Financial Literacy

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1. Avoid decisions based on fear

Emotional situations tend to lead to poor financial choices, so be sure to get the help you need as you make financial decisions during an emergency. Take the time to get information and advice on what you would like to do – surf the net if you have to; there are many sound advice out there!

 2. Find out what financial help is available with FNPF

As announced in the COVID-19 Response Budget by Government, FNPF is here to assist you. If you work in the tourism industry and are one of those affected because of the financial and physical implications in our work places, FNPF has a special COVID-19 withdrawal scheme that may help. What’s more for those that do not have enough eligibility, Government will top up to the maximum of the withdrawal permitted.

 3. Make a crisis money plan

Creating a money plan is key especially during such times. Financial stresses is not good for your health and definitely not good for you and your family. So having a plan, can bring some peace of mind.

  1. Work through a scenario for reduced income. The best way to manage your money, is to identify what’s important with your in-coming (income/salary) against your out-going (expenses)
  2. Focus on your immediate needs – not future needs; and cut back on all unnecessary wants. It may be time to reconsider or cut back on some lifetime choices such as cigarettes, yaqona, soda etc.
  3. Make every single dollar count. Decide what your money should be used for and prioritise what’s most important. For example, if you have data on your phone – you don’t need to buy the newspapers – you can access both the Fiji Times and Fiji SUN online for free.
  4. Any extra money you have, should be set aside– even just $5 or $10 – into a safety net, and emergency fund.

 4. Find out all your options before taking on more debt

If you don’t have an emergency fund, consider putting some money aside each time you’re paid if you can. Depending on how the situation evolves, you may need to rely on your safety net sooner than expected.

If you feel you need to borrow to get by, it’s important not to run to the easiest money available. Look at all the options you have:  government support incentives, temporary loan or mortgage holidays, consolidating your debt to a lower interest rate with a manageable payment plan. The goal is to get through and create as little debt as possible.

5. Loan repayments? Talk to your lender as early as possible to make arrangements

Talk to your bank or lender. The sooner, the better. Some commercial banks and lenders have already announced special packages for its customers. The sooner you see/talk to them, the better placed they are to help you deal with financial stress. Depending on what you’re experiencing, your lender could:

  1. Temporarily suspend loan repayments. The government announced a relaxation of bank loan repayment requirements for 6 months, although note that interest will continue to accrue for that time period.
  2. Restructure business loans
  3. Consolidate loans to make repayments more manageable
  4. Provide short-term funding

 6. Stay safe from scams

Be very careful of scams. Such crises tend to bring out the best in all of us, but unfortunately the worst can also be seen if you look carefully. Frauds and scams related to coronavirus are popping up, especially online, so make sure to verify every call, link and email that comes your way. A good way to check is to make a separate call to a published number to make sure that something’s the real deal.

*Adapted from Sorted NZ & modified for FNPF members

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