COVID-19 and the Personal Financial Implications for Consumers

March 17, 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 in Michigan is beginning to take shape and the short and long-term financial effects on Michigan residents is still unknown. In trying times, our thoughts tend to wander towards the worst-case scenarios.

Parents are anxious as the closing of all Michigan K-12 schools leaves those same parents at home with their children while they are being forced to make difficult decisions for how to care for their child while balancing their jobs and careers. Employees are concerned as Governor Whitmer’s recent order regarding the temporary closure of Michigan restaurants and bars has those same employees questioning how they are going to afford rent, house payments, credit card bills, utilities, cell phones, and all sorts of everyday expenses. The thought of a CDC suggested self-quarantine, for many, means being away from work and potentially a paycheck. Employers are beginning to stress about revenues as the thought of a government imposed quarantine leads to more questions, uncertainty, and anxiety as to how long their business can afford expenses while waiting for the doors to open back up.

These types of uncertainties lead us all to wonder, “What if I don’t have enough money?” With expenses and debts mounting, it’s natural to turn to the oft-resisted discussion regarding bankruptcy. It may not be tomorrow, a month from now, or six months from now, but if you find yourself or your business in a position where this thought becomes more than a passing whim, you should evaluate your options while you still have them.

Most clients, when facing these circumstances and prior to ever meeting with a bankruptcy attorney, tend to deplete their savings, drain 401k’s, withdrawal equity from their home, watch their business fall apart, and delay all action for as long as possible. That doesn’t have to be the case. Savings can be put to good use, 401k’s can remain intact, equity in real estate can be protected, businesses can be saved, and you can financially recover and thrive through the use of strategic bankruptcy planning.

Bankruptcy tends to carry negative connotations but for many individuals and businesses, it’s a much needed lifeline that doesn’t affect their credit the way they believe, allows them to wipe away and reorganize certain debts, can protect their assets prior to them having to deplete them, and provides the tool they need to continue their life without the stress they carried while trying to pay down increasing debts.

Before taking drastic actions, and wondering about the worst-case scenarios, get a grasp on what they may look like by reaching out to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. I always tell clients that I’m not a salesman, I’m an attorney. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial difficulties, call our office at 616.608.3061 or contact us through our websites contact page for a free consultation.

Chase Bylenga Hulst attorney Mike Hanrahan lounges in the Grand Rapids office.