Five tips to survive a decline in income

Since precautionary measures were heightened to slow the spread of COVID-19, almost one million Australians have lost their jobs. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia lost 7.5 per cent of its jobs between 14 March and 18 April. If you’re one of the many Australians who has lost their job, it’s understandable that you may be feeling stressed about managing your finances.

 

Put together a new budget

The first thing you need to do if your income has fallen is put together a new budget. With a reduction in your income, you’ll likely be looking to reduce your fixed and discretionary expenses. Put together a budget that includes your essential expenses such as your mortgage or rent payments, bills, and groceries. This is also a good time to assess which expenses you can do without until your income rises again.

 

Set up payment plans

Losing your source of income can be stressful, especially when you have ongoing payments to meet. If you’ve put together your new budget and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to meet your regular payments, speak to your mortgage lender and other providers about setting up a payment plan. The important thing is that you do this proactively and keep communication open as having these conversations now will put you in a much better place to negotiate.

 

See what support you may be entitled to

The government has announced a range of support packages available to people who have lost their source of income or have had their income significantly reduced. Check which support you may be eligible to receive and organise all of the details you need to apply. Full details about the Federal Government’s measures to support individuals and businesses are available on the Treasury website.

If you’ve lost your income due to illness or injury and you have income protection insurance, check what claims you are eligible to make and what payments may be available to you.

 

Identify potential savings

When you put together your new budget, you probably identified expenses you could do without such as gym memberships and other discretionary expenses. To identify further savings, check if you can switch to cheaper providers for your utilities such as electricity, gas and internet and consider winding back your mortgage payments if you have been paying extra.

 

Seek advice from financial professionals

In stressful times, it can be hard to look beyond the current period of financial stress. However, this is also an opportune time to reset your financial plan for the future. Take this opportunity to speak with your financial professionals, including your mortgage lender or broker, accountant, and a financial adviser to manage your finances now and into the future effectively.

 

Moving forward

At a stressful time for people, it’s important that you don’t feel like you need to weather financial challenges alone. Taking the time to see what support may be available through the government’s support packages is a good place to start. And to set up a financial plan for the future that also addresses your current financial challenges, make sure you speak to a qualified financial professional for tailored advice.

The faster way to a life supported by passive income

Imagine that… without any effort on your part, enough money regularly pours into your bank account to meet (or exceed) all your living expenses. Suddenly, work becomes optional and a world of opportunities opens up. That’s the ultimate in passive income – all your financial needs met without lifting a finger.

The fast way to a life supported by passive income is to win the lottery or receive a large inheritance. Invested wisely, large lump sums can generate rental income, interest, share dividends and capital growth, all of which can replace an earned income but without the hard work.

Other forms of passive income include royalties on book sales, licensing fees on patents and, increasingly, income associated with creation of Internet content, such as YouTube videos. However, while these passive income streams may become geese that lay golden eggs, it takes a lot of effort to write a book, develop an invention, or create popular Internet content.

And the unfortunate reality is that we can’t all be lottery winners or best-selling authors, genius inventors or Internet sensations. We can, however, start to build a nest egg that will grow over time, to replace our active income in the future. In fact, if you’re working and receiving employer superannuation contributions, you’re already on the path to generating a passive income. You may just have to wait awhile until you can enjoy it. With its generous tax breaks, superannuation is likely to play a leading role in most passive income strategies. However, with its restrictions on access, if you are some years away from retirement age you may want to pursue a more flexible approach to developing a passive income stream. How? It all begins with a savings plan.

This simply involves making regular contributions to a suitable investment vehicle. This might be an interest-paying bank account, but as your nest egg grows you can diversify into potentially higher performing investments such as managed funds, direct shares and or even direct property.

Importantly, by reinvesting the income produced by your savings plan you’ll tap into the power of compound interest. Over the long term, compounding is the powerhouse that will contribute the most to your future passive income stream. As the income produced by your portfolio increases, so do your options. For example, you might want to cut back to working part time.

One other form of passive income worth mentioning is the age pension. If you’re over age pension age it may be a good idea to investigate strategies to maximise your pension entitlement. Just make sure the overall result is positive.

Ready to pursue the potential of passive income? Your Bridges financial adviser will be happy to help you take that first step. Book an appointment today!