Empty shelves, mass hysteria, long lines, fights over products; as a Floridian, this might sound like the beginning of hurricane prep.  Here we are going to lay out what is different, what is the same, and how to prepare so you are not taken advantage of.  If you were one of the many affected by Hurricane Michael, all of this will sound very familiar to you.  So, what is the point?  Here, the goal is to refresh your memory on how things are going to change in the coming days, weeks, and months.

With Coronavirus, we are not going to be flooded with evictions in the same way we see after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane that damages a home, or when a landlord wishes to participate in price gouging.  In this scenario, they attempt to push the tenant out in order to double or triple rent.  Instead, the question that will inevitably arise is this: How am I going to pay rent if I am not working?

Eviction restrictions are jumping from city to city in response to closed businesses and schools alike.  Some major cities are setting the restrictions at 30 days, and others (such as Boston) have taken it upon themselves to extend to 90 days with check-ups in between.  In a strange turn of events, renters are protected amidst this pandemic.  If the government decides to extend this restriction to commercial evictions, it could additionally prove to be beneficial to small businesses. Only time will tell if the court system is later inundated with eviction cases once the aid restriction is lifted.

After a natural disaster, many mortgage companies reach out to their clientele and offer deferment or abatement of payments.  While this might sound like a good idea, many experienced Floridians know this means your $1,500 monthly payment is still assessed on the 1st, and after six months of “freebies,” you are stuck with a $9,000 bill. Ouch.  While this might be ideal for some, it is a trap for others.  Now is the time to look at your finances and see which course of action is going to be best for your family in the long run.

It looks like this time around we are going to receive a different kind of government aid.  Instead of small business loans and FEMA trucks, we might all see a check with our name on it arriving on our doorstep.  While the implications of this decision may prove to be detrimental, it could help to assist an even great recession from occurring during this strange, isolated time.  How far can $1,000 go?  Will the common US household be able to survive on this alone in the coming weeks?  This is yet one more thing to look to when laying out your financial decisions.

After a hurricane, power is lost and so is a lot of hope.  While most of us are participating in social distancing, there are still a multitude of ways to keep contact with others, thanks to the modern-day era.  If you hop on any site, you will see a list of things and places that are cancelled, postponed, or closed.  If your email inbox looks anything like mine, you have heard about how every company you have ever interacted with is handling COVID-19.  What the goal is now, is to realize what all is not lost.  Phone lines are not down, grocery stores are not depleted, interaction is not lost.

While you are concerned with stocking up on toilet paper, Clorox wipes, Mucinex, and bleach, make sure you stock up on compassion, too.  There are people from all different ways of life who will need to come together for support after this blows over.  Nothing brings people together like a natural disaster, and I believe the Coronavirus will do the same.

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