General tips for how to survive the Covid-19 isolation period
Dear clients, prospective clients, and friends. This is a difficult and seemingly desperate time for many people and business owners. I want to provide some basic financial advice about what to do and not to do during this time. As a bankruptcy attorney, I deal with many people and business owners on the brink of financial turmoil every day. Many people are finding themselves out of work at this time and may need help prioritizing their finances. Here are some basic tips.
*please note that everyone's situation is unique and if you have specific questions about your situation please call me.
All phone calls and initial consultations are always FREE.
Do NOT cash out retirement accounts.
DO prioritize payments to creditors carefully. Food and bare essentials first. Then basic housing expenses.
But first reach out to your landlord and see if you can ask for an extension on rent if necessary.
If you have a mortgage, immediately go online to their loss mitigation options. They probably have a new link for forebearance/type payment plans or options.
Reach out to utility companies- Comed and People’s Gas or Nicor and ask for a hardship extension on payments. Again, their websites likely have new resources for people.
Lost your job? Immediately apply for unemployment benefits online. Ask about short term insurance payments if you have any. Have a whole life insurance policy? Check your cash surrender value.
Student loan payments should immediately be deferred or placed on forbearance during this time if possible. Try to keep a basic cash savings of minimum $1,000 for emergencies.
Do NOT pay any medical bills from BIG hospitals in full. Immediately request a payment plan.
Tickets from the city? Call and ask for an extension of time to pay fines and tickets. This also applies to court fines.
Tolls owed to the tollway authority? Apply for a hardship settlement.
Owe the IRS? Call the taxpayer advocate center and immediately submit hardship documents showing that payments to the IRS will make it impossible for you to maintain a minimum standard of living. Same with state tax debt.
Credit cards come last. They should not be a priority unless your basic living expenses are met. Ask for payment deferments but expect all lines of credit to be shut down quickly.
Finally, ask for help. Ask questions, stay INDOORS and stay safe.
Focus on family and friends and above all prioritize kindness and compassion to others.