Right, so we have been hit with the greatest pandemic in living memory. It has literally rocked our world, and not in a good way. As I type this almost 1,000,000 Irish people are in receipt of social welfare payment, be it job seekers or the new Covid benefit payment. Retail (with the notable exception of supermarkets) is gone, our local pubs and restaurants are also shut. There is an eerie atmosphere in the supermarket as we go about our business, the voice-over reminding us of social distancing, and all those wonderful things we took for granted are no longer within our grasp, for now.
On the investment front, markets were butchered. We had appeared to be approaching “end of cycle” whereby a prolonged period of growth comes to a rather abrupt if not permanent end. But it is the manner in which this downturn has been triggered which has proven most shocking. We are punch drunk, heads spinning and it feels sometimes like a bad dream.
We are all now engaged in survival mode, getting through the next few months. There are some things beyond our control, on a macro level. Humans share certain needs, the need to feel safe, secure, valued. Our whole system has been disrupted and it’s perfectly normal and expected to be reeling, to feel down, and to feel worried.
If the medical, viral and economic experts cannot predict what will happen next, then I’m not going to succeed either. So what can we do in a crisis? The tiger cubs of 2008 will have seen this before, flying high yet ultimately brought crashing down to earth. For after all, there is only 6 inches from a pat in the back and a kick up the arse.
I’ve never worried about the uncontrollables, only what I can something about, it’s like stressing about the weather, it is futile and energy sapping. So I’ve put together a few ideas and suggestions to try to help you through the next few weeks and maybe months, but hopefully only weeks.
Mostly financial tips but forgive me for affording myself some scope to expand on my own personal views.
Survival Mode means reducing outgoings
Lets start by reducing/eliminating the biggies. If you have had your income reduced/lost due to Covid 19, engage with your lending institutions. Apply for the 3 month Mortgage Moratorium, do likewise with all personal loans, car loans and your credit card. Yes you will have to pay these back down the line, but focus on the now and getting through the next few weeks
Engage with your landlord. They are likely to be seeking their own moratoriums from their banks on the property. This should free up finances enough to do a deal with you. They may not be legally obliged to, but there is an inherent moral duty here. Seek at the very least a reduction in rent with an assurance that this shortfall will not be sought to be repaid in the future.
Sole traders, Partnerships and limited company owners, engage with your tax advisors and accountants. Explore every available allowance and option being afforded.
Utility Bills, TV and Broadband
What a great time to review your package. If you are out of your contract period, go to www.bonkers.ie and compare the services out there, and start switching and saving money
Premium Sports Channels
Cancel, cancel cancel! These may be costing you over €40 per month. There is no live sport at the moment worth watching, with the odd exception of Russian Table Tennis or U20 Nicaraguan soccer. If you love both of these, then I’m happy for you. If not, then rather than pay big money to watch reruns of Liverpool v Newcastle from 1991, drop these channels like a hot potato.
An interesting exercise. Print of the last two months and grab a highlighter pen. Do you know exactly what debits are coming out and for what purpose? You may well find one you though was long cancelled. Be mindful though not to inadvertently cancel an important insurance or protection policy without fully investigating the outgoing first.
It is possible to skip a few months pension payments to free up some cash. There is no need to manually stop the mandate, just get in touch with your financial adviser and they can help.
KEEP your Netflix and Spotify
They keep me sane, music keeps me going, it makes this world go round.
Bottom Line, things will get better.
Feel free to reach out to me by phone call, email or whatever medium suits you. I am open and I’m here to listen in confidence.