In this post I highlighted the need to have strong financial management initiatives as part of your armory of attack when recovering from a job loss. The following represent the 5 key success factors for managing a job loss:
1. Successful job search skills knowledge
2. Strong financial management initiatives
3. Flexible and open career re-assessment
4. Mental toughness and a strong belief system
5. Managing your current job
Now onto key success factor 2…
Strong Financial Management Initiatives
Money management is certainly an area of great stress during redundancy. This is because your comfort zone has been taken away from you. The weekly or fortnightly pay you have relied upon is no longer there and you are concerned about where your next pay is coming from. I have seen this scenario cause great stress to people with debts, mortgages, and young families particularly where there is only a single income earner.
I remember once a young man who was made redundant and as Employee Relations Manager, I had to be the bearer of the bad news. He broke down and cried in front of me, not because he had lost his job, but because he had just bought a new house and had increased his mortgage. To make matters worse, his wife was expecting a second child and she was not working. He was frightened to tell his wife and did not want to go home. I eventually spoke to his wife and decided to drive him home myself. The anxiety and pain he felt during this moment was tremendous.
I have always felt a correlation with money management and the ability to focus on getting a job. If you can take the pressure of monetary matters away from you for a short time then your ability to focus on job hunting improves significantly. The distraction of money worries does not help you focus on interview performance and getting that job. You may become desperate and make the wrong career move in the name of security. You must focus on managing your money immediately after a job loss and here are 10 financial tips to get you started:
- Speak to your bank about lowering your mortgage repayments immediately. You will find that over the years you have probably increased your repayments either deliberately or through interest rate reductions. Pay the minimum amount possible for now and forget about paying your house off sooner. That is not a priority now and you must review your financial objectives.
- With your redundancy payment pay-off credit card debt either in part or full and decrease the number of bills and interest you must pay monthly.
- Eliminate all unnecessary spending. All those nice things to have such as pay television, domestic servants, magazine subscriptions and memberships should be reviewed.
- If you have money tied up in investments such as shares or fixed interest term deposits, withdraw this money either in part or full and create a buffer zone for emergencies. Hold this money in an everyday ‘at call’ account for psychological security. This buffer zone will make you feel more secure and comfortable and allow you to focus on job hunting.
- Watch your spending and don’t behave as though you are still employed. This is the toughest part because it involves changing your lifestyle and habits. Holidays, clothes and any other regular purchases such as household items and entertainment expenses must be slashed. Believe me, they are not important now and you will survive until things are back on track again.
- Be economical with controllable household utilities expenses such as gas, electricity, telephone and your food budget. I managed to save $150 a month on food for my family by just watching for price specials, comparing prices and being more selective.
- Create a strict budget that is achievable and try to work within it. It will help you stick to targets and operate within set budget guidelines.
- Apply for social security payments. The money will not be enough to live on but it will stretch your savings further buying you more time for job search.
- If your finances become too tight prepare to refinance your home as the last resort. Again, this is not a preferred option but the key to job success is time.
- Talk about the prospects of borrowing money from family only if necessary. You will need a very supportive family for this and be prepared to pay them back when you get a job.
All the above tips are really common sense applications and I utilised them when I was unemployed. It helped me extract more time for my job search and relieved the pressure to focus on getting the right job.
I must stress that the key to financial management during redundancy is different and geared towards buying time to enhance your job search. I say this because you cannot pick and choose the timing of your next job offer. It could happen quickly or take longer than expected due to a range of factors including a bit of bad luck. You must be mentally prepared for this and factor it in to your financial management.
In my next post I will focus on Key Success Factor 3, Flexible and open career re-assessment.
- How to stay right side up when your world turns upside down. (integratedplay.org)