Financial support is available during the pandemic.

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

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Shuswap Youth Launch Team members Claire Waite, Abbigail Paetsch, Mikayla Wilkinson, Brynn Gowen and Caillie Hay-Vicars pause for a picture on the day of the Shuswap Youth Launch interactive event, Thursday, Feb. 25. (Contributed)
Shuswap Youth Launch team over the moon with success of interactive event

Salmon Arm youth team invited to apply for $100,000 grant

City council passed resolution in support of an expansion of the licence area at Salmon Arm’s Marionette Winery for the inclusion of a lounge area. (Marionette Winery/Facebook)
City opts out of public hearing for lounge addition at Salmon Arm winery

Marionette Winery expanding licence area to host small gatherings

Fundraising continues to support the Larch Hills Nordic Society’s campaign to install six kilometres of lighting at the popular Shuswap cross-country ski area. (Brad Calkins photo)
Phase 1 of light installation at Shuswap’s Larch Hills to begin this spring

Fundraising efforts continue to illuminate six kilometres of trails at cross-country ski area

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith of Grand Forks, put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland in early February

A student from Dawson Creek is the winner of Tolko’s Orange Shirt Day design contest for 2021. (Tolko photo)
Tolko contest features northern winner

Student from Dawson Creek beats out entries Canadawide for Orange Shirt Day design contest win

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

The Vernon Public Art Gallery's new Regional Reach program which sends supplies and lessons to classes, has been a hit in the North Okanagan classrooms. (VPAG photo)
Travelling art kit a hit in North Okanagan schools

Art Gallery’s new Regional Reach program delivers art education to the classrooms

A kaleidescope of colours was captured over Lake Country Sunday, Feb. 28. (Wendey Innes-Shaw photo)
Colourful close to month with North Okanagan sunset

From all angles: Vernon and Lake Country photographers capture sunset Feb. 28

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

An injured skier was helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort to Kelowna General Hospital Monday, March, 2021. (Linda Geggie / Facebook)
Injured skier helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort

The skier was taken to Kelowna General Hospital

Most Read