COVID-19: Don't Panic, Instead Plan
Don’t panic, instead plan.
Worry, panic, fear. These are the emotions people are feeling all around the world during this time of crisis. And you may be feeling those emotions, as well. But now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to plan.
Since the recession of 2008, The Carr Law Group has been helping the Northeast Georgia community restructure their financial lives. We have already helped our community get through restaurant closures, job losses, bank failures, real estate collapses and much more. While we remain optimistic that COVID-19 will soon be gone, there is no doubt that local businesses and employees are already feeling the financial strain. And it will likely get worse before it gets better.
As we all feel the financial crunch, here are some things to consider:
- Seek legal counsel early to explore your options so you can plan on how to best preserve your assets rather than be left to pick up the pieces when it’s too late;
- Determine your options before property is repossessed or foreclosed upon;
- Do not touch your 401K, or any qualified retirement plan, at all, with regard to paying debt. It is THE MOST protected asset we have. It should only be used for its intended purpose: to cover future cost of living;
- Understand that bankruptcy is a tool to protect you, not hurt you;
- Do not transfer assets (real estate or vehicles) without first consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney;
- Prioritize your debt payments: Pay your mortgage or rent (but realize you must sometimes decide it’s no longer affordable); pay your necessary utilities; pay your necessary car payments; pay your unsecured debts last, if at all (credit card, medical, signature loans);
- Avoid Cash Advances or other high interest loans (Finance Companies or Title Pawns). These are often the beginning of the end and should be avoided at all cost. They are designed to be short-term loans. If you can’t pay them back in 30 days, don’t get them in the first place.
- Don’t Forget to Save: It’s times like these that should remind us of the importance to save. Saving is not something we should think about only a few times a year. It should be as common as getting your paycheck. When you get paid, some of it gets put to the side. Period. Make it a habit.
- Falling Behind on Payments, and what to do about it:
- Mortgage: Call and request a “loan modification,” which can adjust your current loan terms and can not only “catch you up”, but can also result in a lower interest rate and monthly payment.
- Car: car lenders will sometimes allow you to miss a payment or two and roll those payments to the end of your loan, upon request. They will also sometimes restructure or modify your loan.
- Credit Cards: We have heard they are also taking special action, by lowering or stopping interest and payments, upon request, for an indefinite time period.
- Student Loans: Call and request a deferment or forbearance; you may also qualify for a reduced payment plan, such as Income Based Reduction (IBR).
Despite our efforts, sometimes a bankruptcy filing is our most strategic legal option. We have answered many FAQ’s about bankruptcy on our website, here.
In short, bankruptcy can help to get rid of or significantly reduce your obligations towards unsecured debt (credit cards, medical, etc.). It is designed to provide solutions to allow you to keep your house and cars and the rest of your life the same. If you find yourself lying awake at night without a financial plan in place, it is time to pick up the phone to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you put a plan together and ease your mind. The Carr Law Group is committed to helping our community through another trying time and will always protect what is most important: Your Home, Your Family, and Your Future.
If The Carr Law Group can help answer any of your financial questions or you are needing to explore your options on how best to protect you and your family, please contact us via form or by phone 706-754-9231.
We are currently scheduling telephone consultations only for the safety of our team and clients. To schedule your appointment, please call 706-754-9231, fill out our contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-The Carr Law Group Team