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We’re living in such a changed world that it can feel overwhelming. The coronavirus has upended our working lives, our kids’ lives, and our money lives as well. That said, there's a lot we can do: here are 7 things to do straight away.

1. Avoid decisions based on fear

We’ll get through this together, so no need to panic. Emotional situations tend to lead to poor financial choices, so be sure to get the help you need as you make financial decisions during an emergency. Take the time to get information and advice on what you would like to do.

2. Find out what financial help is available

The government is acting to support the economy, including leave and self-isolation support, subsidised wages, and business cash flow and tax measures. Find out more on the official COVID-19 government response site or call the free government helpline on: 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).

3. Make a crisis money plan

Especially during an emergency, creating a money plan is key. Financial stresses can cause considerable hardships for you and your family – so having a plan helps bring peace of mind.

  1. Work through a scenario for reduced income. In order to best manage your money, it's important to identify your incomings and outgoings.
  2. Focus on your immediate “needs”; cut back on any unnecessary “wants”.
  3. Give every single dollar a job to do. This means you decide what all of your money will be used for and prioritise what’s most important.
  4. Set aside any extra money you have – even just $5 or $10 – into a safety net.
  5. If things are too tight to manage, help is available. 

The tool to help you plan ahead

4. Find out all your options before taking on more debt

If you don’t have an emergency fund, consider putting some money aside each time you’re paid if you can. Depending on how the situation evolves, you may need to rely on your safety net sooner than expected.

If you feel you need to borrow to get by, it’s important not to run to the easiest money available. A short-term payday loan online or a KiwiSaver hardship withdrawal may first come to mind, but there may be other options are likely to be better: government support, temporary loan or mortgage holidays, or consolidating your debt to a lower interest rate with more manageable payments.

The goal is to get through and create as little debt as possible.


MoneyTalks

A good way to learn about your options is to get personalised help. Reach out to the great team at MoneyTalks (even anonymously) by ringing  0800 345 123, texting 4029 or email:

Get personalised help 

 

5. Can’t make repayments? Talk to your lender as early as possible to make arrangements

The earlier you talk to your bank or lender, the better. You might be surprised how they’re willing to make things work with you and your loan. The sooner you get in touch, the better placed they are to help you deal with financial stress. After all, they deal with this sort of thing all the time. Depending on what you’re experiencing, your lender could:

  1. Temporarily suspend loan repayments. The government announced a 6-month holiday on mortgage repayments, although note that interest will continue to accrue for that time period.
  2. Move you to interest-only payments
  3. Restructure business loans
  4. Consolidate loans to make repayments more manageable
  5. Provide short-term funding

6. Stay safe from COVID-19 scams

Crises tend to bring out the best in all of us, but unfortunately the worst can also be seen if you look carefully. Frauds and scams related to coronavirus are popping up like poisonous mushrooms, especially online, so make sure to verify every call, link and email that comes your way – it could easily be a fake. A good way to check is to make a separate call to a published number to make sure something’s the real deal.

7. Ignore your KiwiSaver balance

If you’ve been concerned about KiwiSaver’s ups and downs, feel free to not look for a while – just ride it out. This is true for most KiwiSaver members, unless you plan to use the money to retire or for a first home in the next 3 years – in which case, it might be good to shop around for a defensive fund. Here are some FAQs for KiwiSaver members.

 

We’re here for you as you navigate our changed world

Flick us a question via our contact form or email us by clicking the button below if we can support you in any way.

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Kia kaha to you and your whānau – we’ll get through this!

Comments (4)

Gravatar for Karl

Karl

9:53pm | 29 Mar 2020

Thanks Sorted
Iv been using your tools for a few years now to budget, and have managed to create a decent safety net money wise, this is now going to be put to the test, wow hope I make it through!

Gravatar for Sally L

Sally L

8:30am | 29 Mar 2020

Thank you this is great positive info, especially the KiwiSaver info I have been wondering about that.

Gravatar for JDB

JDB

8:40pm | 28 Mar 2020

I have an on-going personal loan with a bank, and already requested for a temporary break for my weekly repayment during the lock-down period but the bank declined my request, and advice me to apply for financial hardship.
My employer already applied for wage subsidy scheme and still awaiting approval of the application. Once approved, I will be paid with a flat rate of $585/week (less the tax). My rent is 200/week, and my loan repayment is 235/week. I can't see how the amount will manage other expenses, including financial support to my family back home in the Philippines.

Gravatar for

Missy Longshore

6:04am | 28 Mar 2020

Thank you, this is really helpful during this stressful time.