By Steven M. Rogé, MBA, CFP®, AIF®
Chief Investment Officer
As companies struggle to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and many shift from brick-and-mortar based businesses to hybrid or virtual, thousands of people have lost their jobs. According to PEW Research Center, the pandemic has caused layoffs for a quarter of U.S. adults, and a third have had to borrow money from savings or retirement accounts to cover expenses. Workers are also facing an exodus of jobs in high-cost areas to lower-cost areas where virtual employees can cover the cost of the job for less. Regardless of the reason, getting laid-off can be emotionally and financially draining. The quicker you put together a game plan to recuperate from an unexpected job loss, the more likely you will thrive coming out the other end of the proverbial tunnel.
Professionals that have lost their job tend to invest less time in themselves, but with a little planning and focus, you can get back on track. Consider the following core elements to help survive a sudden job loss.
- Revise your resume. It’s likely been a while, but dust-off that old resume and update it. If you’re not sure where to start, public libraries typically have resources or volunteers to aid you. In addition, try your alma mater’s library or alumni affairs. Also think about updating your professional digital presence. LinkedIn, for instance, is a great way to network, share ideas, and look for open positions. Make sure your profile has a professional photo, current information, and connect with people and companies in your field of work.
- If you have an emergency fund set up, an unexpected job loss is an appropriate reason to dip into it. Use it to cover important monthly bills like your mortgage, car loan, or grocery bill. If you don’t have an emergency fund, once you become employed again your first goal should be to start a fund that can pay expenses for at least three to six months.
- Reach out to a mental health professional. While we don’t pretend to be personal wellness experts, a mental health professional can aid in managing the emotional rollercoaster that comes from the loss of a job. They will likely provide you with coping mechanisms and training to improve your mental state. As the economy has changed, so too has mental health advice. In fact, you can now find therapy services from the comfort of your home with companies like Betterhelp and Talkspace.
- It can be easy to lose motivation, so keeping the same sleep schedule and routine that you had while employed is important. Use your time wisely by creating a daily agenda to instill efficiency and productivity.
- Do things you enjoy – like reading a book, going for a walk, or taking up a new hobby. Hobbies don’t have to cost a ton of money either. Listening to podcasts, visiting local museums, or teaching yourself a new language are some cost-effective options. Check out this list of 50 inexpensive hobbies you can start right now for more ideas.
- Reconnecting with old friends can help improve your mental state and add socialization to your routine. Plus, you never know where the next career opportunity will come from – your friends or family may help connect you with leads.
- Think about a cause close to your heart and volunteer your time or expertise. It’s difficult to feel bad for yourself when you are doing good all around you. If you’re short on ideas or need some direction in getting started, reach out to your local Rotary Club for introductions to new opportunities. As a bonus, you are sure to meet some great people in the process.
- Get your financial affairs in order. Create a checklist of areas to go over including cash flow, health insurance, assets and debt, tax planning, and career planning. Better yet, download our free checklist titled, “What Issues Should I Consider If I Lose My Job.”
- Plan for issues that may arise once you begin a new job. Yes, let’s think positively – new opportunities will sneak up on you quickly. Download our free checklist titled, “What Issues Should I Consider When Starting a New Job.”
We trust some of these elements will guide you in your future endeavors through these trying times. If you are interested in learning more about how our team of knowledgeable CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ (CFP®) can help you plan for the unexpected, please contact us at 631.218.0077 or email@example.com. We would be happy to go into further detail and answer any questions you may have.
R.W. Rogé & Company, Inc. is a fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm serving clients locally and virtually across the country, with Long Island, New York, Beverly, Massachusetts, and Naples, Florida office locations. We help clients Plan, Achieve, and Live® the life they want since 1986. To learn more about how we do this, click here.