It has only been 2 full days since the United States Government shutdown and I’m already getting questions from Federal employees on what to do with no paycheck and bills looming.
This morning, a Federal Prison Guard was told he was considered an essential federal employee and he must continue working during the shutdown. He was told he will get paid in I.O.U.’s until such time the government is back open for business but not to worry, he will get all of the money due to him at some point in the future. Not to worry? He didn’t have a big savings and was very worried. He wanted to be proactive about his pending auto payment which is due later this week. Trying to be responsible and protect his wonderful credit rating, he called his bank to explain he was not getting paid as normal and asked them what he should do. Their reply, “hope your spouse has a job”.
Is this fair? You can be the judge on this one. Creditors expect payment regardless of your employment, health, marital status and so on. Simply put, if you borrowed money, you agreed to pay. You will never find in the small print where you only have to pay if you have the funds to do so. Many consumers expect their creditors to have some empathy towards their situation and believe it or not, some creditors do. If your creditor treats you like the example above, you may want to think twice about going back to them for your future borrowing needs.
Anytime you are running late with a payment, I always suggest contacting your credit or regardless of the reason. If you’re having a real financial hardship, many banks offer some temporary assistance. Many creditors offer some sort of forbearance as a temporary way to assist you. Given the enormity of the government shutdown, many consumers are going thru this very situation right now. You will not be the first one calling your creditor and hopefully, they have some short term solutions to assist you during your time of need. One thing for sure, you won’t know if you don’t call and ask.