(The Canadian Press)

Financial check ups more important than ever during turbulent times like these

It is always important to review your financial plan on a regular basis, but especially now, experts say

As governments roll out plans to reopen the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say individual Canadians need to update their own financial plan to move forward too.

The stock market crash in March and the plunge in interest rates left many investors feeling uncertain and vulnerable, while still more have been left without work.

Tina Cheung, a wealth adviser at Vancity, says it is always important to review your financial plan on a regular basis, but a review can be especially important during times like these.

“During these times of uncertainty it is important to have peace of mind, and to have that peace of mind, to achieve it, is to get a financial check up,” she said.

Investors who were shocked at the state of their investment portfolios at the end of the first quarter might breathe a sigh of relief when checking their statements for the second quarter as stock markets have rallied off their lows seen near the end of March.

However, Canada’s main stock index is still down from where it was a year ago and well off the highs it hit in February before the pandemic struck the markets.

“The effects of the pandemic on the market will eventually pass, like the global financial crisis did, but if these few months created any stress or loss of sleep, we need to go back and talk about your risk appetite,” Cheung says.

But she says if your risk appetite has not changed and your goal hasn’t changed, then it is critical to think long term and stick to your plan.

Before heading into a meeting with your adviser, it is important to have a firm grip of your budget and what your goals are for the meeting.

Cheung says you need to be prepared to have an open discussion and be ready with information like your monthly income and expenses.

For some, reviewing their financial plan may mean difficult decisions, facing depleted emergency funds due to the loss of a job and little prospect for a return to work at a level seen before the pandemic.

A poll done for TD Bank found that 38 per cent of those surveyed identified as financially vulnerable in April 2020 compared with 15 per cent in November last year. The poll also found that 13 per cent of those asked in April felt confident in their financial future compared with 20 per cent in November 2019.

If you have taken advantage of the payment deferrals offered by many lenders, you need to have a clear plan for when those deferral periods come to an end and you need to resume making payments.

Gio Bazile, a district vice-president at TD Bank, says some borrowers may start to struggle once the deferrals come to an end if their income hasn’t picked back up again.

“Part of what is going to be really critical is understanding what your future cash flow is going to look like and how do you work with your financial adviser with an impending financial hardship, how do you best balance your wants and needs,” he said.

Bazile says everyone is going to face their own situation, but it’s key to have a candid conversation with your partner or family to understand where you are financially.

“If your cash flow is low or if you are kind of over-leveraged from a debt perspective, then that’s probably a time to actually spend some time with your financial adviser,” he said.

“If you’re looking at your savings account and realizing, wait a minute, I may not be able to get through this next two, three months and beyond, that’s probably another really big trigger.”

Craig Wong, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Finances

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon paddleboarders raise more than $40K for People Place

Third annual Stand Up For charity paddleboard event exceeds $25,000 goal

Square footage may be revisited for Vernon cultural centre

Greater Vernon Cultural Centre could see size shrink up to 20 per cent as cost-savings measure

Brain safety top of mind for Lake Country kids

Bylaw officers noticing a number of youth out riding bikes, scooters, skateboards without helmets

UPDATE: House fire spreads to bush off Westside

Small blaze burning near Vernon in Six Mile area

Wildfire sparked at Stuart Creek near Westside Road

An air tanker has been requested, according to BC Wildfire

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read