Re-directions in a job or career are more the norm than the exception in today’s working environment. Employees are less connected to their place of work which can result in employers feeling staff members are disposable. The result is a constantly rotating workforce instead of career employment and advancement. While many workers choose to leave a job or change careers for new opportunities, layoffs and other forced change are also common.
Outside of the larger economic impact of job displacement, is the personal impact on your finances. Even small periods of unemployment can drain savings, increase debt, and have a long-term impact on retirement. Planning for changes in your career or current employment includes taking action while at your current position and preparing for the time between jobs.
Top 5 Things to Do While in Your Current Job
1. Establish an Emergency Fund. Basic financial fundamentals include an emergency fund, which, in the best circumstances, is saving about 3 months of expenses . Whether you have high or low job security, accumulating savings will help pay for unexpected expenses and carry you through financial hardships. Money for intermittent bills, holiday shopping, and other planned expenses should be kept separate from the emergency fund, geared more towards less predictable costs like medical bills, unemployment, or major home repairs.
2. Have an Understanding of Your Current Living Costs. Income does not always equal expenses. Some make up the difference by charging extra on a credit card each month, while others invest in the future by funding savings and retirement accounts. While budgets may not be sexy, they are an important piece of knowing how much you need to live. Planning your budget gives you a snapshot of your financial life every 30 days. You can then take proactive steps to improve your financial health as you review actual versus anticipated expenses.
3. Stay Abreast of Company and Industry Events and Trends. Every trade functions differently, with regional and global events impacting industries at different levels. An oil crisis in South Africa can impact everything from gas prices to the trucking industry to the price of food. An earthquake in Indonesia could affect manufacturing and retail employment in the US. Often seemingly unrelated events connect the world and have influence across multiple industries.
Read company correspondence, if you are at a public company, understand the stock price, follow industry forums, product pricing, new products launches, and other trends in your field. Acquiring knowledge and taking proactive measures can help you read the signals regarding job growth at your current employer, new opportunities in parallel fields, and upcoming layoffs or job uncertainty.
4. Keep Your Skillset Current and Relevant. Technology is rapidly changing employers’ needs and requiring more frequent skill updates. Opportunities for continuing education can come in many forms: There may be on the job training you can request, formal education through an additional degree, or career classes taken annually to stay on top of industry changes. Volunteer for free training and discover if your employer covers other educational expenses such as tuition reimbursement. It may not be necessary to change jobs to advance or change your career.
5. Strengthen Current Skills. Push yourself to strengthen weaknesses in your current job and do more than the required minimums. It will help you stand out with your current employer, increase the chances of a strong employer recommendation for a new job, or increase your credentials for the next opportunity.
Top 5 Things to Do Between Jobs to Keep Finances in Check
Changing jobs and career path can lead to new opportunities, higher pay, and a stronger financial life. However, major changes can be frightening. Sometimes what looked like a great opportunity, can turn into much less. Other times you end up out of work unexpectedly and involuntarily, which can add additional stress to the family budget.
1) Negotiate the Terms. There is power in negotiation to get what you need. When upgrading employment consider all of the costs and ask for benefits such as moving expenses or other job transition costs. You can often get more than an increase in salary when moving to a new employer.
When you leave a job involuntarily, it can be harder to negotiate but always ask. Many companies will offer two weeks of pay or additional paid time based on years of service. Also, consider non-wage benefits like job search assistance, internal transfers to a different position within the company, or pay for unused PTO or sick leave.
2) Immediately Reduce Living Expenses. Eliminate discretionary spending and move to an emergency budget making minimum payments on all required bills and delaying purchases until your income stabilizes. It is often a time where you cannot contribute to savings, retirement or other long-term goals as planned. The faster you adjust your budget, the less you will charge on credit or withdraw from savings. Tapping into long-term financial reserves such as retirement funds can be very expensive due to penalties and have lasting consequences for your long-term financial health.
3) Stick with Cash. Cash only will reduce overspending and help you prioritize needs. Do not carry credit cards with you to eliminate the temptation. Most credit cards offer assistance during periods of unemployment. The company may waive the monthly minimum payment, and if you paid for insurance, you could make a claim and have the insurance pay your minimum payment during this time. Upon notification of your unemployment, the credit card company typically will freeze the line of credit until finances improve.
4) Parlay Current Job Skills to The Next Job. Complete a comprehensive assessment of your job skills from previous employment and volunteer work. You may find you can tailor your resume to represent current job skills into a new career with minimal additional education requirements. Focus on your strengths and what you enjoy to locate the next opportunity that may improve both your quality of life and job satisfaction.
5) Ask for Help Quickly. Employers, non-profits, and government agencies can assist during a transition period. Employers may offer job placement services. Non-profits can help with immediate financial needs, along with improving your resume, and interview skills. Government agencies assist with locating a job, updating job skills, and other needed services for which you may qualify. Apply for unemployment, even if you are uncertain, you qualify.
New careers and jobs are an opportunity to try something new, learn new skills, and discover ways to improve your life. Make the most of the opportunity to re-align your life goals with your employment prospects. You may find a new job you love in the process.
If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis. Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high interest credit card debt any longer. Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website.