How to financially survive Covid-19

If you look at people and businesses who are the worst affected financially by Covid-19 it is either people who have no income at all or those people and businesses who have substantial debt which they can no longer afford to repay. This article will help you make the immediate changes necessary to become more financially resilient so that you can weather these times and when tides turn you will prosper.

Step 1: Stage an Intervention

Reduce your expenses. Look at what your income is and try as best as possible not to spend more than you earn. This may involve drastically reducing your expenses. The best way to do this is to haul out your bank and credit card statement and to look at where your money is going. Perhaps you can cut back on luxury items, like streaming services, ordering in less, cooking more at home. It is important in this time to keep your valuable insurance cover in place but you could look at reducing/pausing any discretionary investment contributions (make sure you understand the immediate and long term cost of doing so and if there are any penalties).

Step 2: Secure additional Funding/Assistance (only if needed)

If you have cut your expenses back as far as possible but are still coming up short then you may need to consider one or more of the following options:

  • Funding the shortfall in expenses from any savings/investments that you have.
  • Applying for relief from government funding and unemployment schemes where available.
  • Approaching the people/companies, that are still sending you bills, for payment relief options or temporary payment reductions/suspensions.
  • Approaching your bank for temporary payment relief on your debt/loans, although this will most likely result in higher repayments later or an extended loan term.
  • Borrowing from longer term debt/loans that you have access to e.g. a mortgage bond (they typically have the lowest interest rate compared to other debt). Borrow as a last resort and as little as possible from credit cards, overdraft facilities and personal loans as these will cost you the most over time.

If none of these options are possible or sustainable then you will need to make the tough choice to cut your expenses even more drastically!

Step 3: Consolidate and Rebuild

If you find that you are able to cut your expenses to such an extent that you have an amount left over in your bank account at the end of the month then try and settle any short term debt that you have. This is important if lockdowns extend or if there is a 2nd wave of Covid-19 infections which may place your future income further at risk.

Start by paying off any credit card/store card debt, overdraft or personal loans as these normally have the highest interest rates. You will save on the monthly interest charges creating even more disposable income. With any debt that you are unable to settle you may consider consolidating it to obtain a lower interest rate.

Once your short-term debt has been settled pay more into your mortgage bond (provided you can access it in an emergency) or create a low risk, accessible savings account to which you can contribute to build up a capital reserve for times of emergency.

Step 4: Try to create an additional source of Income

This may require a lot of effort, creativity and ingenuity but what is there to lose? You could look for suitable positions to apply for where you can work from home e.g. free lancing or consulting, you could provide a service online such as teaching a skill or become an online tutor or educator.

If you have more ideas to create additional sources of income please share them in the comments below.


Live Lean! Make your assets work for you rather than the other way round!

Living Lean is a conscious and disciplined decision to live simply with low overheads. In times of abundance this will allow you the freedom to enjoy a multitude of experiences and to invest in your future and that of your children. In times of scarcity or hardship this will allow you to be resilient and able to weather the storm without having to face unbearable financial strain.

3 Key principles of Living Lean are:

  • Don’t have more than you need. The addiction to buying homes with more rooms than are needed and expensive, fast cars that one can’t even let loose in our traffic is prevalent. Take a moment to work out the percentage of time you spend in your car in a day compared to the percentage of your monthly salary that you spend on the repayments and ask if the two percentages are in line? Secondly, ask, do you really need to buy a bigger home only to be burdened by a huge home loan? You will probably have to downsize one day in any event so why not just never upscale?
  • Don’t own what you can share. This is a powerful principle as it takes incredible stress out of life. Remember, the more you own, the more time and money it takes to maintain! Examples are using music/video streaming services, using a free public library rather than buying books, living in a complex where the expenses of a pool and garden can be shared, rather than maintaining a big garden making use of free and safe public parks which are paid for by your taxes, and if you don’t drive much, using rides services such as UBER rather than owning a car.
  • If you don’t have the cash don’t buy it. If you are reliant on personal loans and credit cards then it is very easy to get into a downward debt spiral. After all, it is very easy to spend money when it is not your money, delaying the pain of paying it back to future dates with small monthly installments. The interest on these loans will cost you a fortune over time! A better approach is to set yourself a budget, lock your credit card away, and live solely off your debit card month to month – you will be amazed how this focuses the mind as you need to weigh up every purchase you make against others and whether it will leave you with enough in your account to pay your regular debit orders.

Applying these 3 Living Lean principles will allow you to enjoy life in the moment without worrying about the stresses of material and financial trappings. Living lean allows assets such as your home to work for you, by allowing you the financial space to travel more, to go on more holidays, to invest in your own financial future and in your children’s education.


Please see my second article as a guest blogger for WellBe&Co as part of their financial wellness month at https://wellbecompany.com/how-to-avoid-behaviour-traps-that-stop-you-from-being-the-master-of-your-finances/ . WellBe&Co is a dynamic corporate and personal wellness company specialising in nutrition, training and health solutions.


Please see my recent article as a guest blogger for WellBe&Co as part of their financial wellness month at https://wellbecompany.com/five-simple-habits-to-improve-your-health-and-investments/. WellBe&Co is a dynamic corporate and personal wellness company specialising in nutrition, training and health solutions.

Five financial planning principles that helped me lose weight and get in shape

Published on LinkedIn – May 2018

So, having been on a mission to get myself in shape I have finally reached my goal – 16% body fat! Now 12 months later and 55 kg lighter (yikes!) I would like to share 5 key principles equally applicable to sound financial planning that helped me achieve my goal:

Principle 1: Cut out excess consumption

I can truly say that 80% of the result was due to cutting out the junk and eating the right things in the right proportion. It is very difficult to out exercise a bad diet unless you are spending 4 hours in the gym every day! Changing your eating habits is certainly easier said than done. After overcoming 2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms things became a lot easier!

Principle 2: Have the right strategy

Combining good eating habits with the right type of exercise (once I had already lost some weight and was feeling motivated by the results) accelerated my progress. It also took me a while to realise that weight and resistance training three hours a week was far more effective at burning fat than normal steady state cardio as it not only slowed down muscle loss, it accelerated fat loss due to my body’s requirement for more energy to maintain the muscle! Combining this with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) cardio every now and then on my “rest days” made a very effective combination. Rest and recovery, together with refining and reviewing the strategy from time to time, was crucial.

Principle 3: Be consistent and disciplined

Pitching up to the gym on the days that I least felt like it and choosing to have a bun-less burger with salad when everybody else was having burgers and chips were the little battles that helped me win the war. Also having the discipline not to bring temptation into the house and having the support of my family made a huge difference.

Principle 4: Don’t overextend yourself

Starvation diets cannot last and overtraining at the gym can also lead to adverse results e.g. injury and more off days. What you do must be sustainable and needs to become a habit/lifestyle.

Principle 5: Seek professional advice

Engaging the services of a great personal trainer (Matt Koury from Virgin Active Cresta – thank you!) and dietician will ensure that you are following an appropriate plan to achieve your objective. They will motivate you, ensure that you are using the right technique for exercises and will hold you accountable. It certainly makes me more likely to go to gym if I know Matt is there waiting for me!

As mentioned these principles are just as applicable to sound financial planning: keep your expenses within your planned budget and avoid unnecessary spending especially when fuelled by credit cards and personal loans (Principle 1), make sure that your investment strategy is appropriate for your objectives and review it when necessary (Principle 2), stick to your strategy and put money away consistently (Principle 3),ensure that your financial plan is affordable and can be sustained (Principle 4) and seek ongoing professional financial advice to ensure that you achieve your goals and that your policies and investments are structured correctly (Principle 5).

#FinancialFitness #GetInShape #Fitness #WeightLoss

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