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Many people are worried about their finances in the wake of COVID-19, and the resulting UK lockdown. Will I be able to keep my job as financial pressures bear down on my employer, and how can I support my family if that happens? What about self-employed people who don’t have the same financial protections concerning severance pay, sick pay and maternity leave?
These are very difficult and complex questions, and our financial advisers here at Cedar House are here to help. The situation is constantly changing as government policy shifts, and the wider situation with COVID-19 develops. However, we offer this short guide, accurate at the time of writing in early April 2020, to help reinforce your financial protection plan in the months ahead.
For more information and personalised financial advice, please contact our team via:
020 8366 4400 or email@example.com
New UK government protections
Let’s start with the important government announcements in March 2020, concerning financial support for workers affected by COVID-19. As most people know, the government has ordered that everyone stays at home for the foreseeable future and that people work remotely unless it is absolutely necessary for “key workers” (e.g. NHS nurses) to travel into work.
If anyone is at risk of losing their job due to COVID-19, moreover, the government has said that it will pay 80% of workers’ wages (up to £2,500 per month). The scheme is open for three months, with the possibility of renewal.
In addition, any homeowners up-to-date with their mortgage payments will be able to apply for a three-month mortgage holiday, should they face financial difficulties due to COVID-19. This new scheme has also been extended to Buy To Let mortgages. Renters will also be prevented from eviction at this time, with landlords required to give tenants three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession. At the time of writing, however, there is no legislation forcing landlords to give tenants a break if they cannot pay the rent.
Self-employed people, it was announced on the 26th of March, will have access to an 80% income support scheme from June 2020. Self-employed renters who lose income in the months prior, however, might be able to access Universal Credit to help tide them over.
COVID-19 and financial protection
Whilst these government measures are certainly welcome, further financial planning will be necessary for many people to ensure a viable income during this difficult time. Naturally, one important area to consider right now is life insurance.
The mortality rate of COVID-19 is still unknown but could be anywhere between 0.4% and 11% or even higher for “at-risk” groups. Of course, none of us thinks we will be one of the unlucky ones. Yet anything could happen, and in the worst-case scenario, it could immensely help your loved ones to have access to a much-needed lump sum during these difficult economic times.
At Cedar House, our financial planners can help you survey the full range of options on the market, and find the best deal for your needs. Please note that the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to affect the application process for many insurers, and a financial planner can help you navigate some of the novel complexities here.
Protecting income in light of COVID-19
Life insurance can give your loved ones financial support should the worst happen to you. However, what if you lose your job due to company layoffs? What about those with pensions?
Of course, you might be in the more fortunate position of having a strong set of emergency savings set aside for such a situation as this. Here at Cedar House, for instance, we often tell clients to aim for a financial “buffer” of 3-6 months expenses, held in an easy-access savings account. This could come in very useful should you lose your job, in addition to the financial support offered by the government.
Those with income protection or critical illness cover policies might do well to review the provisions with a financial adviser, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be aware that you might not be able to rely on this to provide a replacement income, should you become seriously ill due to coronavirus.
For pensioners whose income relies on an income drawdown approach, now might also be a good time to review things with your financial adviser. Bear in mind that if the overall value of your pension investments has fallen, then you might need to consider how your withdrawals could affect the longevity of your savings in the long term. It might be that, for the shorter term, your financial adviser recommends reducing certain expenses and/or making up any income shortfall by leveraging other assets (e.g. ISA savings).
This is a difficult time for anybody, and we at Cedar House wish you security, safety and good health. Life might feel forever changed right now, but we will get through this together.
Our financial advisers are still available to assist you at this time, should you require any more information or guidance on these important matters.
If you would like to discuss your financial plan or protection strategy with a member of our team, then get in touch today to arrange a free consultation:
020 8366 4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.