Everything you need to know about Coronavirus and your finances

Around Australia and across the globe, Coronavirus (COVID-19) has permeated every aspect of daily life. It’s changed the way we work, socialise and how our country will be economically governed for the foreseeable future. The situation is constantly evolving, so Mozo is keeping track of the latest news about the virus and how it will affect individuals and businesses. Here are answers to the big coronavirus questions.

Support for businesses

Government and banks are providing numerous financial support options. These include government wage assistance, cashflow boosts, business loan guarantees and instant asset write-off expansion, plus fee waivers, loan deferrals and other support from banks.

But this all has a timeline. See what experts are suggesting to help keep businesses on their feet after JobKeeper ends.

Government support for individuals 

JobKeeper payment and JobSeeker supplement. As the economic situation has developed, there have been changes to these support payments. Right now, JobKeeper will exist in some capacity until the end of March 2021. From April, the JobSeeker COVID supplement will cease, but the standard rate for this income support payment will rise by $50 per-fortnight. This still marks a reduction from the current COVID supplement-boosted level.
The HomeBuilder scheme. In an effort avoid an expected slump in the construction industry, the government is offering $25,000 grants to eligible Aussies building new homes or making substantial renovations. The grant has been extended until March 2021 at the reduced rate of $15,000 and with altered pricing criteria in place. 

2020 Federal Budget tax changes

Individuals in some income brackets will have their tax bill reduced in the 2020/2021 financial year. This involves an early roll-out of already legislated cuts. 
The 2020 Federal Budget has brought a new wave of support for businesses. Read about what's available across wage subsidies and asset write-offs, plus tax deductions, concessions and backlogging.

Mortgage relief

Banks offered relief options to home loan customers in 2020. This included things like fee waivers, mortgage deferrals, interest rate freezes and payment reductions. However, some of the big banks are now preparing to wrap up mortgage holidays.

Despite this, home prices are on the up for now, particularly in regional areas.

Many banks and lenders are offering reductions across home loan rates after the RBA cut the cash rate to yet another historic low of 0.10% in November.

Insurance relief

While some car insurance companies offered discounts during lockdown, many of these offers have since timed out. Recent Mozo research has shown that over the last 12 months car insurance costs have actually increased by 2%.

Loan and credit card relief

Some credit card providers have lowered rates. Lenders are also offering relief by reducing or pausing minimum repayments and refunding late fees on credit cards. This could be behind some increases in credit and debit card spending.
Some lenders have cut personal loan rates recently. They've opted to reduce interest rates, waive fees, provide flexible repayment options or even freeze loan repayments. Check out Mozo's personal loans report to get the lay of the land.

Financial counselling

There are many free financial counselling service available. Find out who to contact and how they might help you during COVID-19.

Know what expenses you can claim on tax. This will help you recoup on energy costs and other tech and work equipment depreciation if you’re currently working from home. It also pays to know what WFH will mean for your home insurance.
Find out if refinancing is an option for you during the pandemic. It could save you thousands, but may be less accessible for those severely financially affected by the crisis. 
Assess your life insurance and income protection. Read the fine print so you know what you are covered for during coronavirus. While it might be uncomfortable, you can also consider writing a will.
Flow these five easy tactics for savings cash in 2021.

Haggle down your household expenses. There's savings to be made from car insurance to credit cards and we've got hot tips to help you haggle your way there. It's also time to take advantage of massive drops in energy prices.
Potentially access your superannuation early. Keep in mind, you will likely loose money in the long-run (especially if you're a young worker) for this short-term boost. If you now need to rebuild your fund, we've got tips to help you re-grow that nest egg and info on the benefits of ethical investments.
Look out for coronavirus scams. Learn how to keep your money safe from scammers targeting your super, offering fake products or a virus cure.

Global events impact foreign exchange rates. Find out what this means for your IMT and protect yourself against the current climate.
The Aussie dollar hit a two-year high at the end of 2020.
This means things are looking good for anyone making international money transfers from Australia to other countries.
You can now send money to Chinese bank accounts in real time. This means recipients won’t have to go to physical branches to pick up funds.

Right now, you cannot travel overseas.

travel ban for Australians came into effect on 25 March, 2020, meaning citizens can’t leave the country unless it’s on humanitarian or compassionate grounds, or in the national interest. 

There are different restrictions within Australian states and territories which are constantly evolving in responses to COVID clusters and other events. So, if you're planning a trip anywhere further afield, make sure to check the relevant state government travel advice before you go.