The coronavirus crisis has caused financial problems for many people, who find that they are furloughed and facing a cut in what they earn.
Many of us could be facing some difficult times, for the next few months at least.
At Continuum, we would like to provide some useful top tips to potentially have an immediate impact on your finances.
1. Look at your budget
You can’t make a start on managing your money until you know where it is going. Spend some time making a detailed financial plan of what income you have and the outgoings you can’t avoid.
Then you can see what your priorities are. Food and shelter are the basic human needs. Most of us can eat more cheaply by shopping around and sticking to the basics. Your mortgage or rent, payments for your TV licence, utility bills and council tax, should be next on your budget list, but most other costs can take second place – and there are ways to save even on these essentials.
With worries about infection, many shops and supermarkets are insisting on card payments. Try to use a debit card if you have money in your current account. A credit card will only store up problems for the future, and should be a last resort.
Of course, the bills will still keep coming in even if your income has dried up. You could be taken to court, and your credit rating go down for not paying a non-priority debt, payday loan, personal loan or a store card. But in the current emergency, many large creditors will be exercising forbearance. If you can’t pay a bill, don’t ignore it – contact the organisation you owe it to and explain your situation.
2. Look at your mortgage
There is some good news on mortgages. The government has announced that all homeowners will be able to claim a three month break from their mortgage payments if they are unable to pay because of coronavirus. Banks including NatWest and Lloyds were among the first to react to the crisis and had already offered payment holidays to their mortgage customers who were unable to meet their monthly payments.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak then announced that all mortgage lenders would be required to offer respite to homeowners who may be struggling. He said that the payment holiday would mean that “people will not have to pay a penny” for their mortgage while they deal with the financial turmoil.
No repossession of properties can take place during the outbreak. To arrange a payment holiday, you simply need to contact your lender and tell them that you are affected by Covid-19.
Remember, though, that payment holiday or not, interest will continue to be charged. What you owe will increase during any payment break, and you could find that it will take more than an extra 3 months on the end of your mortgage to pay it off.
3. Your Pension
Your pension could be your other major monthly cost. Your employer should continue to make national insurance payments if you are furloughed, so your state pension will not be affected, but you may struggle to make contributions to your private pension.
This should not be a problem. Your pension provider will be able to arrange a payment holiday, and let you resume contributions as soon as your income starts to flow again.
4. Getting some help
Managing money is always important, and in a financial crisis, getting help is valuable. You will have questions about matters such as your investment portfolio and your personal protection plans.
At Continuum we can help. It could be a very good time for a full financial review. To start making your money work harder, call us today.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
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