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Financial Well-Being in Times of Uncertainty

Adapting to new ways of living to protect ourselves from COVID-19 (coronavirus) is challenging. Of equal challenge is the potential financial implications that are likely to impact many of us. By the time the virus is under control, many Australians may find they escaped the illness, but not the financial trauma of debt and loss of income.

The most important thing to do is to face the situation and ask for professional guidance. There are some vital steps you can take to limit the adverse impact of this unprecedented situation.

This time may feel very overwhelming, but be reassured that there is a great deal of support and guidance available to you. Our financial coaching team have put together the following practical tips to help.

Gain Control of your Financial Situation

1. Understand the Big Picture

Before anything else, draw up a list of all your assets and debts to get a bird’s eye view of where you are at financially. Then, build a budget to work out where your money actually goes. A financial coach can help create your budget and money plan.

2. Create your Action Plan

Once you know the big picture, it will become clear to you what you need to prioritise and what you can put off until later. Your action plan will include things like talking to your creditors, prioritising spending, cutting down on discretionary expenses, or creating more income.

3. Take Control of your Spending

Do this immediately. Cut down on anything that is not vitally important and just focus on what you need to spend to live. This will not be forever; remember this is just until things calm down and then you can re-introduce those expenses when you feel more secure.

4. Take Control of your Debts

Talk to your lenders. Many financial institutions have introduced enhanced financial hardship provisions for their customers. Even if you don’t take this up immediately, find out what is on offer, so you are prepared. This might also include utility providers. Be sure to contact your provide and seek assistance if you are not able to pay your bill. If you are renting and unable to keep up, discuss this with your agent as soon as possible, as they may be willing to assist.

5. Don’t Go it Alone

Seek professional support and guidance. There is always help available. A financial coach will provide you with a tailored plan to help navigate your way through this challenging time.

Centrelink Support

Everyone’s circumstances are different. You may be eligible for income support from Centrelink; however this is something you will need to apply for or enquire about directly with Centrelink.

For more information about what is available you can go to their COVID-19 dedicated information page here. Phone numbers for various Centrelink services are available here.

Varying your Rental Arrangements

If you find yourself in a position where you can’t meet your private home rental obligations, ask your landlord for assistance in the form of a rent decrease or even a deferral from payment for a set period of time. Federal and State Government have released information around landlord and tenant regulations that will assist during this crisis.

Access to your Superannuation

Consider whether you really need to access your superannuation early; speak to a professional about the impact this may have at retirement age.

For more information on the release of superannuation, head to the Government’s Money Smart website.

Avoid Online Gambling/Gaming

If you are stuck at home over the next few weeks or months, resist the temptation to engage in online gambling or gaming. While gambling on conventional sports has reduced considerably in recent weeks, with most sports on hiatus, there has been a trend to replace them with more exotic opportunities.

Counselling, information, and 24/7 support related to gambling can be accessed on Gambling Help Online and Lifelines‘ websites.

Financial Coaching

Many Australians are already living pay to pay. A reduction or loss of income will quickly create immense stress for individuals and families. At this difficult time, we want you to know that our team of financial coaches are here and ready to help.

Our phone-based service can greatly assist to reduce this stress and to provide positive and proactive guidance and support. The combination of our practical financial guidance and expert personal counselling is the perfect way to support you through this difficult time

If you or someone close to you needs support, contact Acacia EAP for an appointment.

P: 1300 364 273 (24/7) | SMS or Live Chat: 0401 337 711 | W: acaciaconnection.com

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