It is difficult to talk about income security in this time of a pandemic, with the election in the United States and all the economic chaos around government aid; the uncertainty around stimulus to the economy, the number of unemployed and what it all will mean to those on government earned pensions and those using savings to finance their way in retirement. So much uncertainty and rhetoric makes one feel less than secure in these troubled times.
In the research I have read, one well respected certified financial planner gives this advice to people asking the question, “Where is my money going to come from?” Many people have either unfortunately lost their job or have been put on temporary leave or are finding that ends just don’t meet with inflation. He comments that a word that comes to mind that no one wants to hear is “budget” but also that it doesn’t have to be negative. It can be as simple as taking a piece of paper, folding it down the middle and using the heading on one side “What money is realistically coming in?” and the other side “What money is going out.” Start with the necessities of life, shelter, food and medications. The decision for any of the rest of the expenses comes from how wants and needs are defined within a family. What one family determines as a need may be different than another. There are some things on the list that are wants that are really needs for both physical and mental health of the person concerned. Those are personal family decisions that are hard to reconcile and often stressful discussions within the family. A professional financial advisor is often the answer.
Financial advisors are in many ways like physicians. Doctors assess your physical health and then give advice from their professional knowledge base and the same is true of professional financial planners. They look at your financial situation and give advice from their professional experience and often from years of finding varieties of successful options that have helped another family’s experience. The decision still remains with the family asking the question. Being as fully informed as possible is the answer. Knowledge is the power you have to make the right decision.
Often help is free. www.canada.ca/personalfinance www.manitobagov.ca/personalfinance for help from federal and provincial sources, and www.getyourbenefits.ca from “It’s A Fact: Better Income Can Lead to Better Health,” the booklet that describes many different government income benefit programs. A new telephone service is 211. Check www.unitedwaywinnipeg.ca/211phonesservice for information. There are supports available for older adults, for families and individuals even listed in the telephone book. Often the stress comes from the change in the way we now need to live because of the pandemic. Although it is difficult it is also an opportunity to learn from the change. The Financial Agency of Canada has posted an article on why emergency funds are important. That is a realistic way to plan for an unforeseen event that may happen again in the future.