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Financial Tips Towards Federal Employees

Hundreds of South Dakota Federal Employees are currently out of work due to the recent Government shutdown. With no paycheck, financial problems often arise. There is a list that's been created to help citizens in South Dakota prioritize their money during this crucial time.

A financial group in Sioux Falls is helping South Dakotans decide which bills are more important than others for furloughed federal employees. Marley Prunty-Lara is with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. She says it’s important for federal employees out of work to keep track of their expenses and organize their bills.

"We want to know what money, if any, is coming in the door. But then also what do I have to pay now or what do I have to pay in the next week or two. So you want to have a calendar of expenses, when they’re due. Then the next step is contacting those folks, contacting those companies. Let them know, hey here’s what’s going on. I may or may not be able to pay you. What are my options," Prunty-Lara says.

Prunty-Lara says this can be a stressful time for people, so it’s comforting to know help exists. She says financial service advisors can help people prepare a day to day timeline while they aren't at work .

Below is the list created by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Sioux Falls.

1. Take inventory of income and resources.
•    Can you ask for alternate payment arrangements?
•    Are family and/or friends available to help?
2. Review all expenses.
•    Separate priority (needs) from discretionary (wants) expenses
3. Inventory your debt.
•    List amounts owed beginning with smallest balance
4. Prioritize bills.
•    Mortgage or rent payment
•    Utilities
•    Food (basic grocery needs for eating at home)
•    Healthcare costs (medications, copays)
•    Insurance
•    Vehicle payments
5. Communicate with creditors – in writing.
•    Mortgage – Make an appointment with us to discuss options.
•    Auto loans – Ask for refinance or modification, perhaps adding payments to back of loan.
•    Credit cards – Ask for forbearance or hardship plan – make sure you can honor your promise of new payment, or creditors will revert to collection methods.
•    Medical debt – Ask about forbearance or hardship options.
•    Student loans – Ask about forbearance or deferment.

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Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.