Pattie Lovett-Reid: Financial tips for the 45 per cent feeling less secure during COVID-19
TORONTO -- Health and wealth go hand in hand. We have always known that there was interconnectedness to health and wealth, and a new survey out by Sun Life reinforces that belief.
Forty-five per cent of Canadians feel financially less secure since COVID-19 began, and 44% of those who say their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic identify stress as the main factor.
To be fair, most of us are experiencing some kind of stress that can be traced back to COVID-19. Sun Life believes those who have an advisor can benefit from the insight and holistic approach provided by those with expertise in the industry, and can help to alleviate some of the stress and I would agree with that.
However, what about those hardest hit between the ages of 18-34 who, in many cases, simply don't have enough money tucked aside to even qualify for an advisor? How do they combat the stress they are feeling?
I would argue we all need to have our own financial plan, even if the reality is that you owe money. Until you know where you stand financially it is difficult to find any sort of calm in a financial storm.
Establishing goals regardless of your wealth situation puts you in the driver’s seat. Your goals matter to you and while an advisor can help you quantify those goals, you can also do this for yourself. Even if it is a back of the envelop calculation, this will help those just starting out take control where they can.
Here are a few ideas:
1) If your lifestyle has changed and you have seen a drop in expenses associated with dining out, travel, socialization etc., take that money and tuck it aside. That can become the basis of your emergency fund. Seriously, save the money you aren't spending. No one cares if you have three-to six-months living expenses set aside in cash, but you will care if you have enough to bridge a job loss short term until you land back on your feet.
2) Look closely at what you are spending your money on and cancel something, anything. If you are honest you may be spending on a gym membership, cable package or food delivery that you could do without. It doesn't have to be forever, just for right now.
3) Budgets get a bad rap, and no likes to be on a budget where you have to account for every cent you spend. However, establishing a spending plan where you set aside a certain amount each month and you stick to that plan can go a long way to giving you a little financial flexibility.
Controlling what you can in an environment where you might feel totally out of control is a big step towards reducing some of the stress you may be feeling.