During these difficult times, thinking about your financial situation can be stressful.
Fears over the spread of coronavirus are causing lots of people uncertainty and real worry in different areas of their lives, from their health and wellbeing to work and finances.
We have put together a short useful list of things you can consider to assist in managing your finances and to protect your hard earned money.
If you have any questions about financial planning, get in touch with our financial experts in Gogans.
We at Gogans are here to assist you with any queries you may have, whether you’re a valued current client or a possible future client. Click here to contact us by phone: (01) 2990299
1 Review your budget
A useful first step can be to look at how much you’ve got coming in and going out. As well as making sure you’re claiming what you’re entitled to – including benefits, sick pay and tax relief – you may need to see if you can cut back on your outgoings.
Depending on your spending and needs, that might not be easy as it could mean seeing if you can do without things you’d normally buy. Some banks offer spending breakdowns by category on their apps or websites. Using this resource can be a easy way to track your expenses when creating or reviewing your budget.
2 Look over your household bills
It can be a good idea to review all your utility bills and see if you could get a better deal if you switched energy or broadband suppliers.
3 Assess any debts or loans
Debts that may have been affordable a few months ago could now be causing you to worry if your income has dropped or if it might do so in the near future. If you’re having trouble with loan repayments, you should contact your provider directly to talk through what options are available to you.
Financial services companies are offering a range of measures to help customers affected by the Covid 19 crisis. AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank are offering:
• A payment break on loans (business loans, personal loans and credit)
• A solution to ensure that an application for a payment break as a result of Covid 19 will not affect your credit record.
• Deferral of court proceedings for three months.
Credit unions make decisions at a local level, so if you have concerns about meeting your loan repayments to a credit union, you should contact them directly.
4 Look into tax relief possibilities
If you’re working from home during the Covid 19 crisis, you may be able to claim tax relief from Revenue to help cover expenses you incur while working from home, such as heating, broadband and electricity costs. Typically, utilities are used for both personal and work use, so the refund will be based on the portion of your overall expenses which relate to your time working from home. How to claim tax relief At the end of the year, you can complete the Income Tax return through ‘My Account’ on the Revenue website. Revenue recommend that “all documentation relating to a claim should be retained for a period of six years from the end of the tax year to which the claim relates, as a claim may be selected for future examination.’’ For more information and updates, visit the Revenue website, www.revenue.ie
5 Spend less, save more
It’s worth reviewing regular subscriptions, like gym memberships, that you may be able to freeze or cancel if you’re not going to use them for a while.
You may not be able to save much if your income has dropped, but if you’re able to, it may be useful to try and build up a cash buffer for emergencies.
If you’re working from home rather than commuting to work, you’ll be spending less on travel and possibly things like lunches and coffees – you could consider putting this money into a savings account so that it can add up over time. The average household spends €632 during a pandemic week (including housing costs) compared to €837 in a normal week, according to estimates from the ESRI. Proactively saving the difference in your household expenditure during these restrictions could help in the longer term.
6 Don’t panic about your investments
If you have a pension (or an investment product), try to not panic if you see the value going down. It’s important to remember that pensions are long term investments – and it’s normal for the value of investments to go up and down. While it might be tempting to move investments now, it could be worth taking more of a long term view, depending on what stage of life you’re at. If you’re thinking about switching anything or taking money out of your pension, you should speak to a Financial Adviser in Gogans who can help you consider your options.
7 Review your protection policies
Life insurance providers have introduced measures to help customers in these uncertain times.
There may be covers available for lower premiums than you have been paying.
8 Watch out for scams
Fraudsters often take advantage of uncertain situations like the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of their money. Try to make sure you’re aware of the different types of scams out there, how to recognise and report them, how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you’ve been the victim of a scam.
• Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will use many forms of media, for example, phone calls, SMS, emails, websites, social media and more.
• Never provide personal information about yourself, never provide your bank details and never agree to send money until you are satisfied that the company you are dealing with is authorised and genuine. Before giving any personal information stop and think. Contact your service provider using the phone number on the official website. If in doubt, don’t reply to SMS or emails.
• You should also be wary of unsolicited emails or messages claiming to come from your service provider asking you to update your payment information or to click a link to update your financial information. For example, you may get an email or text that claims to be from your bank, asking you to update your information or telling you there has been some unusual activity on your account. You may be asked for personal information relating to your account. This is a scam: your bank will never ask you for your details in this way.
• Always act carefully when engaging with websites, companies or individuals you’re unfamiliar with. Research any website or company before buying anything and don’t just rely on reviews from one website or forum, as they could be fake.
• Be aware of firms offering any financial services or products that appear too good to be true, like cash loans, money transfers, insurance products, pension products, investment opportunities and more.
REMEMBER: Gogans can provide you with a Cyber Insurance policy to protect your business against many of the Cyber losses mentioned. Contact us for a quote; it is surprisingly affordable for very Comprehensive cover
Click here to take you to our contact page for our financial services advisers, we will be delighted to give your financial arrangements a review, at no obligation or cost to you.
Or Phone us on (01) 2990299
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