No matter what industry you’re in, COVID-19 has ushered in a trying time. Moreover, the uncertainty of timelines, extended due dates, and suspended projects has left a lot of people in the lurch financially. Who knows what the world will look like in six months time… What we do know, however, is how you can make provision today for a lifetime of tomorrows. Here’s what you need to know about how to protect your finances during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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In his newsletter, journalist and MoneySavingExpert.com founder, Martin Lewis, gave some info about protecting your finances during this time. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, financial experts have been talking about the long-term effects on our economy.
Martin says the gradual shutdown of businesses is inevitable and that this will have huge impacts on business and personal finances. He reckons that that’s a given; but what he’s more concerned about is “the real unknown” – namely, how long these effects will last.
1. Payment holidays are available
If you’re struggling to keep up with your bills and keep food on the table, Martin says you should speak to your bank.
Most have said that they offer forbearance (tolerance and help), allowing people to apply for payment holidays. If things really get tough, contact your bank to restructure your debt. Once that’s arranged, you should have a bit more money freed up for day-to-day expenses for the moment.
2. Urgently speak to your landlord if you’re struggling to pay rent
This could be a big help with your finances during this time. Martin says people should talk to their landlords about their financial situations and ask for more time to pay rent if needed.
It’s always best to keep the channels of communication open – so if you’re unsure about making your upcoming rent payment, it’s a good idea to talk things through with your landlord.
3. You might be able to claim UIF if you’re self-employed or freelancer
People off work and not entitled to sick pay may be able to claim benefits from the first day they’re off, says Martin.
The main benefit worth claiming from is the Department of Labour’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). And if you haven’t been keeping up-to-date with your UIF contributions, now might be a good time to revisit them for your financial security in the long run.
4. You should get a refund if an event has been cancelled
If you bought tickets from an official seller, you should be entitled to get your money back (minus delivery or booking fees). But Martin adds that you might want to consider how hard you push for it, as depending on who the firm is, many events companies will be struggling right now. That being said, if you do need some liquidity, this is a good place to start.
To safeguard your finances during the COVID-19 outbreak, make sure you claim refunds for any flight tickets you may have bought too.
5. If you are (or might be) retrenched, it’s important to know your rights
Get a survival plan in place to help with money saving during this time, Martin says.
Because we are very likely to see an increase in retrenchments. It is also likely to be difficult to find alternative employment while the shutdown conditions are still on. But you do have rights, so it’s important to know what they are. In the meantime, make a watertight budget and make sure you stick to it.
By Features Writer, Ashton Kirsten