Our understanding of the coronavirus pandemic continues to change at breakneck speed, practically hour by hour. As more and more schools and small businesses close across America—and as more and more countries around the world shut down their borders—it’s clear that we’ve entered unchartered territory.

There is so much we still don’t know about the virus itself, but it’s already clear that COVID-19 will take a toll beyond physical health alone. Many who test negative for the virus will likely find themselves struggling for basic survival from a financial standpoint. These extreme circumstances are a true test, and as a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer I know too many Americans don’t have the safety net to pass it.

Even before coronavirus, almost 40% of Americans struggled to pay for basic necessities, including housing and food.

Wages have long failed to keep pace with basic living expenses. So many honest, hard-working people struggle to make ends meet. 80% of Americans say they live paycheck to paycheck. A majority don’t have enough in savings to respond to a $400 emergency—and this one will likely require more than that.

When you are already living paycheck to paycheck, an unexpected emergency can set you back. In a 2017 study, 39.4% of American adults reported that they struggled to pay for at least one basic necessity—health care, housing, utilities, or food—that year.

It’s not just individual Americans that are unprepared. It’s also small businesses.

You’re hearing news reports of large corporations who’ve been forced to temporarily close stores because of COVID-19. For every one of those, there’s a small business that lacks the giant reserves of funds to weather the tough times. And for every one of those businesses, there are many employees who will soon be out of a job.

If the average household isn’t prepared for an emergency, neither is the average small business. Most only have the resources to last 45 days or less in a crisis like this.

There’s a lot of talk about vulnerable populations in the context of coronavirus. From my vantage point, anyone living paycheck to paycheck is vulnerable here.

Get help from an experienced Memphis bankruptcy lawyer.

If there’s anything we can do to make this unsettling time easier for you and your family, we’re here for you. There’s always a solution to your financial problems, no matter how consuming they may feel.

Give us a call at (901) 321-2100.