4 tips from financial experts on dealing with uncertainty?
by Sabrina Colafabio
We are in unprecedented times dealing with a pandemic which has brought much of the world, both socially and economically to its knees. While this too shall come to an end, right now for many people, the current situation is dire, particularly with respect to savings and cashflow.
Many Canadians have lost their job and some small businesses may struggle to recover when this is all said and done. The good news, expert advice on dealing with this situation is rather abundant, and we’ve put together a list of some of the best tips we’ve read until now:
1) Resist the urge to sell your stock portfolio
Yes, the stock market has crashed and will likely be very volatile for the next few months as countries navigate this crisis and economies realign. The important thing to do is nothing at all. According to Suze Orman, Financial Advisor, you should use this time to stay invested, not divest. She believes that if you have time on your side, keep your money parked and wait for the market to rebound. In previous bear markets, stocks fell for an average of about 1 year and then came back and made up their losses in about 2 years and then rallied to new highs.
2) Check-in with your credit card, loan and mortgage providers
Many companies are offering payment plans and several options to defer payment. According to Ms. Orman, several credit card companies have said they won’t charge interest this month and that others are working directly with customers on a case-by-case basis. Most importantly, do inquire about options rather than simply not paying. According to Scott Hannah, President of the Credit Counselling Society, Mortgage payment terms can also be negotiated at this time with major banks. This can include loan extensions and even reduced interest rates, but swift action is necessary.
3) Find ways to cut back on expenses
Resist the urge to grocery shop regularly and exhaust what you currently have, including some of those items buried in the back of the pantry or freezer. Avoid shopping online and negotiate with your current internet provider for ways to cut back on data and cell-phone costs. According to Mr. Hannah, you should also put a freeze on any monthly memberships until the self-isolation period is over.
4) Apply for help
The Canadian and provincial governments are offering assistance to some individuals who have lost their job as a result of company lockdowns or due to COVID-19 infection. The assistance can include Employment Insurance or paid sick leave. You should also inquire about any coverage from your union and/or corporate insurance in the case of illness.
These are trying times and the stress level is at an all time high. With so much that is out of our control, one place to start is by getting a handle on our finances and be best prepared for when we can all turn the page on this chapter.
 Orman, Suze. March 23, 2020 Suze Orman: How to handle fear and make smart money moves during the coronavirus crisis, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/22/how-to-make-smart-money-moves-during-covid-19.html  Hannah, Scott. March 23, 2020 How to deal with your finances during a COVID-19 crisis you can’t control, The Chronicle Herald, https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/business/perspectives-on-business/how-to-deal-with-your-finances-during-a-covid-19-crisis-you-cant-control-428180/