(New Westminster, BC – March 16, 2020) As the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread around the world, the media is reporting a frenzy of shopping as consumers scramble to purchase non-perishable food, water, masks, hand sanitizer, and other essentials. However, less attention is being paid to the economic devastation that can come through quarantines, self-isolation, closed businesses, and an economic downturn in industries overall – including travel and tourism, oil and gas, and hospitality.
Unfortunately, many people’s emergency plans do not extend to their finances. With 48 percent of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency , a quarantine or self-isolation situation leading to two weeks or more without a paycheque could have devastating consequences.So what can you do to keep your finances as healthy as possible while you’re unable to collect a paycheque?
- Stay up-to-date on what help is being offered from government and financial institutions and whether they apply to you. The latest efforts by the government — including both medical and economic assistance — can be found here.
- Contact your creditors as soon as possible. Whenever possible, reach out to all of your creditors before you miss any payments. This includes credit cards, car loans, mortgages, lines of credit, etc. While it can be an uncomfortable phone call to make, they will appreciate you contacting them directly and making them aware of your situation; they may also be able to offer revised payment options during this time.
- Build and stick to an emergency budget. If you’re unable to collect a paycheque, now is the time to pare down your expenses significantly . If you don’t have a budget, consider putting one together as soon as possible. We have a downloadable budget calculator on excel available here and a printable budget template that you can use. If you need more help with your budget, visit our budgeting page, or give us a call at 1-888-527-8999
- Get help from an accredited, trusted credit counselling association. We’re here to help. Give us a call at 1-888-527-8999 to book a telephone appointment. You can speak to an accredited financial counsellor about building a budget and adjusting your finances during this difficult situation and getting prepared for the future.