As COVID-19 cases rise, Canadian consumers continue to face stormy economic headwinds. Since the onset of the pandemic, more Canadians are feeling pessimistic about an economic recovery; the majority believe that financial impacts from COVID-19 will continue to last well beyond the next two months. A recent Angus-Reid survey found that 39 per cent of Canadians have no financial plan once pandemic supports end, and 19 per cent of Canadians may consider financial insolvency this year. As winter approaches, the economic and financial challenges facing Canadian consumers are not slowing down.
The Intuit Prosperity Accelerator powered by Highline Beta has recently announced the eight companies that will join the inaugural cohort. These startups will pilot solutions alongside Intuit experts that are positioned to help Canadian consumers, small businesses and self-employed tackle financial challenges in the wake of COVID-19. The consumer stream includes four promising Canadian startups: Homewise, a digital mortgage provider; Emma, a family-centric life insurance platform; Willful, an estate planning platform; and Paper & Coin, a financial coaching startup.
We reached out to one Canadian family to hear about the challenges they’ve faced since the onset of the pandemic.
Joseph and Jodel Gordon are a young family based in Toronto. At the beginning of 2020, the couple was preparing to welcome their first child and saving to move to a bigger home.
“Just prior to the pandemic we knew we were expecting our first child and everything was going great. Obviously you have your normal worries as a parent, but we were very happy,” said Joseph. “One of our future plans had been to move into a house. I always dreamed of having a garage.”
But when the pandemic hit in March, the couple’s financial goals needed to change. While Joseph was able to keep doing his job in IT remotely without interruption, Jodel’s hours at an education startup were drastically reduced:
“It was really difficult because my hours tended to fluctuate. It was week to week, before we established routine in terms of how we would develop that in the pandemic. It was very difficult to have a concrete budget and plan especially because we were planning for a baby,” said Jodel. “It was a little scary because we didn’t know at the time if the work was going to stop.”
The couple decided to postpone their goal of buying a home and focus on finding ways to save. They started eating-in more often and saved by driving less.
“We had to claw back. I can imagine there are families going through the same or even worse,” said Joseph.
Now that the couple has welcomed their son into the world, they say they could use some extra help with finding financial advice.
“I think everyone’s finances are out of whack right now, they’re short in places they weren’t, they’re spending where they never thought. Just organizing the way you can approach bills.” said Joseph. “I’m hoping that at the end of this, I will have learned how to be more resilient and kind of just bounce back from whatever life throws at you.” The Intuit Prosperity Accelerator aims to help families like the Gordons plan ahead to meet their financial goals and tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19. Learn more about the program here: https://www.intuit.com/ca/prosperity-accelerator/