COVIDiaries: 37-year-old wonders how her income will be affected while working from home

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In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many people find their personal finances in complete upheaval. We want to share real stories of how people are coping with the crisis. 

Our new series, the “COVIDiaries” will share individual experiences with how the pandemic is impacting income, savings, debts, and more. You can read more here. We hope you find these stories relatable and reassuring, even if they do nothing more than show you that you are not alone. 

We are all in this together.

If you would like to share your experience of how the Coronavirus is impacting your finances, please fill out the form here

Jenna, 37, from Edmonton, Alberta

What do you do for work? Has the COVID-19 Pandemic impacted your income in reduced hours, layoffs, work from home or in another way?

I work in a post-secondary institution in an administrative unit, so I don’t work with students, but rather support research activities. Since classes have been cancelled and the majority of my work is knowledge based, I have been working from home.

I am very grateful that I am in a union and that my employer has worked to provide paid time off for Covid-19 related absences as well as the opportunity to work from home. So far, my income does not appear to be affected, but with the budget getting passed, it is hard to say what will happen while we are social distancing. There is a concern that I could still lose my job with the cuts to post-secondary education and while I am fairly confident that I might not, it is really hard to tell because these are not normal times. I don’t trust that there won’t be even more cuts to come to cover all the additional stimulus/support that governments are providing in this time of crisis. This is not to say that I think this support is wrong – it is clearly the right thing to do, but the current government does not instill a sense of trust and I don’t believe that they won’t try to get that back from Albertans in another way.

How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your spending? Are you spending more or less right now? What are you buying and why?

I am spending about the same amount (maybe a little more) at the moment. While I am not going out and spending money on dining out and entertainment, I am browsing a lot more online and the temptation to buy things to make me feel good is there. I have been trying to also support local businesses because I know how hard this is for them, but I can’t support everyone I want to. I have also been adjusting when I typically do donations (usually end of the year), so that I can try to support the non-profits with meeting needs now (e.g. food banks etc.).

What about your debts? Are you incurring debt to cope with reduced pay or increased costs? Or are you finding relief in lower interest rates?

My debts remain the same and so far nothing has changed on that front (yet).

Are you concerned about what will happen to your savings and investments at this time? Is this detrimental to your long-term wealth or a once in a lifetime opportunity to get into the stock market? Will you recover from this crisis or be richer or poorer because of it?

I am less concerned with my savings and investments since I have a long term horizon, although seeing my portfolio shrink by nearly half isn’t pleasant either. I have been trying to buy a few stocks and ETFs while the opportunity is there. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to do this and to be able to say I might out come with more money at the end of this because I have the savings and time to wait this recession etc out.

Did the pandemic force you to cancel any trips or special events? How did that impact your bank account (and your mental health!)

I was planning on vacations to Europe and/or Asia so the funds I saved for those trips are now available for other needs. I also had put money in my wellness plan at work to part of the trips and this has now allowed me to use those funds to pay for needs like transit passes and cell phone bills, which helps reduce my daily expenses.

Share how your personal finances are being impacted by the Coronavirus here

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