Over the last number of weeks a lot has changed in our society. It has been a time many of us have had to reassess our circumstances, whether that is in relation to family, to work, personal well being and personal finances.

It is always good to take stock of where we are (enforced though it may be!) and a review of personal finances can help refocus and help build financial security and independence that can have a far reaching impact on our mental health and general well being now and into the future.

For that reason I have outlined a number of areas that may assist you personally and/or your business in these uncertain times.

Feel free to contact me should you need clarification on any of these areas.
For Individuals.

Social Welfare Benefits:

Covid 19 Pandemic  Unemployment Benefit – Currently €350 per week – Available to employees and self employed.

If you are on a shorter working week – you may qualify for the Short Time Work Support – Support available in respect of salary that you would have received  for the days you would normally have worked in the week.

If you are working from home you may be able to claim expenses such as heating, broadband and electricity costs. Complete an Income Tax return on “MyAccount” on the revenue website at the end of the year and keep records. Ensure that you keep all records for at least 6 years after you make the claim.

Unclaimed taxes for the last 4 years can be claimed using revenue online website.
Any contributions to pension should be reviewed to ensure that you have claimed all relevant relief for the last 4 years.

Sign up to a free online budgeting service. These can link into your bank account and give you reports on your spending and areas you could save.

Any savings you make should be used to build up  an emergency fund that should ideally be 4-6 months of salary.

If you have saved an emergency fund then look at a regular saver to build up lump sums for bigger future purchases like a new kitchen,  a new car etc.

Try to ensure that you maintain contributions to pension during this period, If you need to reduce contributions then this can be easily achieved by requesting a reduction in contribution or taking a payment holiday from your provider. Try not to worry about valuations as a pension is generally a long term investment volatility can be your friend in the long term!

Even with supports available it may be the case, unfortunately, that redundancies may occur. Ensure that you have all the information available to you with regards to most tax efficient redundancy payments, protecting your pension fund and options for employers to make contributions to pension prior to leaving an employment. Ensure that you get advice should redundancy become an issue as large savings can be made with proper planning.

Family and Income Protection needs:
Never has a more opportune time arisen to appraise your current circumstances with regards to ensuring that you have adequate cover to protect your loved ones in the event of death, illness or injury.

If you feel under severe financial pressure it can be tempting to cancel personal insurance cover, however this could be a disaster particularly if you have had any health issues since you originally took out cover. Many life companies are now offering payment holidays or deferral options for up to 3 months. Give me a call if you have any concerns.

New Business
We are open for new business and can complete all applications digitally. If you need to travel to see us in person we can facilitate this for you.
For companies and the self employed. Covid 19 Business Supports.
Temporary Covid 19 Wage Subsidy – Can help to pay staff that would normally be paid off due to trading difficulties during the pandemic.

Business Restart Grant Relief available for business that have been impacted by Covid 19.
A restart fund is available for micro and small enterprises. Will operate through a system of rebates of commercial rates payments from 2019. Total amount receivable will be no more than the 2019 rates bill.

Working Capital Loan Scheme – Loans from €25k to €1.5mn are available for those enterprises who meet criteria.

Future Growth Loan Scheme – Loans of €100k to €3mn are available.

Credit Guarantee Scheme – €2 bn of up to 80% guarantee on lending to SMEs to end of the year. For terms of between 3 months and 6 years.

MicroEnterprise Loans of up to €50k are available from Microfinance Ireland.

Business Continuity Voucher  – Worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy fees.

Trading Online Voucher Scheme –  Up to €2,500 grant available.

Business Financial Planning Grant – Up to €5,000 grant available for plan development with an approved Business Financial Planner.

Online Retail Scheme – Retailers with over 10 employees . Grants of between €10k and €40k are available to build online capability.

All businesses should have continuation plans in place in the event of death, illness or directors or key employees. Now is as good a time as any to ensure that such a a plan is in place.

I hope that the above is of assistance to you and if you need further information or would like to review your current financial situation please give me  a call on 091 761155 or email me at sean.macsheamais@brendanjamesfs.ie.