Pandemic Finances: Your Top COVID Financial Questions Answered
Top 5 Questions Financial Institutions are Hearing
COVID has had an intense impact on the world as we know it. In addition to the health concerns people are grappling with as we head into the second wave, there are a lot of people facing financial uncertainty due to job loss, down-turn in business and unexpected financial curveballs. If there was ever a time to lean into trusted financial advice, now would be it.
With that in mind, we have asked Lisa Colangelo, the Senior Vice President (SVP) of Retail Banking at Coast Capital to help answer some of the questions she and her team have been hearing from their members related to finances in the time of COVID.
1. I am overwhelmed by my finances between loss of income, debt repayment, housing costs and the day-to-day demands, how can I deal with the stresses associated with money?
There are a lot of people in this same spot. With all of the economic uncertainty currently, it can be a stressful time. Layer on top of that the ongoing public health concerns, and can become all too much.
Take control. That is the first step to finding some peace when it comes to your finances. Sit down, take stock and figure out where you can find savings. Actually putting it down on paper can give you great insight into exactly how much is coming in and what is going out and where it is going. Once you have reality laid out in front of you, you can actually play with those numbers and find out where you can cut back to put more against the expenses that are causing stress.
Knowledge is power – so, take control, understand your financial reality and you will have taken that hard first stop. Don’t overthink it, don’t get too fancy. A simple excel spreadsheet and your account overview online is a perfect start.
Advice is also powerful. You don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to your financial institution and start the important conversations that will set the path to your financial wellbeing. Coast Capital has a great team who can help you with the first steps. If you don’t already have a trusted advisor, don’t hesitate to reach out to have a Money Chat and discover the possibilities.
2. How do I get in front of debt, when I am struggling just to pay my monthly obligations?
If you are struggling with getting ahead of your debt, again, I assure you, you are not alone. Although the Canadian household debt ratio has declined since the Government income-support measures have been introduced, on average, Canadians still own $1.58 for every dollar they earn.
It doesn’t make the stress of debt any less daunting, but knowing that there are others in the same position can help overcome any perceived stigma that comes with heavy debt.
On that note, my best advice is to face it head on. Have the hard conversations and find relief in building and sticking to a strong financial plan to get you out of the red and living in the black.
Start by getting a handle on the reality of your current situation – make a list of who you owe, what you owe, the interest rates, and repayment schedules. This will help you prioritize your debts and come up with a concrete plan to pay them off.
It is always best to pay off high interest debts like credit cards first as they are the ones that grow quickly and can get out of hand just as quickly. Often, creditors are willing to talk about lowering your rate and adjusting your repayment plan to help you manage the monthly repayments without throwing you into arrears.
Again, you don’t need to do any of this on your own. Let’s think of it this way, you look to professionals every day for advice from your dentist to your house painter to your accountant and you shouldn’t be treating your finances any differently. Lean into trusted advisors who can help you build a budget, get on top of debt and find financial success.
3. I have realized just how quickly things can change dramatically. What should I be doing to protect what our family has worked hard to build?
Be prepared for the unexpected. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? The only thing certain about unforeseen financial ‘surprises’ whether it be a leaky roof, a major car repair or, a worldwide pandemic is that you’ll rarely see it coming and, there is another one waiting for each of us just around the corner.
Just as you have to put aside money for rent or a mortgage each month, you need to be setting aside some money into your ‘rainy day emergency fund.’ It is recommended that you have three to six months of income in liquid savings at any given moment. Don’t let the total dollar value discourage you – start small and make it regular and automated. If that means $10 per paycheck right now, then start there.
In addition to a strong emergency fund, at Coast Capital, we talk to our members about the importance of a fulsome insurance strategy. This goes further than home and car insurance, this includes life insurance, disability insurance and mortgage insurance. Having insurance to step in when life takes a turn that you weren’t expecting, helps you focus on the other factors that come with unexpected events without adding financial hardship to that stress.
4. The markets have been pretty unpredictable since the pandemic hit, should I be looking to change my investment strategy during the pandemic?
Market volatility is part of life. But the best bet is always to hold your investments over the long term.
You should certainly be aware of what’s happening in your portfolio, but unless you are edging up to the time you will be dipping into your investments, the best thing to do is sit tight. Over the long-haul there will be ups and downs but if you have a solid investment strategy, you likely don’t have to worry about the hiccups that things such as COVID cause in the markets.
The caveat being, everyone has different goals, timelines and risk appetites, you need to sit down and revisit those components with your advisor on a regular basis to ensure that your investments are working as hard as they can to help you reach your goals.
5. Our household has managed to stay on track through the pandemic, but I realize we have an opportunity to do better when it comes to financial planning. How do we better prepare for the next unexpected event that impacts our finances?
A lot of people have realized that they could be doing a better job in terms of financial planning to help weather unforeseen storms. Look at this as an opportunity rather than a failure – now that you know better, you can do better.
The most important proactive measure you can take to ensure you aren’t finding yourself in a financial crunch when the unexpected hits is to shore up your emergency fund. I like to refer to it as your financial parachute – you can deploy it when you need it and just knowing it is there will make you more confident and certain. We tell our Coast Capital members to work towards having six-months of expenses in a high-interest savings account that is untouched and ready to help when times get tough.
It seems daunting if you are starting from zero, but, remember you are building towards that six-month padding. Determine how much you can pour into the bucket each month and make sure to do that as soon as your pay cheque hits your account. We always get Coast Capital members set up with automated savings so that the savings grow without having to remember and without having to rely on willpower alone.
The other tip to building a strong emergency fund is to use any larger lump sums of money that come in to shore that savings up. Perhaps a tax return or a bonus from your employer, resist the urge to splurge and do future-you a favour by earmarking it to your emergency fund.
I have said it a number of times throughout the article above and I think it is worth reiterating one final time, you are not alone.
You are not alone in feeling stretched and overwhelmed right now and you are not alone when it comes to setting yourself up for financial wellbeing. These are unprecedented times we are living in and everyone is getting a crash course in pivoting, be kind to yourself and to others as we all learn, bend and find a new course forward.
Lean into the experts who can help you including your financial institution. You don’t have to navigate new realities alone, reach out, book an appointment and start having the conversations that matter most.
Lisa Colangelo is the SVP of Retail Banking at Coast Capital credit union and has a passion for helping others achieve financial wellbeing. Lisa leads a team of fully licensed financial professionals who can help you no matter where you are on your financial journey. Get in Touch, we are always here to help.
How Anyone Can Make Money as an Influencer
Influencers have always held an interesting position in popular culture. The role of influencer lies somewhere between cultural phenomenon and marketing tool. It can be hard to grasp how some people have developed a strong enough social influence that they can make money just by sharing a company’s products.
Some influencers get paid to try incredible food, go on fun vacations and share the things they love with their audience. Sounds like the perfect career if you ask us! Many people consider this to just be something they can’t do. It can feel like these influencers have special abilities that are beyond the average person, but that is just not true.
A gig as an influencer is becoming more and more accessible to anyone. You no longer need to be Kim Kardashian to earn money promoting brands online, all you need is a group of loyal followers that care about the same things you do. With a little knowledge about your audience, a passion for connecting with people, some editing skills and dedication, anyone can make it into the influencer realm. The catch – once you have a decent following – is how to make money from your influence.
One thing that people never talk about is that influencers are rarely doing it alone. Big influencers often hire marketing professionals to manage their social media and connect them with big companies that they can work with. But that’s not the only way. Advances in technology have enabled micro-influencers to make the same kinds of connections without spending a dime.
Vancouver-based Creator.co has been helping influencers large and small earn money by connecting them with brands that need their help. When influencers sign up for this network they get access to brand campaigns that may otherwise be out of reach. By using a platform like Creator.co influencers, both new and well-established, can find brand partnerships that work for them. This often leads to long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial for years.
Creator.co also recently launched the Creator Network, an innovative new opportunity which enables influencers to make money from affiliate links so they can be fairly compensated for the profits their influence generates. Now it’s even easier to earn money as an online creator, providing you’re dedicated to creating quality content and supporting your sponsor companies.
If you’re looking to enter the world of influencer technology, Creator.co will be your best friend and save you a lot of headache. Before platforms like Creator.co were established, up and coming influencers would have to manually search for brands that fit their target audience and reach out to each one individually in search of a viable partnership This method can be difficult and was one of the reasons that earning money as an influencer seemed so inaccessible.
If you have a great following online and love to connect with people, it’s 100% possible to turn it into a career. Put your great ideas to work for you through Vancouver’s own Creator.co.
10 Beauty & Fashion Trends You Need to Copy in 2021
The beauty and fashion industries have evolved a lot, and people are always up ahead to follow the trends in fashion and beauty. People’s shift in their interest in fashion Trends didn’t come out suddenly. Still, the way beauty and fashion industries are making their efforts by creatively crafting new attributes drives people crazy. Other factors like the internet have also created hype among people to go crazy for beauty and fashion Trends. Every year the fashion and beauty industries come with new trends and looks which people follow and improvise in their own way to look stylish.
In the year 2020, we have learned many things, including beauty and fashion attributes. With everything shut down in 2020, be it a salon or boutique or anything else, we couldn’t do anything as the social gathering was not permitted. Thus, we find our own ways to deal with such situations and learn about managing beauty and fashion staying at home. The year 2021 will be solid for all of us as we have our hacks plus the resources we already had, and this came out as a brutal combination as we have more resources than earlier.
1. Catchy Eyeliners
2021 is tied in with discarding the regular tones and adding some liveliness to the eyes. Be somewhat cool to explore different avenues regarding tints of eyeliners and bid farewell to dark and earthy-colored tones. Right now is an ideal opportunity to get energized as the shades can go from red, yellow, blue to green and other brilliant tones. Step up to attempt the shimmery shades and different off-tone colors we were reluctant to try earlier.
2. Skin Care
Natural, clean, and directness of the skin are the thing that we are anticipating in 2021. The previous year ruined all our beauty care schedules, and we were forced to use natural and homemade hacks for skincare. We are now aware of your everyday skincare schedule that incorporates cleansing, toning, moisturizing, body hair removal, facial roller rub, etc. Additionally, stay appropriately hydrated as it makes the skin glow normally. This time, There’s no such hectic requirement for full-face cosmetics since we need to last with masks on the face. Simply center around looks that require fewer artificial products and keep it natural.
3. When It Comes To Hair, Keep It Natural
The not-so-ideal year of the century has shown us numerous things. The creation of fashionable haircuts stopped with the lockdown opposing us to visit any salons. Instead, we grabbed this opportunity and started taking care of our hair, and trust me, for most people, it helped improve their hair. We cherished and learned that we could look better with normal hair rather than quirky and fancy, and that is the trend that will be followed in 2021.
4. Makeup Trends
Again if you want to go with 2021 in makeup, it is anticipated that natural makeup will be the top priority, as people have been doing it recently. When it comes to beauty and makeup, keeping it realistic will always be a trend. One of the trends which are likely to be followed in makeup is the different colored makeup, and the top colors for the makeup will be pink, blue, red, green, purple, etc. People have spent a lot of time on the internet, which is why they get these ideas. Using such color will be unique and a good trend in 2021 for makeup.
5. Colour Trends
The clothes’ latest trend is black and white it is a classy and trendy look that both the male and females would like to follow in the year 2021. Also, the bright colors which in earlier days looks odd will now be the trendsetter for clothes. End of the day, you need to choose the outfit that makes you feel comfortable and stunning and your fashion for the day. Currently, denim jackets, multicolor chinos, etc., are trending for men. And for women, they can go with the color yellow as it is trending in 2021.
6. Monochrome Look
This seems like the most significant style pattern followed by design enthusiasts and brands around the world. The spring style patterns stand up noisy about monochrome design. Monochrome Look is wearing tints of a similar tone from head to toe. Jumpers, dresses, formal wear, capes are all incorporated to get this look.
7. Oversized Look
The year 2020 was more about work from home and staying indoors, where people started enjoying comfortable clothes. The trend for oversized clothes came up as surprising, but it gained popularity within a matter of time, which is probably the reason it will be trending in 2021. It is not only comfortable but also looks classy.
Floral is the evergreen design and fashion trending yesterday and is trending today and will continue to trend tomorrow. Florals are beautiful, and if you amongst the people who are bored in lockdown wearing boring clothes, you give it a try in 2021. Men would love a floral print shirt with denim, and for women, it would be very odd that she doesn’t like the floral dress.
9. Footwear Selection
Your footwear depicts your nature. Reasonable footwear with the right outfit makes the outfit look better and wiser. High boots go with dresses and skin-fit base wear. Sports shoes go with road-style garments. Flat shoes go with ethnic wear also it is comfortable while you’re wearing casuals.
10. Classic Wear
It is advisable that you need to have your classic clothes collection irrespective of any trends and season. Anyday, you can look stunning if you have a pair of classics in your wardrobe. A leather jacket, denim, formal wear, etc., can be a part of your wardrobe if you are looking for classics. Denim is the all-time favorite classic look that most people should copy in 2021.
Fashion and beauty are very creative fields, and if you are into it, you can apply your logic and take out your creative side to choose the best and trending wardrobe. The year 2021 will develop a mixture of old and new fusion in the beauty and fashion industries.
4 Ways To Save Money While Going Green
Let’s face it – it is hard to save money while maintaining eco-friendly habits. In honor of Earth Day this month, here’s a lineup of this year’s best and brightest items that will not only save cash, but the planet too. From sustainable fashion to smart technology that will let you be water-wise, these eco-friendly picks are sure to make Mother Nature and your pocketbook very happy.
Because of the pandemic, most of us are still not going to the spa these days. Now, thanks an innovative line of sustainable cork massage balls and rollers, you don’t have to!
Rawlogy is a company that makes e-cool-logically cool cork stress balls and massage rollers which are great for sore, tired or tense muscles. Plus, these will pay for themselves in one use when you factor in what you’d normally spend for a massage. These ultralight, travel-ready cork massage balls and rollers are eco-friendly and ethically produced.
Whether you are at home, hiking, traveling or even in the office, Rawlogy offers a premium self-massage experience allowing users to de-stress and relieve tension in those sore, tired, aching and or stressed muscles.For more information please visit: https://www.rawlogy.com/
Men’s dress shirts that are unstainable, wrinkle-free and sustainable – it’s a real thing!! The people behind AndCollar have perfected the art of fabric and fashion while helping the environment by using recycled plastic to make their dress shirts and ties.
With one million plastic bottles are purchased every single minute globally, AndCollar is helping because each of their dress shirts is the equivalent of 15 recycled plastic bottles! Instead of sending those bottles to oceans and landfills, &Collar.com is using that recycled plastic to create high-performance fabric that keeps men cool and dry.
Mixing fashion, fabric and function together, the company’s goal is to make the world a little bit better one shirt and tie at a time. For More Info: https://andcollar.com/
TubShroom/ SinkShroom/ ShowerShroom:
Throw your plumber’s number down the drain thanks a nifty little innovation that prevents clogs in all your drains. The shrooms (named for their shape) are made from recycled materials and prevent clogs by catching hair or other debris that enters the drain, all while still letting water flow freely through the holes in the cylinder.
Perhaps the best part is that the mushroom-shaped invention keeps hair and other yucky debris out of site because it wraps around the cylinder, so it is not visible until you remove it once a month to clean. That means no more time spent cleaning out drains or pouring harsh chemicals down the pipes and it also means less calls to the expensive plumber. For More Info: https://www.tubshroom.com/
Did you know that the average family wastes 9,400 gallons of water annually?! That’s why Nudge Systems has created Pleco, a smart device that provides live updates on water usage in the home broken down by category.
From showers to toilet flushes and water faucets to irrigation, Pleco is smart technology that uses sensors to show consumers in real-time the water being used in their home. The innovative device can even detect water leaks, potentially saving users thousands of dollars in repair costs.
It is the first-of-its-kind device on the market that uses home automation, a smart phone app and display screen to help users understand and reduce their water use. Notifications and colorful graphics make it easy to track and monitor how much water is being used daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
This information allows consumers to make wise decisions when it comes to water and cuts down on that water bill too! For more information please visit: https://www.nudgesystems.com/
Get Ready For Game Day (at home!)
A roundup of local favourites for the perfect Superbowl Sunday
Ampersand Distilling Co. has the perfect recipe to sip on while you wait for dinner. Made with their award-winning Per Se Vodka, the Godmother cocktail is simply delicious. Combine 1.5 oz of Ampersand’s Per Se Vodka with 1/2 oz of Amaretto in a rocks glass over ice… and voila!
Smash + Tess has some cozy Sunday rompers for the whole family to snuggle up in — perfect for game day. The Sunday Romper in Midnight Black, the Mini Sunday Romper in Midnight Black and the Guy Romper in Midnight Black are all available online at smashtess.com, ready for you to lounge in.
Pepino’s is expanding their take out and delivery hours beginning at 2 p.m on Sunday. This allows for more than enough time to pick up or order in some yummy game day favourites. Take out will be available on TOCK and delivery is available through DoorDash.
Make sure to order early to avoid any delays. As well as their regular take out menu, they will also be featuring a mouthwatering Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Wings.
Lastly, Caffe La Tana is offering a limited edition Super Bowl Fox Box for four! This box includes everything you need for a night of good eats and good football.
The Fox Box includes a handful of Pepino’s fan favourites, made from chef Phil Scarphone’s recipes and fresh La Tana ingredients, sure to satisfy no matter who wins the game!
- Caesar salad with Pepino’s house-made dressing
- Baked rigatoni alla bolognese
- Spinach & artichoke dip
- 1lb of Harry’s Hot Wings from the Pepino’s patio menu
- A par baked Nelson the Seagull filone
- All the ingredients to assemble two large ‘Capo del Pranzo’ meatball subs
- Pepino’s famous tiramisu ‘Bombolona’.
Each box comes with instructions to heat and assemble. Available for pick up or delivery on February 5, 6 and 7, in limited quantities.
Lockdown Valentine’s Day Date Ideas and Inspiration
Coronavirus has affected every aspect of life, including romance. However, your love life shouldn’t suffer because you cannot go on outdoor dates.
This article mentions lockdown Valentine’s Day date ideas and how to enjoy your lover’s company indoors. From roses and chocolates to dinners and vacations, lovers go out of their way in search of Valentine’s Day date ideas. But unlike before, this year’s celebrations come in the thick of a pandemic, with numerous travel restrictions and restaurants and other entertainment spots closed.
The good news is that you can still create unique Valentine’s Day date ideas at home. Who knows, this year’s Valentine’s Day date ideas could be the best ones yet.
Remember, the best Valentine’s Day date ideas are about bonding with your partner instead of gifts and outings. After finding your date on best dating sites review, here are Valentine’s Day date ideas during the COVID-19.
Surprise your significant other with breakfast in bed, including heart-shaped foods to communicate your love. Even if you ruin their heart-shaped pancakes, your partner will still appreciate these Valentine’s Day date ideas because you made an effort to cook for them. You could also slip a love note beneath the breakfast tray.
Another option is cooking together. For instance, you can recreate a dish from your favorite takeout spot. To make the Valentine’s Day ideas more interesting, save the restaurant’s containers and eat out of them.
Alternatively, pick a recipe from a random country and try preparing it. That way, Valentine’s Day date ideas teach you about new cultures and cuisines. You might even add the country to your post-lockdown Valentine’s Day date ideas.
Feel free to set the mood with cool background music and candles. Don’t forget to dress up. Valentine’s Day ideas are a chance to look attractive without leaving the house.
Note that cooking isn’t just about the food. It also fosters collaboration. You can shop for ingredients while your lover prepares the meal and cleans the dishes.
2- Movie Night
Movies are perfect for couples who want to enjoy each other’s company without talking. They are also cheap Valentine’s Day date ideas, seeing you only need a film and snacks. Not saying Valentine’s Day date ideas should be boring because you’re indoors.
You can take these Valentine’s Day date ideas a notch higher by creating cinema tickets or printing them from an online template. You could also spruce up the viewing experience by swapping your TV for a projector.
Another option is merging these Valentine’s Day date ideas with games. For instance, you can count how many times a red car appears in the film. Again, movies are an excellent virtual Valentine’s Day date.
Thanks to streaming subscription services, you can watch a movie with your partner and see their reactions when miles apart. Movie nights aren’t limited to Valentine’s Day date ideas. You can have them regularly, for example, every second Thursday of the month.
3- Make a Scrapbook
Scrapbooks use words and photos to communicate particular emotions to your lover. Partners can create separate scrapbooks and exchange them on Valentine’s Day or craft one together.
All you need for these Valentine’s Day date night ideas are photographs, pens, glue, paints, scissors, and glitter. While lined scrapbooks are ideal for notes, blank paper suits photographs, and other craft ideas.
The next step is deciding the scrapbook’s theme. For instance, you can devote your book to vacations. Don’t forget to write down the memories you wish to include lest you forget them.
Additionally, compile relationship memorabilia, from chocolate wrappers to your first movie tickets. The cover is an essential component of these Valentine’s Day date ideas since it’s the face of your scrapbook. You can put your names, photo, and the date you met.
4- Spa Day
With the pandemic forcing people to juggle between remote work, homeschooling, and parenting, spa days are welcome Valentine’s Day date ideas.
The first stage of these romantic Valentine’s Day date ideas is setting the ambiance. Start by clearing clutter from your living room or bedroom. Likewise, buy essential oils and your favorite scented candles. Ensure you dress comfortably; for example, wear slippers and loose-fitting clothes like robes.
This goes hand in hand with cool classical music or soothing nature sounds. While at it, switch off your phones and TV to limit interruptions. Feel free to sip wine or herbal tea on your spa date.
You could have bubble baths and give each other massage. The best part is you can substitute some beauty products with food items. For instance, you can create a face mask with avocado.
5- Treasure Hunt
Adventure sets treasure hunts apart from other Valentine’s Day date ideas for couples. However, these Valentine’s Day date ideas demand preparation.
Start by making your treasure hunt clues. You can use sticky notes or write your clues on a pack of cards. The number of clues determines the length of the hunt. However, the goal of Valentine’s Day date ideas is having fun and not completing the challenge quickly.
You can spread these hints in the house and backyard. Don’t forget to include prizes at the end and middle of these Valentine’s Day date ideas to make the search worthwhile. This could be treats like candy, chocolate, wine, even an engagement ring.
Coronavirus may limit this year’s Valentine’s Day date ideas, but this won’t always be the case. With promising vaccine advancements and the world embracing the pandemic, lockdown is an opportunity to plan future dates.
Besides growing shared goals, joint date plans provide relationship fulfillment and adventure opportunities. You can come up with date ideas individually before merging them with your partner.
While at it, do small fun things together in anticipation of big dates. Have you ever had a Valentine’s Day date at home? Share your indoor Valentine’s Day date ideas in the comments section below.
Mrs. Aria Green is a family photographer, and writes about relationship psychology. She’s a wife and a mother of two adorable kids who won’t get bored even for a minute.
She completed a photography course in college. She’s passionate about photography and writing. She loves personality psychology and to help the couples with advice on the relationship.
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