Financial support is available during the pandemic.

As B.C.’s unemployment spikes, financial adviser offers tips to weather pandemic

From government programs to updating your budget, there is help.

How do you manage your finances in a pandemic? Especially if you live in a rural area with limited financial services?

It’s something more British Columbians will be asking, as the unemployment rate jumped to 11.5 per cent in April — up from five per cent in February.

The North Island’s tourism industry has been at a stand still, not to mention that residents are still recovering from the eight-month long WFP forestry strike – and they aren’t the only ones facing tough financial times.

Finances are, safe to say, tight for many.

Karl Michael, an insolvency trustee from Grant Thornton, had this advice to give on the subject.

“Start with finding the support programs you qualify for, replenish your income, talk to your creditors, cut your unnecessary expenses — that is, focus on rent, utilities and food,” he said.

The first step is to review what support programs you qualify for. There is a lot of support available if you have lost your job.

Look at Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and a one-time GST credit, and provincial emergency support payments.

These programs can help temporarily replenish your income.

Next, examine your expenses and cut where you can, Michael advised.

“You just want to take stock of your current situation. Don’t panic. You want to look at your budget and cut where you can. Try to figure out how long you can last,” Michael said.

Ask the hard questions: what if I can’t get work? What if the these programs run out?

Third, talk to your creditors. Many banks are offering deferred payments on mortgages, credit cards and loans. The governments are offering student loan deferrals. Deferrals can help with cash flow in the short term.

“You have to remember that all these things are just deferrals,” Michael said. He worries about consumers who take advantage of deferrals, maybe even getting additional credit because there are favourable rates right now.

“But you have to remember that everything will come to a head eventually. You’ll have to be able to service that debt, the new and the deferred.”

Once you’ve assessed your current situation, it’s time to get creative, he said.

“If you’re still out of a job, people need to start being creative. A lot of small businesses have reinvented themselves. I think the same goes for individuals, we need to be strong, we need to be creative. If you have other skills or other things you’ve been interested in, you might need to be open to it.”

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Finances

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP look for missing man

Tyler Ridout, 36, last seen near Balsam Crescent and 136th Street

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Safe Surrey under fire for ‘sickening’ social media posts accusing RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

B.C. government releases designs for new Pattullo Bridge

Project expected to cost $1.377 billion, completed by end of 2023

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read