Month: May 2020

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The Reality of Unemployment

COVID- 19 is having a dramatic effect on the average American household. We are seeing unemployment numbers reaching record highs not seen since the great depression. With a  wave of corporate bankruptcies having already begun, taking out legendary retailers like Neiman Marcus and J. Crew as well as the second oldest airline in the world, Avianca, with more pain in the corporate world likely to come and with that will come even more unemployment. 

Consumers, likewise, have faced an enormous amount of uncertainty.  A recent poll taken since the coronavirus outbreak paints a grim picture of household finances: Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) anticipate that lost wages due to the pandemic will yield at least a $500 shortfall when trying to pay monthly bills. Nearly half of those households (27% of all respondents) predict a shortfall of $1000 or more. Those are real and substantial amounts of money.  We have already discussed how the average American is unlikely to be able to fully fund a $1,000 emergency.  Add that in with the fact that many Americans are likely to be $1,000 short of being able to make basic expenses and you have a recipe for catastrophe.  

While many have been able to float their expenses by relying on their $1,200 stimulus check and their boosted unemployment checks, others still find themselves short and others still haven’t received either their stimulus or their expanded unemployment benefits.  This leaves consumers with very few options.  As we outlined in an earlier blog post, you need to prioritize your payments.  You have to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly and you have to be able to obtain reliable transportation when it is safe to return to work or when you are able to find gainful employment in that order.  One of the best ways you can handle the shelter and transportation issue is through bankruptcy.  When times get tough, the bankruptcy code provides immense relief for people who have found themselves to be in tough financial situation.  This is done through the automatic stay which provides relief and stops actions by creditors.

Bankruptcy is a saving grace for people who have experienced financial hardship.  If you’ve exhausted your options or are feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation, don’t keep waiting for the next financial catastrophe to come down the pipe, get ahead of it and contact our office today for a free, no obligation consultation via phone, videoconference or in person (with social distancing of course) with one of our award winning attorneys.  In times of trouble, it’s good to know someone.  Let us work for you. 

A Study: Debt in Georgia

Consumer debt all over the country is approaching record levels.  We are all aware of the student loan crisis and medical debt, but the reality is, debt of all kids is at an all time high.  Citizens of the State of Georgia are facing incredible levels of debt.  More than 39% of Georgia residents have at least 1 account currently tied up in debt collection.  A recent CNN report states that more than $14 Trillion dollars of debt is outstanding in America.  That includes mortgages, student loans, car loans and credit cards, medical debt and other debts.  These levels of debt are scary to most people because levels of debt this high represent unsustainable amounts of money to service these debts.

The average American Family lives on less than $64,000 per year and while that number has risen lately, it pales in comparison to the average amount of debt carried by Americans at more than $137,000 .  Citizens of Georgia face higher collections and levels of debt that the national average. Citizens of Georgia have on average about $2,700 of credit card debt which on average costs around $275 a month in payments in order to actually pay it off.  That is a significant payment for most citizens in Georgia who average a gross monthly income of only $4,600 before taxes.  

What can we do about debt? Well that’s the million dollar question.  We try to pay it off if we can.  No one takes out a loan wanting to not pay it.  We often find ourselves struggling to deal with paying our debts and maintaining basic necessities and unexpected emergencies.  If your level of debt has become unsustainable, contact the attorneys at Harmon and Gorove to see how we can help you achieve freedom from debt with a completely free consultation with one of our award winning attorneys.