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

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

West Kelowna reopens beach volleyball, new pickleball courts

The City of West Kelowna is asking residents to maintain safe distancing

RDCO announces spring poetry contest winners

The district received 70 poems starting from May 1

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Parts of the TCT through Princeton will open to motorized vehicles Monday

Parts of the KVR trail through Princeton will open for motorized vehicles… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Most Read