Managing Your Financial Future During COVID-19
Money is a bigger problem than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many people losing their jobs, getting furloughed, or having reduced hours or wages. Even worse, it is unclear what the economic recovery will look like or how long it will take. All of this uncertainty makes managing your finances and financial future extremely difficult. If you are facing reduced hours or are out of work altogether, there are still ways to manage your money and take some control of your financial future.
What to do about the lack of income? It can seem futile to try and manage your finances or make a budget when you cannot find work. Remain aware of how many months’ worth of savings remain in your bank account. Do not feel ashamed to reach out to your parents or other family members for help. They may be able to provide some assistance or a loan while you continue your schooling or search for a job. Along with CERB and EI, the federal and provincial governments have set up measures to help those affected by the pandemic. Visit nomoredebts.org/coronavirus and see which measures apply to you.
What are your current expenses each month? Create a detailed monthly budget using your credit card and bank statements for reference. If you already have a budget, it is time to review it to see where you can make some changes. Take advantage of remote schooling or work to cut down on expenses you typically occur when commuting or going out. Contact your bank and credit card company about reducing or waiving monthly fees or payments. If you are feeling nervous or ashamed about it, remember that lot of people have been reaching out these institutions with similar requests.
What will the next year or so look like? Assume that work will be precarious and your budget will be tight well into 2021. If you have existing credit card debt or loans, look into ways to consolidate what you owe, such as through a line of credit with your bank. Going forward, things will be different. Get into the habit of making meals at home. Accept that upcoming birthdays and holidays are going to be smaller and simpler. When you are working, even if temporarily, save up as much as possible in a high-interest savings account. All of this will help you develop wise spending and saving habits that will greatly benefit you in the future, even long after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
Money has always been a major stressor. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a unique and frightening economic downturn, as well as a future that is hard to predict. Whatever your situation is, you must take advantage of the resources you have and readjust your life to this new reality. Through the help of government programs and a reduced budget, you can reduce some of the uncertainty we all currently face. Of course, there are no guarantees. But you can work towards increasing your chances of a bright financial future.
Betkowsi, Bev. “How to manage your finances in the time of COVID-19.” Folio. https://www.folio.ca/how-to-manage-your-finances-in-the-time-of-covid-19/
Financial Post. “Three tips to managing your money post-COVID world.” https://financialpost.com/personal-finance/business-essentials/three-tips-to-managing-your-money-post-covid-world
Ritchie, Monika. “Managing Stress and Your Finances During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” myMoneyCoach. https://www.mymoneycoach.ca/blog/managing-stress-and-your-finances-during-COVID-19