How to assess and tackle your finances

How to assess and tackle your finances

We know it’s been said before, but it has truly been a challenging year, and COVID-19 has brought some unexpected disruptions to income and expenses for many people.

While out of adversity often come opportunity, there may also be short-term challenges to tackle. The Pepper Money team is here to support our customers achieve their real life financial goals both in the short term and long term, and we know that people's situations are unique and can change swiftly.

The financial impacts have varied greatly for Australian households through this time. It can be likened to a storm in the ocean. One person may be experiencing some bumpy waves, for another it may be smooth sailing, while others are weathering a significant financial storm.

Regardless of where in the ocean you find yourself, there are steps you can take to regain control and take care of yourself and your family, now and in the future.

Remember you are not alone and there are many free and accessible resources available to you.

How to assess your current situation

Need help with money now?
If all of a sudden you find you're in financial crisis or struggling to buy food and pay for essentials, there are a number of assistance options that may be available to you if you require urgent assistance. In addition you can get in touch with the free National Debt Helpline to talk to an independent and confidential financial counsellor.

Getting on top of your debts
Struggling with repayments and debts can be stressful. The good news is there are steps you can take to relieve the financial pressure. To start, work out what you owe, and what you can afford to pay off. Next, you should prioritise those debts, then work down the list over time as you can afford repayments. Speak with your various service providers about your situation. They may have payment assistance plans that can help you.  

Living on a reduced income?
You may suddenly find yourself managing on a reduced income. This can be overwhelming particularly if you’ve never faced something like this before. There are steps you can take today to help tomorrow.

There is government assistance like the JobSeeker or Job Keeper payment available, find out more and understand if you are eligible at the Australian Government website.

You may also want to seek mortgage or rent relief. For renters, get in touch with your landlord or real estate agent. If you think you will have trouble paying your rent, it’s a good idea to put this in writing to keep track of your request. If you have a mortgage, there are a number of ways your lender may be able to help. Get in touch sooner rather than later to understand your options.

Look at ways to reduce your spending in order to make some quick savings right away, read more here for some tips and tools to approach this.

Preparing for a change in circumstances

For people who are expecting financial changes ahead that make it difficult to pay their mortgage or other bills, the best thing to do is get in touch with your lender as early as possible to talk about available options.

Data from the Australian Banking Association updated on 20 May shows that almost 440,000 households have deferred mortgage repayments due to COVID-19. So, you are certainly not alone, but there are a few things to think about before applying for a repayment break.

You may have more options than you expect. This could vary from changing or reducing repayments, accessing funds in redraw or offset or accessing equity in your home loan.

Whatever your situation, there is support out there and things you can do today to look after yourself and your money.

If you’re a Pepper Money customer experiencing financial difficulty, or just want to know your options should your circumstances change, contact us on 1300 650 931, or visit our Financial Assistance Hub.

Check out our other articles in Pepper’s Real Life Money Management Guide, for some simple tips to manage your money and seek assistance in need:

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