Australians who have had their home, business, assets and/or income affected by the devastating recent natural disasters may find relief in knowing that financial help is available.
Many lenders (banks) are now offering relief packages for flood-affected customers. These may include suspending repayments on mortgages, other loans and credit cards for limited periods, waiving fees for business loan restructuring, fast tracking insurance claims, reviewing credit card instalments and considering requests for emergency credit limit or loan increases.
If you are worried about not being able to make repayments or need any advice on how to improve your financial situation, contact your lender and your financial experts - including your financial planner, accountant and/or mortgage broker - as soon as possible so they can get the ball rolling on making life a little easier.
They are there to assist you in liaising with your lender, reviewing your budget and future needs, discussing new repayment strategies and researching alternative finance options. A lot of organisations are offering their services for free.
Tips for mortgage holders affected by the floods:
- If your finances are, or you anticipate they will shortly be, a problem for you get in contact as soon as possible with each of the financial institutions you're currently repaying money to so you can make use of any help they're offering.
- Don't be embarrassed to ask your lender/s for relief options such as suspending your repayments or restructuring your home loan. Keep in mind some strategies will draw out your loan term, meaning extra interest will be owed in the long run. Weigh up advantages and disadvantages beforehand.
- If you‘ve worked hard by paying extra into your loan account to create a financial buffer for trying times such as this, look into the steps and cost of accessing these funds. Some lenders have a minimum redraw amount and may charge you a fee each time. If this is the case, ask your lender to show some compassion and waive this cost.
- Reassessing your outgoings and your overall budget will possibly reveal extra money to use for the clean-up, eg. are there subscriptions or memberships you can put on hold or cancel? Knowing where your money is going may help you find some leeway in your budget.
- Consider bulk buying with neighbours to bring down the cost of replacing goods, utilise discount vouchers/offers after carefully reading the terms and conditions, research sales in your area or consider comparing prices and shopping online for cheaper deals.
The sooner you seek help, the sooner you may find there is one less thing to worry about in these troublesome times.