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Make these money moves during the coronavirus pandemic, says NFL linebacker Brandon Copeland

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Patriots' Copeland on money management: Pay off debt, find new long-term investments

Millions of Americans have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland wants to help.

"We can't control the pandemic, but what we can control is how each of us individually attack our own financial situations," said Copeland, who played with the New York Jets before signing with the Patriots earlier this year.

About 22 million people lost their jobs when the pandemic slammed the economy in Mid-March. By September, about 12 million of those jobs had been recovered.

There has been some relief from the government in the form of stimulus checks and supplemental unemployment pay. Yet even then, some Americans may not have fully taken advantage of all the programs available, like delaying mortgage or student loan payments. There are also still millions who haven't received their stimulus checks.

Brandon Copeland, New England Patriots Linebacker.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

To that end, Copeland has teamed up with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to shed light on some of the available resources. He recently joined CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger in a virtual town hall called "Pressure Creates Diamonds: Money Management During Coronavirus."

"There is some immediate help," said Kraninger. "There are some things in place that [people] can access."

The CFPB website has links to resources such as housing assistance, student loans and tips to manage your finances, as well as a way to file a complaint against a company or lender you feel has treated you unfairly.

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It also has a guide to getting your stimulus check. Last month, the IRS sent letters to about 9 million people who don't normally file a tax return but may be eligible. They have until Nov. 21 to register at IRS.gov in order to get their payment by the end of the year.

"There is a lot of emotion that is tied up in your finances," Kraninger said.

By pausing to address your immediate concerns, you can try to channel those emotions, she said. It will give you the ability to look at this more analytically.

We can't control the pandemic … but what we can control is how each of us individually attack our own financial situations.
Brandon Copeland
NFL linebacker

Once you have accessed all the resources designed to help you through the pandemic, take a look at your financial situation.

"It is never too late and never too early to start planning, start saving, start figuring out how you can take your current environment and how you can build it forward, " said Copeland, a member of the CNBC Invest in You Financial Wellness Council.

The football pro has long espoused the importance of financial wellness, even teaching a course at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. He also has a nonprofit organization called Beyond the Basics, which hosts a youth football camp and other events to give back to the community.

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His advice: First, understand where you are financially.

"You need to figure out how many pennies are leaving your house on a monthly basis," he said. "What are your set recurring costs?"

Once you have an initial sense of your budget, check your bills and make sure you aren't being overcharged or wrongfully charged for something. Also, look to see if there are areas that you may be not spending money due to the pandemic, like dining out and commuting, that can be recovered.

After you have an overview of your financial situation, you can create a plan for moving forward, Copeland said.

WATCH: To view the CFPB virtual town hall go to cfpb.gov/TownHall.

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