We are clearly in surreal times. Everyone is doing their part to get through this pandemic, but in addition to your health, we have to be prepared to deal with some harsh realities.
Bills will still be due. They may get deferred, and it is up to you to verify that a particular creditor is deferring your payments, or making alternate arrangements. Don’t assume that because you heard about a particular pronouncement on the news that it will specifically affect your situation.
Help is on the way, but that help may not arrive quickly. We already have many clients who believe that their stimulus checks are already in the mail. While I don’t have any insider information on that, I find it hard to believe that the government could mobilize and send all Americans checks without some time to gear up. So don’t make immediate plans for that money. Budget accordingly, and when the stimulus money arrives, treat it as a welcome infusion into an otherwise tight budget.
You should reach out to your creditors, especially the larger balance, long term creditors, to see what programs they are offering. Many of these programs will not simply kick in and they will require some action on your part.
If your employment is seasonal, or if you make more money during one part of the year, consider these fluctuations as they may be affected by the Covid-19 response.
As a Bankruptcy firm, one of our main considerations is properly preparing our clients for the right time to consider Bankruptcy. Most practitioners agree that now is a great time to get information, but probably not the best time to file. The court system is experiencing a large amount of disarray and many court staff are working from home. Most live court appearances have been cancelled or postponed, so the entire system is in the same boat as the rest of society.
Having said that, now is a great time to get informed. Plan out your next six months financially. Figure out what you can defer. People who are long time union laborers where a strike happens every few years know exactly what this is like. The good news is that they weather the storm and come out just fine. A few people overextend themselves and end up in Bankruptcy, but their job is fundamentally sound and so they end up doing OK after getting a fresh start. That is a great analogy for where we find ourselves.
There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. For your health (either physical or financial) always make sure to consult a professional. Be safe out there.