Ongoing lockdown restrictions have meant many New Zealanders are facing serious financial hardship. Those families that are still struggling from previous lockdowns will be hardest hit, and many will be tempted to turn to easy access, high-interest debt in order to pay for day to day expenses. If you are struggling financially – unable to repay existing debt, maintain your mortgage repayments, or simply put food on the table – please reach out for help. Here are some options.
Help from the Government
Check what financial support you may be eligible for from the New Zealand Government. You’ll find a breakdown of Government support in this blog post or use the Covid-19 Financial Support Tool here for the different support options if you are an employer, self-employed, a sole trader, or if you are an employee.
Help from Work and Income
If you’ve lost your job or you’re unable to work right now, you may qualify for a benefit for financial help. Check the Work and Income website for eligibility criteria and to see how much you may qualify for.
Help from your insurance
If you have Income Protection Insurance or Mortgage Protection Insurance check whether you have a redundancy clause that pays out if you’re unable to work due to loss of job. This type of cover could help you keep up with your mortgage repayments and relieve some of your financial pressure. Contact your insurance provider to find out if this type of cover is included in your policy.
Help from your lender
Most lenders have a range of financial support options available to customers who may be experiencing financial hardship. Contact your mortgage adviser to find out whether your lender offers financial hardship assistance. This could mean restructuring your home loan to a longer term so your repayments are reduced each fortnight or month, or refinancing your mortgage to access some of the equity in your home to cover some of your living expenses.
Remember that restructuring your loan term means you’ll pay more for your mortgage over the course of your loan, so it’s important you seek financial advice before choosing this option.
Help from KiwiSaver
As a last resort, if you are experiencing financial hardship, tapping into your KiwiSaver and withdrawing part of your savings to help you get through this time could be an option. The KiwiSaver early withdrawal for significant financial hardship can be applied for to cover essential living costs, your mortgage repayments, or emergency medical treatment.
Generally, you are not able to withdraw any Government contributions, but you may be eligible to withdraw your own and your employer’s contributions, as well as any investment returns. Contact your KiwiSaver provider to find out about applying for an early withdrawal because of financial hardship.
Getting help early
It’s important you reach out as soon as you know you’re struggling financially. For free budgeting advice and access to expert financial mentors via live chat, phone, email or text, contact The MoneyTalks helpline: moneytalks.co.nz, 0800 345 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or text 4029.
Contact Mortgage Express to talk to a Mortgage Express branded adviser about your options for refinancing or restructuring your mortgage. Or if you’re considering buying a new home, downsizing your existing home, or expanding you property portfolio with an investment property, get in touch with a Mortgage Express branded adviser to talk about your financing options.