It's been headline news for weeks now — the developing story about the global impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. Many of the warnings focus on protecting your physical health (rightly so!), but you likely also have questions about how you can stay financially healthy.
Servus is here to help. We’re right behind you with answers and advice to help you through this pandemic and the financial worries you might be feeling.
With many businesses closing and the majority of people taking measures to socially distance, you might be working from home or maybe not working at all. Based on your situation, this time away might be unpaid. Servus has taken action to support people financially during this difficult time, and so have our federal and provincial governments.
Here are four things you can do to manage your financial health during Coronavirus.
1. Explore financial relief options.
If you're experiencing a loss of income, Servus has a financial relief program in place to help you. Depending on your situation, you may also qualify for financial relief through the government.
If you're seeking income replacement, the Government of Canada updated the criteria to qualify for employment insurance benefits as part of its pandemic response. On their website you can find information about eligibility, the application process and important timelines.
Mortgage or loan deferral
Servus is here to support you if you're experiencing financial hardship. We’re offering financial relief through flexible solutions, including payment deferrals on mortgages and loans.
2. Save money by refinancing debt
The Bank of Canada cut its interest rate by a total of 1.00% in an attempt to lessen the economic effect of COVID-19. While this isn't the best news for your savings account, it may be helpful if you have debt.
If you're in a position to continue repaying your debt, this lower rate could be an opportunity to refinance a loan — saving you money in the long run. It might also be a good time to consolidate any high interest debt you're carrying, like credit card balances, onto a personal line of credit where you'll likely pay less interest.
Call your Servus financial advisor to help you understand what your best options are.
3. Look to earn some extra income
People taking measures to avoid close contact with others might be an opportunity to leverage some skills you can monetize from home. Copywriting, editing, graphic design, research or data entry — these are all tasks that can be done virtually, so you can get paid for work that doesn't require sitting in an office full of people. A side hustle is just one of many passive income streams you might consider.
4. Stay away from monitoring your investments
Whatever you do, resist the urge to sign into your investment accounts and hit refresh hourly. It can be hard not to panic about what's happening to your retirement savings or other investments, but it's important to keep the emotion out of it.
Remember, a well-diversified investment plan is designed to weather the ups and downs of the market and staying focused on the big picture — your long-term goals — will keep you on track.
Keep calm and carry on
Taking these steps can help you reduce the impact of Coronavirus on your finances. If you have questions, reach out to your Servus advisor. We’re here to help you through times like this.
Staying informed and aware is the best thing you can do to protect your health and your money. That, and washing your hands.