Personal finances to survive the pandemic

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The pandemic has shown a spotlight on the importance of personal finances like no crisis before.

Even those lucky to have secure, well-paid jobs have found their incomes have been squeezed under government furlough schemes, whilst those in industries like hospitality, tourism and leisure have seen millions of positions simply disappear, in some cases forever.

And, whilst there may be a short-lived post pandemic boom, many are left with the stark choice of either unemployment or the long road of learning new skills.

Now is the time for people to take control of their own finances.

At the margins, this may mean cutting down on discretionary spend. For example, one industry that has boomed during the pandemic has been the online casino business.

Online casinos in Ireland listed here gives details of some of the key operators.

However, as fun as online gambling may be, it can be addictive if taken too far. And, even if it is a habit that can be controlled, people should never spend more than they can afford to lose, especially when their income is being pressurised anyway.

In fact, those finding themselves in a financial predicament need to sit down and budget so that they know what their monthly incomings and outgoings are, splitting the latter between essential items – mortgage/rent, utility bills, food, taxes et -and those of a more discretionary nature, such as travel and entertainment.

To supplement their income, they might use any money they have pot by for emergencies, cash in any investments they might have, take out a loan against any retirement fund they might have, or see if they can release any of the equity held in property they own, by re-mortgaging, for example.

They may also want to see if is possible to borrow any money in the short-term from family and friends.

At the same time, people should not be embarrassed about applying for any unemployment benefit or other relief offered by the government. Many people have been paying taxes and social security for years, so it is not as if they have not contributed to this state aid.

Nor does it stop there: many countries offer grants or assisted learning packages for those looking to acquire new skills or retain. Such help may be available either at the central or local government level, although they are not always well advertised.

If in doubt the best suggestion is to approach the local citizens’ advice bureau for more information.

Another thing that can be done is to approach any creditors directly to explore if there is a way that debts can be rescheduled, repayment terms extended, late fees waived or other alternatives.

Many creditors will be sympathetic given that these are unprecedented times, and be conscious of the need to show some flexibility. They will also be aware that, if they take too stringent a line they risk the possibility of absolute default on any debt owed.

It is Better for them to find a compromise acceptable to both parties than risk a worse outcome.