If there is one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that life is unpredictable and in one day, the entire country and economy can go into full blown lockdown, leaving a trail of uncertainty and distress. While living in the limbo of lockdown has left many of us feeling emotionally and mentally strained, it has also picked open a whole new bag of considerations and questions. How does lockdown affect certain insurance policies? Should I be reviewing my current policies given the changed economy? Do I need to manage my loans differently? Should I consider buying a home?

Firstly, we always recommended that you review insurance policies on an annual basis as these change all the time- and so do your specific requirements. For example, lockdown meant less driving around- time to look at your car insurance maybe? It’s also more likely that you are working longer hours at home instead of the office- this calls for a shift in business insurance policies and checking that your security measures meet the minimal requirements on your insurance. Is your medical aid still meeting your needs and budget? Maybe it’s time to change packages or add beneficiaries. If you are living in a household with elderly members (or extended family) and have the responsibility of caring for them, then start considering various funeral cover and life insurance options.

Secondly, debt management. No doubt that lockdown has impacted your income or cash flow in one way or another and if you find yourself in this predicament, it’s important that you take action as this will affect future loans as well as your credit rating. When it comes to debt management, there are two possible solutions to consider: debt counselling or a debt management or consolidation loan. Either way, don’t wait until it’s too late.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for 2020- interest rates have dropped to record lows (since 1988) in an attempt to lighten the load on and put money back into our struggling economy. This means that, thanks to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, if you’re looking to get into the housing market, now is the best time to do so. It also means that if you already have a bond, you might be able to pay it off quicker. In a nutshell, it’s a buyers’ market so you can buy that dream home after all.

If you’re already a home owner, then lower interest rates mean reduced monthly instalments and you get to decide if you want to use the extra money to pay off the bond faster, put it into savings or use it to pay off other debt you might have (like your credit card). Just be careful, nothing is permanent and interest rates may go up in the future so it’s important to consider how far you can stretch your budget.

2020 has been turbulent to say the least and has left us feeling displaced and uncertain of what the future holds. It’s up to you to shift with these changes by staying on top of the important stuff like debt management, spending and reviewing your insurance policies.

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