The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted on our day-to-day lives, as well as our nation’s economy. With the majority of states sheltering-in-place, many people and businesses are experiencing extreme financial hardship. If you have lost your job or are struggling to pay your rent or bills, it is natural to feel overwhelmed, but there are things you can do to try and mitigate the damage and protect your credit.
- Believe that it will be okay. In times of extreme stress, it can be hard to think clearly, and people are more likely to make unwise financial decisions out of panic. Maintaining trust that it will be okay will help you to stay centered and focused on solutions. Remember to breathe and take care of yourself because you will be much more likely to find work if you are alive and well.
- Call your credit card company if you cannot pay your bill on time. If you will be unable to pay your credit card on time, contact your lender as soon as possible to explain your circumstances. Many national lenders have announced that they will waive late fees and postpone payments during the pandemic, and some even have the option to request assistance in the app. Reaching an agreement like this will keep your credit score from being affected by a late or missed payment.
- Talk to your landlord if you cannot pay your rent. While Governor Newsom has halted evictions through the end of May, this does not keep landlords from initiating the legal eviction process, which can affect your credit. Therefore, it is a good idea to try and negotiate an agreement with your landlord, such as temporarily reducing rent, paying in installments, or deferring a portion of the rent until after the pandemic. Landlords are motivated to negotiate as going to court would cost them more money in addition to the money lost on rent, and they would likely find it difficult to quickly find new tenants in the current climate.
- See if you are entitled to any unemployment benefits. Check online to see if you are entitled to any unemployment benefits. If you are an independent contractor and did not previously qualify, or recently used all of your benefits, you may now qualify.
- Research to see if you qualify for COVID-19 financial assistanceand emergency grants.
- Get creative to make payments on time. You are more capable than you know, and I bet if you really thought about it, you could come up with a few ways to make some money from home. Selling clothes, furniture, or other items online, offering creative or independent contracting services, taking paid consumer surveys—you get the gist. Every dollar that goes toward paying down your debt creates more available balance and helps increase your credit.
- Consider bankruptcy. Deciding to file for bankruptcy requires serious consideration, however, if you are overwhelmed with debt and struggling to keep up with your payments while maintaining living expenses and you believe this is unlikely to change, bankruptcy may be a good way to get back on your feet.
Contact an Experienced California Debtor Rights Attorney
Millions of Americans suffer financial hardships on a daily basis, especially during these troubling times. Fortunately you do have options, including Debt Settlement and Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is both a financial and emotional decision, and whether it is the right choice for you depends entirely on your specific financial circumstances. Only an experienced Debtor Rights Attorney will be able to tell you with confidence whether bankruptcy is the answer for you, and how it will benefit you.Contact Guardian Litigation Group for a consultation to learn more about Debt Settlement and Bankruptcy.