As the world continues to learn more about COVID-19, concern and uncertainty over what’s to come are rising. Many of us are wondering about the state of our finances. Here are 5 actions you can take that could help keep you financially sound.
1. Reconsider your budget
You may want to tighten your budget to ensure you have enough funds to cover your expenses, especially if the crisis goes on longer than expected. Allocating more money into your emergency fund is also a good idea – put away as much as you can afford right now, because it will come in handy if things take a turn for the worse.
2. Get help if you’re in financial trouble
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, don’t simply skip payments as doing so will affect your credit score. Contact your creditors before missing a payment to see if they can help.
Due to the crisis, many Malaysian banks and financial services institutions have expanded their ongoing financial assistance programmes to help ease their customers’ financial burdens. Some of the assistance offered include:
- Restructuring / rescheduling of installment repayments
- Moratorium of up to 6 months
- Deferment of financing servicing for up to 6 months
- Waiver of late charges for financing
- Temporary deferment of loan repayments
- Restructuring of installment repayments
As each bank / institution has different types of assistance as well as terms and conditions, do contact your respective bank(s) to know how they can specifically help you regarding your issue.
3. Make all payments on time
Credit scores are impacted by late or missed payments. Attempt to make at least your minimum monthly payments by their due date. Try to maintain timely repayments even if you’re only paying the bare minimum required.
4. Consult Financial experts
For those with investments, savings or retirement accounts, the market fluctuations could cause significant concern. Before you make any hasty decisions with your investments, consult financial experts where you invest or your bank.
5. Stay on top of your credit
Regardless if you’ve missed payments in the past or not, staying on top of your credit health is always a good idea. When you get your updated credit report, you’ll be able to see what part of your credit health needs fixing, i.e. which payments you’ve missed and how many. Then, you can start taking steps to fix issues if needed, as well as continue to monitor your credit health.