Iowans who are facing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic have another place they can turn for some sound, free advice.
Barb Wollan, of Webster City, is one of 11 family financial planners who work for the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Wollan says, “We realize that the most valuable thing we can do for Iowans during this time is to provide one-on-one consultations with families to help them figure out how to adjust their finances based on the new situation.”
Many Iowans are trying to cope with a pay cut or a complete loss of income, in addition to new expenses. “We want to equip families to get on that right away so that it doesn’t get too out of control,” Wollan says, “so that when this is all over and done with, they come out in the best possible shape that they can.”
The state is seeing unprecedented numbers of unemployed people with nearly 200,000 on continuing unemployment claims statewide last week alone. For some, it’s the first time they’ve applied to collect jobless benefits and it can be a difficult system to navigate.
“We know that the unemployment insurance system has been overwhelmed because of so many people losing income,” Wollan says. “People, even if they’ve done all of their paperwork and got everything in, it’s a while until they actually get their first check.” Wollan says she and the other financial planners are available by phone, email or for video chat.
Learn more by contacting the ISU Extension office in your county.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report.)