1 Year of COVID -Emotional, Mental and Financial Health Lessons Learned
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It is hard to believe it has been one year since COVID-19 became a reality and the world began to shut down. There have been so many challenges during this pandemic that has affected people on all levels such as job loss, travel restrictions, mental health challenges, financial hardships, business challenges and list goes on. However, on a more positive note, Canadians share with us that the pandemic has given some people time to slow down and reflect on what matters most. In some cases, Canadians were able to save money during the pandemic as a result of less commutes, dining out and travelling. Without downplaying the challenges, there have been many lessons learned and Canadians are always adapting.
One key finding from a recent study that Bromwich+Smith conducted is that there is this sense that we are in this together, which has led to less stigma around restructuring. When asked “Do you support or oppose debt forgiveness for the following expenses?” The three debt-causing areas that generated the most compassionate support were critical illness (for which more than eight-in-10 Canadians supported debt forgiveness) death of a spouse or loved one (72 per cent), and job loss (63 per cent). Additional expenses that Canadians believe should be forgiven were student loans (52 per cent), small business debt (44 per cent), and mortgage and rent (39 per cent).
A shift in attitude toward those who are really crushed by their debts is great! It really brings to life the concept of “we are in this together.” It has brought awareness around the importance of financial security and has encouraged us to examine our finances, emergency funds and motivated us to consider creating more than one income stream. This pandemic impacted all countries, all sectors of work and business and really enforced the importance of re-evaluating and questioning our sense of security. This can be a jumping off point for building our own safety nets like an emergency fund which, although may not have been enough to sustain an entire year of job loss – it is something we have come to value more now than ever before.
The pandemic has certainly put a twist in our plans. Many of us have had to delay major purchases, reduce our spending habits and re-evaluate where our money goes and reconsider what our needs are versus our wants. It has created this forced delayed gratification, for example, the inability to travel without significant restrictions which for many, has delayed vacation plans. It’s also been a time for people to find or reconnect with hobbies, be more present with their immediate families and find ways to connect in a virtual space like never before. This is a great time to start meaningful conversations, reach out to friends, family and neighbours and normalize the conversation around struggles that some people are facing including mental health, emotional stability and financial strain.
Mental and emotional health are a top priority, and there has been an evident need to create strong support for the community’s mental and emotional well-being. If you are struggling, it’s important that you reach out for help through several resources that are available online or over the phone. There are many local and national programs to support mental and emotional well-being such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and other organizations that specifically foster and support mental and emotional well-being.
Financial well-being is equally as important, and the need to build strong financial supports. Debt can be debilitating and even more difficult to deal with when you pair debt with a global pandemic. The first step to get out of debt is to be aware and know your numbers and make a self care checklist for your financial health. A few key questions to ask yourself: How much do I owe and to whom? What is the interest rate on debt owing? How long will it take to pay off that debt in full if I only make minimum payments? It is essential to know what is your budget which is key to having that financial control. It’s important to know these facts so that you can tackle your debt.
Many Canadians will take a close look at their debts and realize it’s just beyond their means to pay it off and will either ignore it or seek help. If you feel overwhelmed by debt, what should you do? First, we want Canadians to know they are not alone. There are so many people struggling with debt. The more we talk about these things, the more we realize we are not alone and the better we can help one another, and all rise up.
One of the best things you can do is reach out for help and get that fresh perspective. Bromwich+Smith offers a free, no obligation, non-judgemental, personalized experience, that will create clarity regarding your financial situation. You will receive solutions to support you in managing your debt effectively and gain next steps so you can make a very informed decision. Bromwich+Smith understands the many reasons why people go into debt and provides ongoing support to those who are seeking debt relief solutions. It is empowering when you can take control of your finances and get a fresh start!
Contact Bromwich+Smith today for your free consultation. Our Debt Relief Specialists are available by phone at 1-855-884-9243 or you can request a call back via our contact us page. There is no need to travel to a local office. Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Bromwich+Smith, is now offering video appointments, with all services available from the comfort of your home.
By Taz Rajan Community Engagement Partner at Bromwich+Smith
Taz has been in the finance industry for nearly 2 decades and has always been passionate about education and empowerment. Having declared bankruptcy herself, she intimately understands the shame, stigma surrounding matters of debt as well as the joy and relief that comes from restructuring. Taz actively works to normalize the conversation of debt through blogs, media interviews, webinars, lunch & learns and through building relationship.