There’s no question that we’re living in unusual times, and they’re not just affecting our social lives. For many families, worries about the pandemic and social distancing are intertwined with financial concerns. Whether you’ve lost income due to COVID-19 or you’re anxious that you might, a proactive approach will help you avoid financial hardship in the weeks and months ahead.
Here are five steps you can take to maintain your financial health during a pandemic…
1) Cut down on your spending
One of the keys to staying in control of your finances during uncertain times is reducing your expenses. It may seem obvious, but lifestyle changes don’t always come easy. That’s why it’s so important to think strategically. Which costs can you cut out? If you order takeout regularly, now is the time to curb the habit. If your family has two cars, you might want to consider parking one for the time being—and saving on the insurance. You’d be surprised by how many of these extras you can do without.
2) Look into financial support packages
For most families who have lost income, cutting costs isn’t enough to ensure financial security. Fortunately, the federal government is offering support for those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CREB) provides those who qualify with $2000 monthly payments for up to 16 weeks. It’s definitely worth looking into—especially if you think you’ll have trouble making ends meet during this challenging time.
3) Make payments on high-interest debt
Debt can wreak havoc on your finances. That’s why it’s a good idea to chip away at what you owe if you’re in a position to do so. The truth is, none of us know how long this pandemic is going to last. By paying down your debt, you can prepare for the possibility of financial hardship—and prevent it from becoming more burdensome than it has to. Start with your high-interest credit cards, since the fees associated with them can add up quickly.
4) Defer Your mortgage
It’s one of the biggest worries that homeowners have right now. Missing even one mortgage payment can have consequences, which is why you should do everything in your power to make them regularly. Luckily, all of Canada’s big banks are offering deferrals for eligible clients who are dealing with financial difficulties due to COVID-19. To learn if you qualify, get in touch with your lender—and try to be patient if you have to deal with a longer-than-average wait time.
5) Stay in the loop
The circumstances we’re facing are unprecedented, which makes the future hard to predict. To ensure that you’re as financially prepared as possible, stay up-to-date on all of the deferrals, benefits, and financial supports available to you. While global and local conditions are changing quickly, you can stay informed by checking reliable news sources and government websites regularly.
If you’re concerned about your finances in the midst of COVID-19, there are steps you can take to help prevent future hardship—and lighten any burden you might have to take on. The time to act is now, so get started by performing a thorough assessment of your financial situation.
Thinking about buying or selling a home in the future? Reach out to learn what’s happening in the market—and what it means for you.