Finance

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⇓Financial Advice

This pandemic has been devastating financially to millions of families, industries, and businesses all over the world as well as the financial climate itself, throwing hundreds of countries into recession. Lockdowns that lasted in some cases for months all over the world brought the economy to almost a complete halt. The English economy has been one of the worst hit, at nearly 10% down on last year, meaning hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, and millions are back on furlough for the second lockdown, only earning a smaller percentage of their normal income. If you are struggling and worried about staying on top of your finances you are far from alone, and there are steps you can take to improve your situation and there may also be help available if you need it. Whatever your circumstances, here are some general tips to help keep you afloat:

  • If you have an Accountant contact them to talk through your personal circumstance, review your finances and discuss any queries.
  • If you have insurance speak to your provider to see if you are entitled to any financial support as a result of your cover package.
  • Review your outgoings. Be ruthless and put a stop to any transactions that are a want rather than a necessity. Alternately, if you still want to keep items such as your mobile phone or TV service then call the provider to see if they could offer you a more competitive rate for an agreed period.
  • If you are struggling to pay bills contact your service providers and inform them of your situation and highlight the fact that you are experiencing issues as a direct result of the virus. Many companies and providers offer finance schemes to help you pay off any outstanding debts 
  • If you need help or support paying your rent or mortgage contact your landlord or provider straight away…..DON’T DELAY.
  • If you have pre-existing debts and need help figuring out what bills need paying first visit: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/for advice
  • Don’t be tempted to immediately take out a loan in order to resolve your money worries. It’s important to accurately assess your finances and reduce costs in the first instance in order for you to have a true understanding of your available finances.
  • If you can borrow money from your partner, parents or a loved one then ask them in the first instance but be sure to agree, in writing, a payment plan for when you are back on your feet. Be realistic with the agreed amount and start/end date. This will help provide both parties with peace of mind.

 

Do not bury your head in the sand. As daunting as talking about debts can feel, the longer you ignore the problem the worse it is going to get. Dealing with it as early on as possible will prevent it from spiralling out of control.  

 

So what does the financial future look like? 

There are no solid predictions for what the financial future looks like right now, it is hard to predict until an end to the pandemic is in sight, but it is predicted that recovery will be slow. The English economy’s crash earlier in the year due to lockdown was the most devastating since records began. However, upon the country reopening it was a fast and impressive improvement. Another economical dip is inevitable during this second lockdown, a devastating time for retail in particular with November being one of the most profitable months of the year, however the government has allowed more businesses to stay open during this second lockdown to help the economy stay more afloat, for example cafes and garden centres. 

 

What businesses have flourished during the pandemic? 

 

Online shopping

While unable to visit the shops people started buying online. If you have indulged in a lot of online shopping in lockdown, try and support small businesses as much as possible, as your money could help a small business owner to stay afloat rather than supporting a larger one that isn’t in any financial trouble at all. If you don’t have any favourite small businesses that spring to mind or wouldn’t know where to start looking, websites like Etsy are a great place to start. 

The online fitness industry and fitness equipment 

With a lot of us having had so much more spare time on our hands many people dedicated this time to getting into shape. Fitness equipment sales, online subscriptions to virtual fitness classes and health foods and supplements all boomed this year. A lot of personal trainers and class instructors remodelled their businesses to be based online when the gyms closed and face to face classes were not an option. In some cases this may have even increased their client base as people wouldn’t have to travel to join them and could do so from the comfort of their own homes, no matter how far away. 

Online learning 

Many people used this new found spare time to gain a qualification or learn something new. Lots of platforms such as the Open University offered courses for free or heavily discounted. Gaining a new qualification is a great investment of time as will make you more employable, especially in these competitive times. 

Apps

Apps for gaming, virtual communication, meditation, dating and entertainment boomed in lockdown while people were wanting to see and speak to their loved ones while not able to in person, and entertain themselves with so much extra time on their hands. 

 

Can’t cope, need advice?

Speak to an expert. These are trained individuals who are able to advise you of what steps you should take depending on your financial circumstance:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/getting-financial-advice/#h-getting-financial-advice

If the financial strain is severely effecting your mental health, reach out to friends and family, call your GP for advice or reach out to crisis teams such as CALM and Samaritans as soon as possible. 

 

Remember

Some individuals and organisations – often advice charities – offer financial guidance. This is different to financial advice. Guidance provides you with information about the various options available to you, but should not recommend any particular option over another. Financial advice, however, informs you which specific product would best suit your needs.

Make sure you keep on top of your health and wellbeing during these difficult times.

General financial advice

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com

More advice for zero-hour contract workers - Martin Lewis
(Money saving expert)

    

Can’t cope, need advice?

Speak to an expert. These are trained individuals who are able to advise you of what steps you should take depending on your financial circumstance:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/getting-financial-advice/#h-getting-financial-advice

Remember

Some individuals and organisations – often advice charities – offer financial guidance. This is different to financial advice. Guidance provides you with information about the various options available to you, but should not recommend any particular option over another. Financial advice, however, informs you which specific product would best suit your needs.

Make sure you keep on top of your health and wellbeing during these difficult times.