The right financial moves during COVID-19 Pandemic
As we all know there have been government payments to help the financial victims of the current pandemic situation. Along with these supplement packages, there are a lot of free resources or financial moves you can take on as an individual.
It's no doubt one of the hardest times, if not the hardest we have been through. It's not only a health crisis, it’s a financial one too.
We have seen unemployment hitting record highs, and savings and super going low in most circumstances, as many of us struggle to hang on.
Given this situation, not taking the wrong steps is just as important as taking the rights ones.
Five things you should consider making a move on:
1. Speak to your loan and services provider
If the COVID-19 crisis has brought on financial hardship and you're having trouble paying rent, your mortgage, utilities or your loan repayments, the best move is to contact lenders and talk them through your situation – the banks and businesses in question have a legal obligation to work with you on a reasonable payment plan.
The plan might entail making smaller payments for a longer term, or pausing payments altogether until you actually have some income coming through the door.
With home loans or any loan, lenders "have a legal obligation to consider and respond to reasonable requests for repayment arrangements," Financial Counselling Australia CEO Fiona Guthrie says.
If that responsible request is rejected, people have the right to have that decision reviewed and decided for free by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
2. Speak to your financial adviser
The coronavirus crisis may have thrown your finances into such disarray that some professional help from a financial adviser may actually be in order. Whether it is in regards to your superannuation currennt situation, or superannuation access or your insurances and claims you can make. You can slso contact your adviser to see whether or not you are eligible for any govenrment payment like JobKeeper or JobSeeker and other supplmenet packages by the government.
Consider your estate planning situation and having a valid will in place can also be accessed through your financial adviser.
If you have a Self-Managed Super Fund and not sure about its current status or need to do the annual returns of your fund your adviser can help get this done if they have an SMSF department in their business.
3. Don’t panic over your investments
News from the share markets has been particularly troubling: emotion-driven trades have the markets bouncing up and down like a yo-yo once again.
It's confusing trying to keep track, but one thing is clear: now is not the time to panic and make drastic changes to your investment portfolio, either inside or outside your super account.
Super accounts took a shellacking during the global financial crisis, but many fought their way back to strong returns over the long haul.
It's pretty much never a good idea to raid your super account for short-term financial survival and here's a reason there are rules against this in most circumstances.
Watch out for super-related scams. Since the government announced in March that people in financial straits can have access to part of their super accounts from mid-April, there have been 87 reported incidents of scammers cold-calling people and saying they're from organisations that can help them gain access to their accounts.
4. Apply for a home loan hardship package
If you took out a home loan – or any loan – anytime after March 2013, the rules around hardship variations are simple: your lender will have to offer a hardship package if you can demonstrate you're suffering financial hardship. This shouldn’t be hard to prove I you have lost your job during this pandemic and or are suffering financially.
"Financial hardship arrangements do not have to be short term," says FCA's Fiona Guthrie. "The main requirement is that the person can reasonably repay. Repayment arrangement in the pandemic will need to be flexible and may need to be reviewed and extended several times until we all get through the pandemic and people return to work."
5. Don’t take ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) deals
With BNPL schemes you're spending money you don't have, and you'll face ongoing fees if you can't pay the loan back in time – something that happens to more people than you might think.
If you think that you need any help or advice about any of the above mentioned or general financial planning related matters, please feel free to contact us on 07 5602 6064.
Any advice in this article is provided by Linked Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 27 164 559 951 and is general in nature only. It does not consider your personal goals, financial situation or needs. It is important that you consider the appropriateness of any advice and the relevant product disclosure statement or terms and conditions before deciding what’s right for you. You can read our Financial Services Guide online for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that Linked Financial Services Pty Ltd and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services it provides.