Mar 31, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 534 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Rent is due

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide told Axios' Alayna Treene.

  • The bill prohibits foreclosures and evictions on all federally supported mortgage loans (including those owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) for a 60-day period that began on March 18.
  • Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants and charging late fees and penalties for those in federally backed housing for 120 days.

The big picture: For those laid off, furloughed, or whose incomes have plummeted because of the response to the coronavirus outbreak, Axios' Jennifer Kingson has put together a guide.

  • Check with your landlord, bank or mortgage company to see if they’ve adopted leniency policies. 
  • See if your city or state is among those that have suspended eviction proceedings — your payment obligations don’t go away, but you will have a measure of protection.

Between the lines: Personal finance experts recommend looking at your entire financial picture and cash flow situation before deciding whether to skip a rent or mortgage payment.

  • Prioritize your immediate necessities: food, medicine, utilities, health insurance.
  • Piled-up rent or mortgage bills aren’t going to go away, so consider tapping emergency savings to cover them.

Under the CARES Act, adults will receive payments of up to $1,200 in as little as three weeks, and most children will get $500.

  • The new law makes it easier to tap retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s for up to $100,000 in cash: Early withdrawal penalties for IRAs are temporarily waived, as are tax penalties for borrowing against a 401(k) or similar plan.
  • Using your retirement money as a piggy bank isn’t always the best option, since you’re selling when the market is at a low point and you'll miss out on possible future gains. Alternatives include a personal loan, a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. 

Go deeper: Advice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Pete Byrne/PA/AP

The goats are back in town: A herd of goats has been spotted walking around the deserted streets of the seaside Welsh town of Llandudno during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus.

2. Catch up quick
  1. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with other health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  2. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
  3. In Congress: New York Rep. Max Rose deploys to National Guard to help coronavirus response.
  4. FDA authorizes two-minute antibody testing kit to detect coronavirus
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Misinformation in the coronavirus age.
3. 1 funny thing

Wanda Sykes and Whoopi Goldberg. Photos: AP

"The midst of a global pandemic might seem like an odd time to launch a radio channel devoted to female comedians, but executives at SiriusXM believe that it’s precisely the right time," AP reports.

  • "Much of the material will be culled from recorded routines by the likes of Moms Mabley, Joan Rivers, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro and Whoopi Goldberg. The channel will also showcase emerging talent like Rachel Feinstein and Jo Firestone."
  • "Interviews or specially-made messages will come from Aidy Bryant, Amy Schumer, Pamela Adlon, the Original Queens of Comedy and others in the first week."

The channel, dubbed She’s So Funny, debuts tomorrow at 7 a.m. ET.