Your finances can blossom like these spring flowers.

Spring into Financial Success: A Pandemic, a Plan, and a Perspective

Spring is often associated with renewed feelings of hope and fresh perspectives. However, heading into Spring after such a tumultuous year has probably left you feeling anything but. While the end of this pandemic might still seem far off, now is the best time to start planning for your financial future post-pandemic and get your finances back on track!

To help you spring into this new season with newfound motivation, our counsellors have put together a 5-step action plan for you to start today:

Step #1: Gather your financial information

As they say, how can you determine your next steps if you don’t know where you’re at? Before you can make a post-pandemic financial plan, you need to take stock of where your finances are currently at and get organized. Pull this past year’s bank statements, bills, etc. to get an accurate picture of your money. What have you been or not been spending money on this past year that is different from years before? How do you expect this to change this year?

Step #2: Review your budget

With your financial information in hand, it’s time to take a look at your current budget―if you have one! Does your budget reflect your current financial situation? Your budget should be flexible and be reviewed and revised regularly. If your budget is too restrictive and it’s making you feel worse about your financial future than better, it’s not the right budget! And if you don’t have a budget yet, now is the time to create one.

Step #3: Call Money Mentors

Now that you have a fairly accurate portrayal of your finances, it’s time to give us a call. Our accredited, approachable counsellors are here to provide money coaching and credit counselling to Albertans over the phone and virtually. Together, we’ll go over your financial information, current budget, and financial goals to help you devise a new budget that works with your current financial situation and future goals.

Step #4: Weigh your options

Your financial situation might be better or worse than you originally thought. Whatever situation you’re in right now, it will be okay! If you have debts that feel overwhelming to you, there are options. You can choose to pay them off yourself or through debt consolidation, like the federally legislated Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program.

Step #5: Small financial goals

Sometimes financial goals can feel scary, so break them down. What’s the next little step you can take to start your post-pandemic financial plan? Just opening up about your finances and talking to a Money Mentors counsellor is a huge first step, so pat yourself on the back! Break your financial plan and goals into smaller, actionable steps and then work on them one step at a time. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to see your tremendous progress that much easier.

Bonus step: Hope for the best, plan for the worst and start an emergency fund

Sure, we might not have another global pandemic like COVID-19 anytime soon, but it’s likely another financial crisis will occur again. Whatever crisis comes next, make sure you’re prepared. Keep growing your emergency fund and take advantage of other ways to save, too―like RRSPs, TFSAs, employee programs, etc.

 

 

The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Whatever you are feeling right now is valid. Financial stress happens to us all and at different stages in life, not just COVID-19.

Here are some things you can do to help manage your financial stress:

  1. Keep it in perspective
  2. What’s the worst-case scenario in your mind? Remind yourself that most worst-case scenarios never happen, and even if they do, there is always a solution.

  3. Practice gratitude
  4. This past year has brought a lot of heartache for us all, so let’s flip the narrative and think about all the joys it has brought, too. How has this past year brightened your life? And in what ways do you plan on incorporating some of these parts into your life post-pandemic?

  5. Talk to a healthcare professional
  6. It’s okay if you can’t find a way to manage your stress alone. That’s what doctors and mental health professionals are for! Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options or make an appointment with a mental health professional to discuss your feelings and work on coping skills.

 

Remember: A year after a forest fire, the forest regenerates. And so shall you.

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