Financial support is available during the pandemic.

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

B.C.’s parliament buildings in Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
Surrey gets two cabinet ministers, a parliamentary secretary and government whip

Premier John Horgan’s NDP MLAs were sworn in on Tuesday and the cabinet was revealed Thursday afternoon

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Brenda Locke trying to breathe life into Surrey’s defunct Public Safety Committee

Surrey councillor’s motion will be up for debate at a future council meeting

The Festival of Lights; Jingle Bell White Rock; and the Lighted Boat Parade all helped light up the White Rock waterfront on Saturday, Dec. 7. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Festival of Lights postponed

While event founder remains optimistic, the future of this year’s display is uncertain

RCMP logo
Keen-eyed neighbour’s call to police helps stop South Surrey burglary in progress

Mounties were on the way before suspects triggered home alarm

Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon was sworn in as minister of minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation by B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and Premier John Horgan during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Province of BC/YouTube screen shot)
BREAKING: Kahlon named minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation

Kahlon was sworn in by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 26

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Abbotsford mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby comes home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

Most Read