Are you worried about not making ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic?
3.25.2020 – In light of recent questions, Owen & Dunivan, PLLC is conducting business as usual for the most part. We are not having in person meetings at the office, but we are fully staffed and accepting new clients. We are also available via videoconference. To set up a time with Bryant, please use the online scheduling link.
In light of COVID-19, many Americans are scrambling at what they can do to avoid their own financial collapse. A recent release by the National Consumer Law Center suggested that consumers take the following steps to try to avoid missed payments on their loans and credit cards:
- Contact your creditors
- Create an emergency budget
- Try a personal loan
- If you must use a card, use the one with the lowest interest rate
- Send temporary hardship letters
- Use community and government assistance
- Take out retirement savings
- Avoid payday loans
While I think these are some pretty solid recommendations, it’s important to note that every situation will be different in light of COVID-19. For example – for many consumers who are living paycheck to paycheck like roughly 80% of Americans – the only place to come up with extra money will likely be a credit card. Unfortunately, the average APR for a credit card is 21.21%. A low interest credit card may not be an option. Additionally, because the average American’s credit score is 682, they may not qualify for personal loans.
In terms of coping with COVID-19, an emergency budget is a great spot to start – but that is premised on actually having income during the current quarantine situation. If there are limited incoming funds, then you will have to act quickly and swiftly. This is where government assistance can come in handy. One caveat though – if it’s a loan, it will have to be paid back. A great resource is https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus for Americans.
Perhaps the best advice in these recommendations is reaching out to your lender. We are suffering from a global crisis – most businesses understand that financial hardship in this instance was not avoidable. The key, I think, will be to document the conversations. We live in a digital world – get employee ID numbers. Get names, and be sure to take contemporaneous notes when discussing things with your lender. Try to document things via email. Don’t rely on “their word”. We’ve all seen what happened in the 2008 recession. Millions of Americans believed what people were telling them only to not see it come to fruition. Pay attention to your monthly balances in this time – if you don’t see what they discussed (and you have hopefully documented), it may be actionable.
If you have questions or would like help trying to protect yourself during this crises, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can do this three ways: (1) call 813.252.0239 , (2) e-mail me , or (3) set up a time online .