For Individuals & Families

In-Post Shortcuts: For Individuals & Families

Answers to the most common questions:

What exactly should I get and when?​

3 interrelated questions:
What if I can’t go to work or get laid off?
What if one of us gets sick from COVID-19?
What if our childcare is shut down and I can’t work?

What should I do with my stimulus check?

To jump to the Business & Non-Profits section click here.

Answers to the most common questions:

Will I have to pay back the Stimulus money on my 2020 taxes?
No, that is a rumor stared by people that do not know any better.
There are no strings attached, and you will not have to pay it back.
Basically, the U.S. government labeled the stimulus checks as a “tax credit” so that it could use the IRS system to send out the checks.

Should I take a forbearance from my mortgage?
Some mortgage lenders are offering a 90 and even 180 day forbearance.  Forbearance is not forgiveness, and it just extends the length of time to pay off your house. If, and only if, you need the money- then take the forbearance. If you don’t need the money,  it is probably just not worth it.

Are required minimum distributions (RMDs) really suspended?
Yes, but only for 2020. RMDs for all retirement plans that you own or that you inherited RMDs that are due on both April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Any RMDs that were already taken in 2020 (including 2019 RMDs that were withdrawn early in 2020) are eligible for a 60-day indirect rollover. You also have three years to pay their distribution back under these special COVID-19 distribution rules.

Is there a Tax Deadline Extension for IRA contributions?

  • The 2019 Traditional and Roth IRA contribution deadline is now July 15th, 2020.
  • The 2019 SEP contribution deadline is now July 15th, 2020 (or October 15th, 2020 if filing for an extension).
  • The 2019 IRA recharacterization deadline is now July 15th, 2020 (or October 15th, 2020 if filing for an extension or amending your tax return).

Questions from Current College Students & Parents:
Most will not get a stimulus check, and their parents will not get $500 for them either. More here.

Yes, there are personal-finance media-stars recommending a gap year. That might be the right thing for some students, and a well thought out gap year can be a time for great personal growth.
For most families I recommend exploring online classes, still it’s a very personal decision that changes greatly with your exact situation. Many colleges are expecting a reduction in students this fall, and there are many schools that are already in financial trouble. This is also magnified with the problem of families not being able to visit campuses, the way we have done in the past.  So, I do recommend putting deposits at more than one school.

Should I still pay my student loans?
Student loan interest is waived, and all the required payments are suspended until September 30th, 2020.  You need to proactively call them, as not all loan servicers will do this automatically, use the words “coronavirus relief” and they are allowed to give you better options.
*If you were enrolled in public student loans forgiveness before march 13th, these months will still count towards total payments. But you still need to be classified as a full time employee during this time period.  Submitting the documentation for PSLF for this year would be very wise, as loan servicers do not always handle things properly in subsequent years.

Student Loans are a far more complicated type of debt than mortgages. Some great Cares Act information about student loans is available here. As always, contacting a student loan expert pays for itself, many times over. The best ones are a Advanced Education Planner or a Certified Student Loan Planner.

Feel free to save or share any of these cards.

What exactly should I get and when?

Tax Filing status  Adjusted Gross Income   Stimulus amount 
Single  $75,000 or less  $1,200 
Married filing jointly  $150,000 or less  $2,400 
Head of Household  $112,500 or less  $1,200 
Dependents under 17
at the end of the tax year
N/A  +$500 added to
taxpayer stimulus

  • The first Block of stimulus relief checks were deposited into some bank accounts April 9. 60 million IRS stimulus payments have, or are currently being paid. About half of taxpayers will receive their check within the next two weeks.  It should read something like:”DIRECT DEPOSIT IRS TREAS # TAX REF”
  • Lower earning taxpayers should receive their direct deposits first, with the highest earners receiving payments last. It will be done in income blocks or waves.
    The IRS is expected to begin issuing paper checks about three weeks after the direct deposits are completed, probably April 24 and can issue about 5 million checks per week. It is appropriate that lower earning individuals will get their deposits first. Unfortunately, many of the our most vulnerable citizens are unbanked, and those paper checks may take all summer.
    Yes, you read that right. If you receive checks for tax returns, it may be delayed by 10 to 20 weeks
    If you did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, enter payment info here. 

    Note: The IRS is rolling out a tracking tool called “Get My Payment”, to allow taxpayers to find out the status of their rebate. it is supposed to be ready on April 17.

  • Those on Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Veterans Benefits are eligible for a relief check.
  • Tax filing and payment has moved to July 15th but second quarter estimated taxes are still due June 15th as of now.
  • If your income exceeds the thresholds, the amount will be reduced on a sliding scale. Annual AGI income phase out limits: $75,000 to $99,000 individuals / $150,000 to $198,000 married filing jointly.

What if I can’t go to work or get laid off?
What if one of us gets sick from COVID-19?

What if our childcare is shut down and I can’t work?

Illinois Department of Employment Security: will Expanded Unemployment Benefits under the CARES Act

  • Benefits for those not traditionally eligible; self-employed, independent contractors
  • $600 extra per week for up to four months
  • additional 13 weeks of benefits after state benefits are exhausted
  • IDES will issue further details after implementation

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: through your employer

Paid Sick Leave Credit – up to 80 hours/10 days (sick with COVID-19)

  • Up to $511 per day per employee
  • For Employee who needs to care for someone with COVID-19 or caring for a child because the facility is closed – maximum is $200 up to 10 days/80 hours

Child Care Leave Credit – up to 10 weeks

  • Equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay – capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate
  • Unable to work because the school or child care facility is closed

The DOL guidance is here.

Illinois Childcare Expansion: to support essential workers’ child care needs

There is going to be help for Illinois child care: expanded child care options and ease the financial burden of emergency child care centers.

“The state will cover most of the cost of care provided by emergency child care centers and homes. This expansion of eligibility includes those working as nurses and doctors, supporting staff in hospitals, grocery store clerks and food producers.”

When it becomes available the most up to date information will be at these sites:





Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Issues Emergency Amendment that Impacts COVID-19 Front-Line Workers, First Responders

What should I do with my stimulus check?

For some families, there just won’t be many options. Sometimes you just have to do what is necessary now, not what would be best in the long term. Here, I am just trying to pass along some good, long-term, fundamentals to protect and provide for your loved ones. These are written in the order of importance, for most situations.

After your immediate necessities are taken care of, then first:

  1. Fill up your Primary Checking Buffer
    It is a great idea to have 1 month worth of expenses in your checking account. It is a buffer to avoid potential overdrafts.  It helps smooth out a lot of financial wrecks into road bumps.  It is also immediate access in case you need the cash. Cash can often get you better deals than credit cards.

    Tip: Use your credit card for most purchases. Credit cards have better fraud protection than debit cards and don’t give a thief direct access to your money buffer. Just remember to pay it off every month, or better yet auto-pay. 


  2. Keep up on your bills, and make minimum payments on debt 
    Missing payments can rack up fees and hurt your credit score. If money is tight, proactively contact the companies to see if any alternative payment options are available. Banks ave been strongly encouraged by the FDIC to reduce or eliminate fees. Most places are offering leniency with payments, mortgage, utilities, student loans…

    If you have any money left over, then:

  3. Pay off any high-interest debt 
    When we are talking about high interest debt we are talking about anything at 10% or above. Put any extra stimulus money towards high-interest debt that you currently hold, such as credit cards. Paying off even a little high-interest debt can help you reduce your monthly expenses.

    Tip: If you have high-interest Student Loan Debt, then you need to talk to an Advanced Education Planner or a Certified Student Loan Planner.

    If you have any money left over, then:

  4. Grow your emergency fund
    On top of the buffer in your checking account, you need between 3 to 12 months of expenses in a savings account. It needs to be held in a low-risk, immediately available, type of account that yields from 1-2%.  Check savings rates here.

    Tip: It is important not to get into the emotional habit of hoarding money in a savings account. If you don’t invest the amount above your emergency fund somewhere, your money will start to lose real value to inflation.

    Examples: If you work for the federal government, your spouse is a tenured professor, you have no kids at home, and you can both work from home: then you probably only need a 3 month emergency fund. If you are a small business contractor, with a single family income, and you have young kids; then you probably need closer to 12 months worth of expenses on hand.

    If you have any money left over, then:

  5. Pay down any credit or regular debt from 6% to 10% interest rate.
    Any debt left over that is average interest, but is still hurting you. Often, this is revolving debt like: credit cards, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and personal lines of credit.

    We are not talking about mortgages or student loans, those both need a more nuanced approach. It might soon be the proper time to think about a refinance on home mortgages. 

    The CPI inflation rate averages about 3%. So, if you get a loan at 3% or less, you are borrowing money at a very cheap rate + a little risk. So in some situations, for some people, it is not worth paying off the loan.

    If you have any money left over, then:

  6. Fund your long term buckets
    My favorite bucket, for most clients, is the Roth IRA. It can be used for your kids education expenses, your retirement, and health disasters.
    You have to invest at a level of risk you are comfortable with, and that is a complicated thing best talked about with a CFP® Professional. 
    Setting that aside: globally diversified, low fee, target-dated, index & mutual funds are a great place for someone to begin investing.

    Tip: I usually recommend Betterment to my Pro Bono clients.

    Tip: Now is the best time to do a Roth IRA conversion that I have seen in a very long time.


  7. Help someone or something you value
    Gratitude and community are some of the fundamental elements of feeling safe and happy. That is why it feels so great to help out.
    How could you help your family, neighbors, or friends in need?
    Are there locally-owned small businesses and restaurants you love, who are especially affected by the outbreak?
    Are there charities you value focused on coronavirus aid and relief?

    Tip: Normally, deductions for charitable contributions are limited to 60% of gross income, and excess is carried over to future years. For the 2020 tax year that is raised to 100%
    Also, Up to $300 is deductible above-the-line for taxpayers that do not itemize deductions. So keep track of those cash donations.

If you need a little help, I have doubled my available Pro Bono hours. Just email or use my call calendar to schedule a conversation, it’s the same level of privacy as my paying clients. 
You can get through this, and there is hope.
Daniel L. Bishop
Advice-Only CFP® Professional

For Business & Non-Profits

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has a lot in it. And it has been difficult to decipher: with unclear terms, a lack of document guidance to lenders, daily changes, messy loan forgiveness, a glitchy site unprepared for launch. It has been a difficult couple of weeks for everyone involved.

Fortunately, there is some real help for small businesses and non-profits. This is an overview of what you programs you might want to consider as we are all trying to weather the economic sandstorm. I hope you find it helpful, and find some hope for the future. If you need help understanding anything, or just need to talk to another business owner for a few minutes; feel free to schedule a call, email me, or message me on Linked In or Facebook.
Daniel L. Bishop
Advice-Only CFP® Professional

In-Post Shortcuts: For Business & Non-Profits

Paycheck Protection Program 
-Loan program to cover cost of keeping employees

Small Business Debt Relief Program 
-Debt relief and loan forgiveness to keep up with payments on SBA loans

Disaster Relief & EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans)
-Quick loan advances of cash to keep the doors open
-Useful if PPP funds are exhausted

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
-Paid sick leave, family leave, and childcare credits

Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) & Deferral of payment of Employer Payroll Taxes
-Deferral of up to 50% of Taxes…
-Not available for those using Paycheck Protection Program

Large Business Loss Tax Tactic 

Useful Documents, Tool, & Links for Additional Reading

Coronavirus Air, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act): The CARES ACT

  • Federally guaranteed SBA loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees
  • Application process ends on June 30, 2020

For those of you who did not get to complete your PPP loans, please see the resources below. These online lenders are taking applications now:

Kabbage – https://www.kabbage.com/paycheck-protection-program-loans/
PayPal – https://www.loanbuilder.com/ppp-loan-application
Square – https://squareup.com/us/en/l/sba-ppp-loans
Intuit – https://quickbooks.intuit.com/…/paycheck-protection-program/

The SBA has a website that tracks which banks are still accepting applications, but it’s user-reported and a few days outdated:

Paycheck Protection Program: Forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels 

  • Loans are available through June 30, 2020
  • ON April 10, 2020: 1099, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll
  • Focus period of time from February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020
  • Non-profits, Churches, and any other 501c3 organization that does not receive Medicaid is also eligible
  • Separate from the SBA Disaster Relief Fund 
  • Only 1 PPP Loan per entity

Loan funds can be used to cover the following expenses: 75% for payroll, up to 25% of the loan on other valid expenses

  • Salary or wages, payments of a cash tip
  • Vacation, parental, family, medical and sick leave
  • Health & retirement insurance benefits 
  • State and local taxes 
  • Mortgage, rent payments, utilities 
  • Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the loan period
  • Limited up to $100k annual Salary/wage for each employee 

The loan amount shall be the lesser of the following: 

  • $10,000,000  OR
  • Total average monthly payroll costs for the preceding 12 months (March 2019 to February 2020) multiplied by 2.5

Notes on actions:

  • ! Good idea to open separate bank account only for PPP
  • Lenders likely current banker
  • No loan payments under this program are due for one year
  • No fees are included in the loan
  • Your company’s expenses for the eight-week period after the origination of the loan will be analyzed
  • Businesses that let employees go before accepting the loan will not be subject to penalties
  • Rehire employees after accepting the loan, can receive additional credit to cover wages
  • Unemployment extended for laid-off staff: based on their date of filing unemployment
  • Good Faith Certification: Support ongoing operations OR  Funds used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage, lease, and utility payments

 Loan Forgiveness

  • No personal risk for business owners or board members 
  • Partially of fully forgiven – at least 75% of the loan must go toward payroll costs to be fully converted into a “forgiveness grant”
  • Portion of the loan used to for approved cost forgiven, dollar for dollar
  • Normal operating expenses like marketing, admin, travel… are not included
  • ! Amount that is forgiven will be reduced for those that lay off employees during the first eight weeks following the loan
  • ! Companies that reduce wages of employees who make less than $100,000 per year by 25 percent or more will also have the forgivable amount reduced by the amount of the pay cut

Calculation of Loan Forgiveness & Full-Time Equivalent Employee (FTE) 

  • They want you to have equal to or more employees from February. 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020, as you did last year from February 15, 2019, to June 30, 2019
  • Average FTE from: February 15, 2020-June 30, 2020 Divided by February 15, 2019-June 30, 2019 = Percentage of loan forgivable
  • Every dollar your company spent on payroll, utilities, rent, or interest on mortgage debt will be added together. That amount will be forgiven, up to the total amount your company borrowed through the program
  • Funds not forgiven have a 10 year loan maturity

What Lenders are Requiring to Apply: 

Latest tax return, 6 months of bank statements, Profit & Loss for 2019 to 2020 current, Voided check of where to deposit loan, Drivers License 

Financial Document Examples:

  • 2019 IRS Quarterly 940, 941 or 944 payroll tax reports or Schedule C (line 31)  or Schedule K-1 
  • Last 12 months of Payroll Reports beginning with your last payroll date and going backwards 12 months (e.g. gross wages for each employee, paid time off for each employee, vacation pay for each employee) 
  • Total of 1099s for 2019 for independent contractors that would otherwise be an employee of your business 
  • Documentation showing total of all health insurance premiums and retirement benefits paid by the Company Owner
  • Average Monthly Payroll is determined by the lending bank for Sole Proprietors, Self-Employed Individuals & Seasonal Businesses

Loan Terms 

  • Loan Amount – 2.5 times Average Monthly Payroll
  • Interest Rate of 1.0% 
  • Maturity 2 years — 1st payment deferred for 6 months 
  • 100% Guaranteed by SBA 
  • No Collateral — No Personal Guarantees 
  • No borrower or lender fees payable to SBA

SBA Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program

      Small Business Debt Relief – first come first serve: relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans.

      Debt Relief:

      • Existing borrowers can defer payments of principal, interest, and fees for up to six months
      • Possible extensions, but not more than one year 
      • Available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the date bill was signed into law
      • SBA will pay 6 months of SBA Loan payments on Certain SBA Loans
      • SBA Express Bridge Loans
        Allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork
      • SBA 7(a) Program 
        Regular SBA Loan Program Through Banks & SBA Approved Lenders,  
        will Become a Lower Priority Behind the Paycheck Protection Loan Program

        Disaster Relief Loans:  Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants

        Apply for Federally approved SBA loans for COVID-19 here: SBA Disaster Loan Assistance  OR  SBA Coronavirus COVID-19  
        Due to Current Increased Volume, the SBA Website is Overwhelmed & Processing Time Could Be Weeks or even Months.

        • Up to $2 million with low interest rates
        • Not Eligible for “Loan Forgiveness” but Eligible for Emergency Economic Injury Grants
        • May be used with the PPP loan, but not stacking
        • Funds can come within 3 days of successful application
        • May be used to: to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments
        • Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available to residents in declared disaster areas. To view the full list of disasters, click here

        Emergency Economic Injury Grants 

        • $10,000 Grants for Small Businesses Applying for an EIDL Loan. 
        • Limited to the Lesser of $1,000 per Employee or $10,000. 

        Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

        Paid Sick Leave Credit – up to 80 hours/10 days (sick with COVID-19)

        • Up to $511 per day per employee
        • For Employee who needs to care for someone with COVID-19 or caring for a child because the facility is closed – maximum is $200 up to 10 days/80 hours

        Child Care Leave Credit – up to 10 weeks

        • Equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay – capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate
        • Unable to work because the school or child care facility is closed

        How to get the credits (more guidance should be coming soon)

        • Retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount paid, instead of depositing to the IRS
        • The payroll taxes include withheld federal income taxes, FICA and Employer’s FICA

        Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC):  Deferral of up to 50% of Taxes

        Not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck
        Protection Program.

        • Refundable payroll tax up to 50% of wages paid from March 13 to Dec 31 2020
        • Maximum credit is $5,000 per employee / $10,000 wages paid per employee
        • Must have had shutdown order OR period of significant decline in gross receipts (50% decline from previous year)
        • More than 100 employees, ERTC applies only to who are not providing services

        Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes

        Not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck
        Protection Program.

        • Allow taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll
          taxes through the end of 2020
        • Deferred amounts due in two equal installments, end of 2021, end of 2022
        • Deferrable taxes include: employer portion of FICA taxes and half of SECA tax

        Large Business Loss Tax Tactic 

        If you have a net operating loss of 100k in 2019 or 2020, you can carry back those losses for 5 years. You can amend the last 5 tax years to get a refund of those previously paid taxes. You will need to track and apply post-CARES Act NOLs (Net Operating Loss) separately from older NOLs.

        Talk to both your CFP and your CPA about this. No, it is not good enough to have one of them. They work better as the collaborating core of your financial team.

        Note Farming losses are only a two-year carry back, with opt-out
        election, retained.

        Useful Documents, Tools, & Links for Additional Reading


        Full-Time Equivalent calculator to convert part-time employee hours into full-time numbers

        Useful Docs & Websites


        Illinois Unemployment Benefits

        Paid Leave Requirements

        Paycheck Protection Loan Program (Partially Forgivable)

        SBA provides low-interest disaster loans

        Deferral of payroll tax payments up to 50% of payroll taxes through 2020.

        Chamber of Commerce CORONA Virus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist.

        Department of Labor: COVID-19 and the American Workplace
        Posters, fact-sheets, etc. 

        COVID-19 Workplace Impact and Employer FAQs: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

        Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

        Congress Reaches Agreement On A Coronavirus Relief Package: Tax Aspects Of The CARES Act

        Excellent  Overview by JEFFREY LEVINE, CPA/PFS, CFP®, CWS®, MSA.
        Analyzing The CARES Act: From Rebate Checks To Small Business Relief For The Coronavirus Pandemic

        Using Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) And Payroll Tax Breaks To Supplement (Or Replace) Paycheck Protection Program Loans

        Daniel L. Bishop CFP© CEPA©

        Daniel L. Bishop is a Advice-Only Comprehensive Financial Planner that has experience in education funding from cradle to career: Private K-12 Funding, 529’s, ABLE, College Savings, College Funding, College Pre-Approval™, and Student Loan Repayment. His deep expertise is in optimizing Late Stage College Funding into a Comprehensive Financial Plan for people with complicated situations, like business owners. He founded Black Swan Advisors LLC in 2016, so that he could pursue his passion of real, honest, financial planning advice for families. He loves working virtually with clients across the Heartland of America. Daniel and his wife modernized a century-old, lakefront farm house in southern Illinois. After work, you can often find tpaying with their 2 kids, preferably in the water.