Are you facing challenges right now?
These financial challenges could be any kind – whether you are working on a reduced salary or you’ve completely lost your job. This pandemic has caused chaos in every area of life, but none more so than in our financial lives. What was once an area of general safety is now an area of stress, anxiety, and fear.
These times have made us shift our priorities and how we approach our finances. But what if it isn’t enough?
- You may have already made sacrifices to save money.
- You may have cut unnecessary spending in all areas of your life.
- You may have started budgeting in an extremely strict way to help save money and you can.
You could have done everything possible to stay financially healthy, but it may be getting to be too much. Now, one of the biggest and most important expenses – your mortgage – is at risk. You are struggling to make payments every month. Some are easier than others, but every month is a challenge. Fortunately, you have options to help stay afloat in these challenging times.
I want to share 6 tips for anyone who is in a difficult place financially and is struggling to make their mortgage payments every month.
Decide if you want to keep your home
Before going through any program or process, you must evaluate your house situation – do you want to keep it, or sell it? If the amount you owe is less than what the home is currently worth, the best option for you may be to sell the house. This can be mentally and emotionally challenging for a lot of people, so it is important to have an honest discussion and decide the best thing for you.
If you want to keep your house, then you have other options to help with your mortgage payments.
Consider Asking for “Forbearance”
If you are struggling with your finances, you can ask your lender (whoever owns your mortgage, like a bank) for “forbearance.” “Forbearance” is when your lender might reduce your monthly mortgage amount or put a hold on it (where you would not have to pay anything). This solution is only temporary and does not mean you don’t have to pay anything back – it just means you can resume paying the normal amount once your financial situation improves.
Another option like forbearance is a Loan Modification Plan. Loan Modifications change the terms of the loan you currently have to make it more manageable based on your current situation.
Consider a Debt Settlement
A debt settlement is where the lender agrees to take less than the amount owed. While this may seem like a good option, debt settlements will lower your credit score and affect any future financial decisions made by companies you want to borrow money from. It’s a short-term fix with long-term effects.
Consider Filing for Unemployment
If you have lost your job due to the pandemic, you may be eligible for unemployment until you find another job. This resource is useful because there are programs that help unexpectedly unemployed people with any loans/mortgages they are currently in.
Consider Payment Plans
If you think you won’t be able to keep paying your mortgage, you can contact your lender and discuss any options for payment plans. These plans can be worked out between you and your lender to keep you on track of your payments.
We previously shared how declaring bankruptcy is not necessarily a bad thing. However, declaring bankruptcy should be considered a last resort to anyone with financial struggles. Declaring bankruptcy wipes your slate clean, but it will severely damage your credit and will show you in a negative light to potential lenders for years, preventing you from getting any other large loans.
There are two types of bankruptcy – Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will forfeit your home as an asset towards repaying your debts. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep your home if you can show proof that you will be able to pay back other debts you currently have.
Once you decide whatever options work best for you, you must act on them fast. Missing just one mortgage payment can dramatically reduce your credit score, so it is not worth it to wait and see if things get better. Lenders (like banks) have many different programs like the above that they can review with you and offer guidance on what is best. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, so there is no reason for you to wait or not try any of these options. Your financial health is just as important as your physical health, so do your research and start getting back on the right track.