To some, it may mean they need to tighten their budget, stop spending on items the don’t need and limit their activities. For others, the impact is far worse. A Post analysis found that half of these workers do not have a college education, and 14 percent make less than $50,000. For these workers, some living paycheck to paycheck, missing just one could mean they can’t pay their mortgage, bills, credit cards, student loans, buy groceries, etc.
  • Mortgage and home purchases: If you live in a house, you have to pay for it whether you’re getting a paycheck or not. Zillow estimates that federal employees who are not being paid during the shutdown and own their homes pay about $249 million in monthly mortgage payments. And renters are being hit too. A recent HotPads analysis found that renters within that group pay about $189 million for housing each month. And the housing problems aren’t limited to making mortgage payments. With Federal Housing Administration operating with limited staff, loans may be delayed which will leave buyers unable to complete their purchase. Zillow estimated that as many as 39,000 mortgages could have been affected. Again, this will affect the lower income the hardest as many of these buyers use FHA-insured loans because of leniency with smaller down payment and credit requirements.
  • Paying Debt: If you owe on student loans, you are still expected to pay them even if you are a federal worker not receiving a paycheck. And while many credit cards and lenders are working to provide relief for the workers affected (see below), some are not. Workers not getting paid may be more likely to default on loans and credit cards, resulting in fees and credit problems. If you cannot pay your debt, be sure to call your lender and see if they can provide a temporary relief program for you during the shutdown.
  • Loans: To get through the shutdown some families are forced to take out a loan. While many lenders are trying to work with borrowers to help them through the shutdown with reduced fees and rates (see below for examples), those borrowing will come out of this with debt that will have to be paid off.
  • Those paid by federal workers are losing income: If a federal worker isn’t getting a paycheck, and doesn’t know when they will get their next one, it’s time to make some tough choices and prioritize. If you have to choose between your nanny or mortgage, you’re probably going to let go of your nanny. So now, it’s not just the federal worker without a paycheck, it’s the people who work for them. Then when you look at places like Washington DC, which is being hardest hit – restaurants, cab drivers, construction and other local businesses may be suffering as well.
  • Dwindling Savings: For those lucky enough to have an emergency fund, or extra savings – it may not be enough if the shutdown continues. For those with only retirement savings, they may need to tap into these accounts soon (if they haven’t already). While there are financial hardship withdrawal options available, those withdrawals permanently deplete those critical retirement savings.
  • Government assistance for low-income families: While the effect of the shutdown is not currently felt by most Americans, millions could be financially impacted if it isn’t resolved soon – with the poor being the hardest hit.

As the shutdown continues, financial regulators have urged financial institutions to work with consumers to minimize the damage and help people through the gap until the government fully reopens.

Specific efforts include:

  • Credit unions across the country are working to help families affected. FedChoice, The US Employees Credit Union, Launch Federal Credit Union, Space Coast Credit Union, Justice Federal Credit Union  and Navy Federal Credit Union are a few examples of those providing assistance programs.
  • Some local and national banks are providing relief by: waiving certain fees, allowing customers to break certificates of deposit early and / or offering low rate loan programs. Be sure to check with your bank if you are affected.
  • Some creditors such as credit card companies, mortgage companies and lenders are providing some relief. Make sure if you’re affected, you contact any creditors to discuss possible options. The US Office of Personnel Management provides sample letters to creditors and mortgage companies.
  • Massive companies like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon are offering relief in the way of reduced fees and payment schedules. Additionally hotels, restaurants and other local businesses are pitching in across the country to provide much needed assistance to federal workers.

For now, there’s no end in sight for the shut down as lawmakers enter another week without a resolution.

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