(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

Chilliwack Mural Festival comes alive in the downtown core

‘Murals offer a safe way for people to enjoy socially distanced artwork,’ says organizer

Chilliwack museum looking for public feedback on exhibits

Online survey will help drive three-year plan for future exhibit possibilities

Mission man who nearly died from COVID-19 at Abbotsford hospital reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

Donations of fresh produce sought from Chilliwack backyard gardeners

Hamper program from Chilliwack Citizens for Change to serve those with special dietary needs

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read