Be financially prepared for a job loss

By Faeza
23 June 2015

They say change is good but somehow it is not as easy as many would think. Yes it may be good but there are checks and balances you can put in place to minimise the impact.

Head of Customer Financial Solutions, Personal Banking at Standard Bank, Nitesh Patel said the most important element of preparing for a job loss is being fully aware of the reality of your situation.

“Circumstances such as these can be identified well in advance – signs include the company going through tough times, or you having lost interest in your work or a personality clash with someone in authority. Whatever the cause, being a few steps ahead will make the event less challenging and can even turn it into an opportunity.”

Below are three circumstances that needs to checked and balanced:

Prevention is always better than cure, so the first thing you need to do if you think you may be at risk is to cut all unnecessary expenses and build up an emergency fund. Consider putting this in place even if your job is not under threat. Having three to six months’ income in the bank provides a safety net and gives you peace of mind, decreasing the natural anxiety you may feel when searching for a new job.

Organise your personal finances down to the last minute detail. If you feel you will be unable to fulfil financial commitments such as your bond, car loan or credit card payments, negotiate new terms with your creditors. It is better to be upfront and agree to pay a reduced amount than to fall behind with your payments.

Do not rush into any major financial decisions; you will need to be conservative as finding another suitable position can take up to six months. Revise your budget in accordance with your changed circumstances. Work out how much it will cost to maintain your home and scale down your lifestyle. Decide on the expenses you are willing to cut and make sure that the family are on the same page. Everyone will have to work together until things are more settled.

“Talking to a financial planner or your bank consultant will give you some clarity and they can help you put investment and savings contributions on hold until you recover. Now is not the time to cut important risk products, but you could look at getting more cost-effective solutions in the short-term.

“If you had company benefits, you will get cash back from a pension or provident plan and perhaps a retrenchment package. What you do with this money will have a big impact on your future wealth, especially if you have been working at the company for more than five years,” says Mr Patel.