Times are tough in Calgary right now. The drop in the cost of oil has meant that many companies are cutting wages or worse, laying people off. Unfortunately a layoff can often come out of left field and leave you wondering how to keep your personal finances in the black.
For me, money worries can lead to so much anxiety that I often make knee jerk decisions that end up being the absolute worse thing I could do. So how do you know what to do if you get laid off or your pay is cut? What bills do you pay first? What can wait? Is there anyone that can help?
Well, my friends at TD Bank asked me to share their TD Helps Team. TD has a commitment to help Albertans – whether that’s standing by them during difficult times or answering financial questions to help them make informed decisions, either in person, by phone or online. I love this because at difficult times it can be hard to reach out in person or on the phone (or maybe that is just me). I will do it eventually but I would much rather look online to get an idea of options before I reach out in person.
The TD Helps program team works with customers when they need help with flexible mortgage payment options, loan consolidations, or mortgage payment deferrals. They can also look at extending amortizations, renegotiating lower mortgage payments or consolidating higher interest debt with secured debt. Basically making less money stretch further to keep all personal finances on track and out of the red.
Interested to see what your options are before reaching out? TD Helps online experts answer online questions about home ownership, saving/managing money, borrowing/managing debt, and investing/planning for retirement. An answer is just a click and question away, and a personalized response is posted within hours.
Are you one of the lucky ones that haven’t been hit by the downturn? TD can still help you protect your finances if the worst were to happen. They can help you with:
- Create a cash flow projection. Just like a small business, an accurate forecast of money flowing into and out of your personal accounts will help you predict your financial needs if or when your situation changes. Consider how long you might be out of work, severance possibilities, and any other sources of income or expenditures.
- Consider spouse, partner and/or dependent expectations. It is important to review your finances at a high-level: spouses, partners, and dependents may be impacted by a change in circumstances and should be included in financial plans.
- Start an emergency fund. Three to six months’ worth of net income is considered the ideal safety net. With interest rates at historical lows, getting pre-approved for a home equity line of credit, which is easier done in advance, allows you to tap into those funds in times of crisis if needed.
- Evaluate your investment portfolio. TD’s financial planners can help you avoid choices that may have negative income tax and retirement implications, two areas that are often overlooked.
We all hope that the worst will never happen but boy it sure feels better knowing that you are prepared if it does. You aren’t in this alone. Reach out to your financial adviser…TD or otherwise…and let the experts help you make the best possible decisions in a trying time to keep your personal finances secure.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by TD Bank but, as always, all opinions are my own.