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Facing a Sudden Financial Crisis

sudden financial crisis

If you’re listening to the news for any portion of the day recently, you’ll hear words like unprecedented, unparalleled, unusual and abnormal to describe our current situation.  I’ll bet you remember other situations that have taken us by surprise but we have endured and this will be no different.

Normally our blog features money topics such as budgets, student loans, retirement, credit and debt, but it would be disingenuous not to address the elephant in the room.   The sudden spread of the COVID-19 virus has left many worried about their health, but others are terrified at the prospect of not having a paycheck for an undetermined length of time. Still others are wondering how they’ll face the burden of having to feed their children two extra meals per day until they go back to school.  How to pay for necessary medication is an additional concern.  In this particular blog, I want to offer encouragement and support and to let you know that people have weathered sudden financial crisis, and so will you.

Humans are quite resilient and the heart of someone who is determined to get through a crisis with limited or no resources can be unstoppable. It takes grace and humility to ask for help when you need it and I don’t want you to collapse under the weight of the strain of this pandemic. I want you to do what you have to do to get through it!

When I was in my junior year of college, my father had a horrible accident where he was burned over 20% of his body. There was no more calling home for “extra” money; no more huge care boxes in the mail; no more shopping trips when I came home on break. My stepsister (she was also a college junior) and I had to figure out a lot of stuff on our own with no warning.  I had summer jobs before, but now, mid-semester, I had to think fast where I could get some cash. I took odd jobs around campus, I filled-in shifts for other students who didn’t want to lose their jobs. I sang in a cover band every weekend for proms, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthday parties and fairs. It was grueling—no fun at all.  I took a two-week gig as a waitress…at the carnival at the county fair. I was yelled at, called names, had food thrown at me and was stiffed more times than I could count.  It was a brutal year until my dad recovered but I did what I had to do.  This trying situation informed my future life and showed me I could get creative when I had to survive.  I’m not special—you can and will get through this, too.

Resources to Handle a Sudden Financial Crisis

  • Food Resources For School Children: If you need to feed your kids, there are resources available. Many schools across the U.S. are giving free meals for breakfast and lunch through designated distribution areas.  It touched my heart how people are stepping up make sure kids don’t go hungry while they’re out of school. Research the options near you: Look at online message boards and social media group pages to find places near you to help.
  • Rent or Mortgage Assistance: If you think you might be at risk for missing rent or mortgage payment, many companies and landlords are showing compassion and offering forbearance while this crisis looms. Take the step of reaching out to your landlord or loan servicer and communicate with them. You might be surprised at the options available. Crisis can bring out the best in people.
  • Utility Resources: More and more utility companies are promising not to interrupt water, electric and cable during this time. Call your provider and let them know you might not have all or any of your payment. There are many in the same situation and a little help may go a long way until you get back to work.
  • Internet Resources: If you don’t have internet service, more providers are providing it for free so your students can keep up with their online studies. Find the options in your area and reach out to see what special programs they have to keep your kids connected to their education resources.
  • Grocery and Household Supply Resources: This one may be difficult but I encourage you to do it anyway. If you need food, there are places that have free groceries in your area; food banks, second harvest groups, churches,  and social organizations. Diaper banks are also a great place to get feminine sanitary items as well as diapers.
  • Self-Care Resources: Take care of yourself. Many gyms are closed but parks, walking, and hiking trails are still open. Get outside— it’ll do wonders for your attitude. Many streaming providers are making online workout options available for low or no cost temporarily. Make a playlist of your favorite music to cheer you up. If your public library is closed, they may still have audiobooks that you can borrow for free. Get the app and maybe listen while you take a walk.
  • Additional Community Resources: Are you aware of the 211 resources? 211 is a vital resource that connects millions of people to help each year. Visit 211.org to find local and state resources. You can search by zip code to find the closest options for you.

There’s a quote that is often misattributed to Eleanor Roosevelt— I don’t know who said it but it has helped me tremendously when things have looked bleak:

“A woman (or man) is like a tea bag— you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Here’s to finding gifts of strength and determination during this time of “hot water”. I want you to more than survive— I want you to thrive as you do what you have to do. Stay strong.


If you are experiencing sudden financial crisis and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. ​Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.

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7 Responses to Facing a Sudden Financial Crisis

  1. A'Keydra says:

    this message was needed. My family and I are blessed to have each other to lean on, but I would be remiss not to echo that my anxiety is high. Life doesn’t stop during a time like this. It’s only an added hurdle. As humans we want to “find the easy way out”. I encourage someone to find there way through this. Don’t go around or ignore signs of trouble but go through and press through. We only grow as long as we’re moving beyond our comfort zones.

  2. Anthony Palcic says:

    Yeah,…..you are all full of suggestions, but not one offer to postpone a debt payment until the crisis is past!
    You all have heart!

    • Tracy East says:

      Hi Anthony – We understand that these are difficult financial times for everyone. Please contact our Customer Care team if you have any concerns about making payments. They can go over all of the options available from your enrolled creditors and determine if your creditors offer any hardship programs for your financial situation.

  3. Yuliana Santos says:

    I call and they take my number to return my call? They never call me back, I will like to now what options I have because My husband is not working and I can’t make my payment as usual ??

    • Tracy East says:

      Hi Yuliana, thanks for reaching out. We apologize that you’ve been experiencing difficulty getting through. Our counselors are experiencing high call volume and we want to make sure you’re helped as quickly as possible. If you’re having issues reaching a customer care representative by phone, you can utilize the chat feature on our website. There are counselors available from 9 am – 9 pm Monday through Friday. You can also reach a representative by email at info@cesisolutions.org.

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