Financial adviser cautions federal workers from panicking during shutdown

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The government shutdown is affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers including many in Michigan.

A financial advisor weighed in on what to do if you are one of those furloughed federal employees.

Like thousands of federal employees, Yvonne Allen is concerned about how she will pay her bills and take care of her family.

"Basic needs, my car note," she said. "Everything. My whole household is suffering."

Certified Financial Planner Sean McDonnell said he cautions these workers to stay out of panic mode.

"Be proactive," he said. "Don't wait for the past due notices to start arriving or the bills to even come in the first place."

The first step is to contact people you owe and let them know you are going through a financial hardship. Then find out how they can help you.

"Can we lower minimum payments, can we waive late fees, penalties," he said.

The next step is to cut out unnecessary expenses as soon as possible like your cable bill and eating out.

McDonnell says what you want to make sure you don't do, is dip into your retirement savings.

"You want to leave as a last resort to go into that plan this is your retirement savings," he said. "You can take loans from TSP, government employee 401k but that will cost you."

McDonnell says if you need to take out a loan do so cautiously.

"Can you borrow money? Possibly the easiest place is family or friends," he said.

Federal employees who are able to take on jobs should try to find work and earn extra cash that way McDonnell says some workers can consider applying for unemployment benefits

"The key here is that once you are made whole, you will have to pay back unemployment benefits," he said.

Although this shutdown is impacting government employees, financial planners say there is a lesson we can all takeaway from this situation.

"You always have a minimum amount of liquid assets that are only there for an emergency and no other purpose," he said.