Coronavirus: What can I do to financially safeguard myself?

  • Fri,20 Mar 2020 10:48:17 AM

British Asia News By The Finacial Doctor

London March 20 (F.Dr/BAN) With the speed at which the number of Coronavirus diagnoses are increasing and with the intensity of safety warnings issued by the UK government, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has rapidly become an area of concern. Whilst most of us are aware of the steps needed to protect our health, there is growing uncertainty around the financial impacts of the pandemic and the potential strain it will have on us as individuals and as a wider nation.

It is likely that employed and self-employed individuals will be effected differently; many employees have been urged to work from home and should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay should they require time off from work. On the other hand, self-employed individuals are likely to feel the financial effects more directly; jobs and events are being cancelled, thus people are unable to work and are losing income. Whilst we’re aware that we’ll all be effected differently dependent on our circumstances, we’ve put together a few ways to help safeguard against financial strain, regardless of who you are and what your line of work is.

Keep Cash Available

No one can be entirely sure how and when we will return back to normality, therefore it can be useful to have instant access to cash to help meet your essential food, shelter and medical needs during this period of uncertainty.

Spend on Needs Not Wants

It’s worth limiting spending to basic needs to help with short, mid and long terms financial reserves until we have more clarity about the situation surrounding Coronavirus. Prioritise your fixed expenditure (outgoings which rarely change, for example, monthly expenses such as your rent or mortgage payment) and flexible expenditure (regular outgoings spent on necessities, such as groceries and bills) and put a halt on discretionary expenses (the money you choose to spend, for example, eating out, leisure and clothes). Much of our discretionary expenses will see a decline by default with recently safety warnings advising against non-essential contact including pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Meal Prep

As the Coronavirus spreads, so does the looming possibility of quarantine, we recommend buying enough food to last you and your family two to three weeks. Your basic shopping list should include major food groups and macronutrients; beans, canned and frozen vegetables and fruits, whole grains including bread, rice, quinoa, and pasta, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and nut butters. These items are often cheaper due to their longer shelflife. Though, we urge you not to stockpile and please also consider the needs of others when buying.

Stay Fuelled

Many fuel retailers have reduced their petrol costs in line with the Coronavirus, and whilst we have been advised against unessential-travel, it is recommended to keep vehicles fuelled in the event of an emergency or to be able to help others who require the assistance.

Restructure Debts

If you’re in the position to be able to do so, review your personal loans, credit cards or mortgage debts. Check with lenders if lower rates are available compared your current rate, and where possible switch your debts to lower interest rates to save the costs. There are lenders who offer 0% credit cards with balance transfers for 18-30 months, personal loans are available from 2.9% interest rates and mortgage rates are at a historical low.

Repayment of debt is very important to evidence your credit worthiness. Make sure you are servicing your debts in a timely manner as any adverse credit information would last six years on your credit file and this could result in more difficulty while obtaining credit in the future. If you are struggling, speak to the lender in advance of your repayment due date and discuss your options. Chances are they can come up with a plan to help you as the last thing a lender wants in the current circumstances is a late payment or default. There are professionals to help and assist with restructuring your debts, and we are available to assist too. Please also feel free to get in touch for free, confidential advice on how to go about this.

Overall, your mental and financial wellbeing are extremely important in uncertain times like this, whilst we’re aware that the COVID-19 situation feels uncertain and will affect people differently, we hope that these steps will help to safeguard from the impact of the global pandemic.

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