The recent pandemic has left many people concerned about their personal financial situation and what, if anything, they should be doing at this point in time. There are number of things you can do to make sure you stay financially healthy.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Review your financial plan. If you don’t have a plan this this is a great time to work on developing one.
2. Review your budget or do a spending analysis. What you want to do here is look for non-essential expenditures that you might be able to cut out so that funds can be used elsewhere in your budget. Learn more at: Budget Planner (Government of Canada)
3. For those that are facing temporary layoffs and a reduction in pay you will need to prioritize your spending on the basic necessities, shelter and food are top of mind. Given the fact that we are a connected world today, make your phone and internet access a priority too.
4. Dealing with debts. Make a list of all your debts--who you owe money to, how much the minimum monthly payment is to keep the debt in good standing, and what the interest rate is on each debt. You will use this list to help prioritize who gets paid first. Remember basic necessities first. If it looks like you might need to miss some payments, then you need to be talking to the creditor prior to missing a payment. They will want to work with you.
5. The Canadian Government has announced a financial package to help us through these difficult times. Determine which one of the programs you might be able to access. Learn more online at: COVID-19: Managing financial health in challenging times (Government of Canada)
6. Depressed investments. If you are still holding your investments, you might want to think about if the investments are suitable given your circumstances. Can you re-position your investments for a potential rebound in the equity markets?
7. If you are early in your career then time is on your side. If you are in the middle of your career then you need to be thinking about the types of investments that are most suitable for you and your ability to tolerate risk as well as achieve the returns you will need to reach your goals. There are a lot of different types of investments to meet your needs. If you are later in your career then some hard decisions might need to be made about the suitability of your investments and what this market environment means to you and your financial goals.
8. Talk with a skilled financial professional about your situation to gain some insight and determine options for you and your family.
9. Take this time to educate yourself on personal money matters. Learn to do what people do who are successful with money. Attend webinars, read books, talk with professionals in an effort to educate yourself. Government of Canada offers a comprehensive 12-module learning program designed to help adults manage personal finances: Your Financial Toolkit (Government of Canada).
Our sense is that most people are scared, and rightfully so. However, take this is as an opportunity to rethink, retool and re-position yourself, if necessary, for better times ahead.
For additional support regarding your financial stress or financial well-being, please reach out to FSEAPs Financial Counselling and Coaching Services for more information.
Updated: April 14, 2021