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Americans begin receiving $600 stimulus checks, borrowers prepare to resume student loan payments: The headlines and your money

The IRS said "there is no action required" to get your second stimulus payment.

Economic stimulus check.

Markets slip after hitting record highs, $600 Covid relief checks are making their way to Americans, and borrowers prepare to resume student loan payments. Here's how the headlines could affect your money.

Markets slip after hitting record highs

The three major indexes closed slightly lower Tuesday after hitting record highs Monday. Wednesday morning, they resumed their climb.

Traders are watching closely for the next step in relief negotiations. The House voted Monday to increase direct checks to $2,000 after Trump's call for more aid, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell later blocked that measure. McConnell said that lawmakers would work this week to bring the president's request for a larger stimulus and other priorities "info focus."

$600 stimulus checks are on the way

The $600 stimulus checks promised to Americans through the latest Covid relief bill are officially on the way. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that direct deposits would begin that day, and paper checks would be mailed starting Wednesday. 

The IRS said "there is no action required" to get your payment. Consumers should be able to use the IRS Get My Payment tool to track their payments later this week. You can also check out Grow's second stimulus check calculator to get an idea of how much money you could receive.

Suze Orman on how to use a second stimulus check

Video by Helen Zhao

How to prepare to resume student loan payments

Lawmakers planned to extend federal student loan forbearance through April 30, 2021. But that provision didn't make it into the final version of the latest stimulus package. Without another reprieve, borrowers are expected to restart payments in February.

To prepare, experts suggest reviewing your loan details and budget. If your income has dropped because of the pandemic, it may make sense to apply for an income-based repayment plan or request an unemployment deferment.

Words you've heard: Income-driven repayment plan

An income-driven repayment plan determines your monthly federal student loan payment based on factors including your income, family size, and the total amount you borrowed. In some cases, that payment can be as low as $0. The trade-off is that such plans also increase the time it will take to pay off the full loan amount — meaning you'll ultimately pay more. 

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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