LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Everyone's heard the saying about being one paycheck away from being broke. When the pandemic started, thousands of people lost those paychecks and financial disaster hit. But as 13 Action News Anchor Tricia Kean shows us, there's help available for people looking to rebound.
"When you look at the budget they have in place as far as basic bills; rent, car payments, major bills, that's not changing because of the pandemic. Those are still there," says Sheryl Snearl, a support counselor for Money Management International.
The nonprofit is helping locals struggling with debt, budgeting and housing concerns.
COULD SAVE MONEY
"It just takes me as a counselor, someone to actually sit here and bring it to your attention, where you could save some money," said Sheryl.
MMI counselors will actually crunch the numbers for you, creating a budget based on your income and expenses. In some cases, Sheryl says they can actually help cut down on some costs.
SEE ABOUT DEFERMENTS
"We're able to get them to the creditors to see about deferments. We also have extended modification solution programs in place that allows us to help them for at least three months to lower their payments to meet their reduced income," said Sheryl.
MMI says its national call volume jumped 20 times from February to March.
DISTRESSED RENTERS & HOMEOWNERS
"Some of that was due to our partner referrals. We have a rather robust program with Fannie Mae, where they refer distressed renters and homeowners to us for counseling," said Thomas Nitzsche with MMI.
Nitzsche says they can also help you save on everyday expenses like groceries and medication, plus save on things like car insurance and cellphone costs. He says it's the kind of support that's usually more helpful than what you may find on your own.
"While it's a great idea to do research, you've got to be careful. Googling during a time like this is sort of like going on Web MD when you're suffering an illness. You might misdiagnose or land on a scamming website, a credit doctor or settlement company, that's not really looking out for your best interest," said Nitzsche.
CLIENTS WISH THEY CALLED SOONER
MMI says their average client has more than $20,000 of debt, and it takes time to pay that off. So the sooner you start working on it, the better.
"I think that recurring theme that you see in our clients of wishing they called a few months earlier or maybe even a few years earlier, the only regret people tend to experience after coming to us is that they didn't call sooner," said Nitzsche.
As for Sheryl, she admits taking that first step is often the most difficult. But the pandemic has led many Nevadans to realize they need help with their finances.
"Everybody has bills. I totally, totally understand... Everybody is experiencing something that they've never experienced before. So we're here. We'll work through it," said Sheryl.