Nearly half of UK adults experienced a high degree of anxiety at the outset of the Covid-19 lockdown, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics shared by the BBC. Despite the first tentative easing of restrictions and a raft of fiscal measures, financial worries are likely to linger for some time to come. Acumen has some practical financial planning tips to help ease your money concerns during the crisis period.
Covid-19 support and guidance
In strange and unprecedented times like these financial worries can add an extra layer of stress. Which is why we’ve compiled some personal financial planning tips to help you manage your finances efficiently.
Assess your budget
Falling ill, self-isolating, shielding a loved one or coping with reduced work hours can all have a financial impact. One of the best ways to wrestle back control is to review all your incomings and outgoings. Forearmed with this information, you’ll be better placed to adapt your usual spending habits, as well as seeking better deals on household bills (like broadband, gas and electricity) and cancelling subscriptions, if necessary.
Review your debts
The sheer pace of change brought about by the pandemic has seen perfectly affordable debt repayments become a major source of worry for some people. In fairness, financial institutions have taken note and responded appropriately. Be that through mortgage holidays, preferential overdraft arrangements or payment freezes, for example. Consult your providers to see what measures they have to support you.
Protect your financial position
The last few months have highlighted how quickly our circumstances can change. One minute everything is going to plan and the next our world is turned upside down. The current pandemic has certainly brought into focus how important our families are and for many, they are in the heartbreaking situation of having to deal with the devastating consequences of a loved one becoming sick or even worse passing away. Life cover, Critical Illness Cover, and Income protection can help take away the financial stresses of death and long term illness at a cost that is more reasonable than you may think.
Access financial support
The government has devised a number of high-profile (and some lesser-known) measures to support individuals and businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough), Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, to name but a few. Find out what support you might be entitled to at www.gov.uk.
Don’t panic about investments
Try not to panic if the value of your pension and other investments go up and down more than usual during this period. When nerves are frayed, remaining calm can be difficult. However, market volatility is ever-present in investments. In times like these, it’s important to look beyond the current instability and focus on your long-term goals. Investments will naturally rise and fall. Given enough time, the value of your investments will nearly always bounce back.
Be alert to scams
Unfortunately, when uncertainty is rife and people are vulnerable, fraudsters look to take advantage. Incidences of phishing emails, purchase scams and “get rich quick” rackets have increased during the enforced lockdown period. Consumer group Which? has issued useful advice about how to spot and stop coronavirus scams in their tracks. Remember: if it doesn’t feel right or seems too good to be true, it’s likely to be a scam.
For more information about financial planning during the Covid-19 crisis, or to arrange a phone consultation with one of our pension advisers, please contact Acumen today on 0151 520 4353 or email [email protected].