The COVID second wave and the lockdown across states are causing many small and mid-sized companies to lay off their staff to reduce costs. If you are one of those who’ve lost their job in these times, have heart. Keep in mind that it is only a temporary phase, and you will come out of it soon. Meanwhile, a positive mindset on your part can help you see off this phase and stay on course with your financial plan. This article explains some action points to help you see through this phase & emerge stronger.
Action # 1: Acknowledge your situation:
The typical reaction to such situations is anger, denial and outrage; basically, the feeling “WHY ME?” This feeling blocks the mind’s thinking capacity and hampers correct decision-making. Acknowledge the situation as it exists in the present moment. Consider mindful breathing and other calming techniques to handle the difficult emotions as they arise in this phase. Journaling all your frustration, worries and anxieties can also help significantly in this time. The more you clear your mind of negative emotions, the easier it will be to take action steps to overcome this phase.
Action # 2: Take stock of your expenses:
It is time to take stock of your financial situation. Make an inventory of all your liquid investments. Then, make a list of your monthly expenses. At this time, it is essential to critically examine each expense items to see whether the expense is worthwhile or not. Make a target to reduce the monthly expenses by 20-30%. Close any unnecessary OTT and magazine subscriptions and discretionary expenses like travel, eating out, etc. Pause any recurring investments. Divide the liquid investment with the reduced monthly expenses. This will help you get an idea as to how long you can survive with your present savings. Don’t forget to note significant upcoming payments, for example, insurance and kids’ education. This time, stay away from the temptation of quick moneymaking options like stock trading, futures and options etc.
Action # 3: Re-work your existing loans and explore additional funding options:
If you have any existing loans, do not wait to default on the EMI payments. This can negatively impact your credit score and impact your creditworthiness in the long term. Instead, proactively speak to your bank, explain your present situation and ask them to restructure the loan payments. If you need a loan to bridge the money gap in this situation, don’t fall into the trap of easy personal loans and credit cards. Instead, first, see the possibility of asking from your friends and relatives. Another option is to explore collateralized loans like gold, as the interest rates on those loans are comparatively low. You can also explore loan against your investments like PPF and NSC. Don’t be in a rush to foreclose your existing loans – the only exception to this is your outstanding credit card debt.
Action # 4: Proactively search for a job:
Losing a job can be emotionally debilitating. But understand that job loss is no more treated as a stigma, especially when many people are losing their job due to the financial condition of their employers. The most important thing you can do is reach out to as many people as possible and be upfront about your situation. The more people you reach, the more you increase your chances to find a job. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile with your career achievements. Every day make a target of at least 5 places where you are going to apply. Try to get a recommendation from your boss and a letter from your former employer that you did not get laid off for performance reasons. At this time, be open to accepting offers that are not the best match for you as your priority is your family’s financial well-being.
Action # 5: Invest in your self-development
This phase will come and go, but what determines your career success, in the long run, is your unique skill sets. As they say – “Idle mind is like a devil’s workshop”. Persistent difficult emotions can lead to depression and negatively impact your mental health. Hence, it is essential to engage in some productive activity. Use this time to do a gap analysis between your existing skillsets and the skills needed to take you to the next level. It can be domain-specific skills or something to do with managing people. You can find many low-cost online courses that can help you achieve this objective without burning a hole in your pocket.
Action # 6: Re-evaluate your life’s priorities:
As they say – “Every cloud has a silver lining”. Allow this time to help you reflect on your purpose in life and career. Did you compromise your relationships for work commitments? Do you have a passion that you had always wanted to pursue but could not find time for it? Do you need to make any changes to lead a more fulfilled life? Spend some quiet time reflecting on those questions. In hindsight, when you look back after a few years, this time may prove to be a blessing in disguise take you in a completely new direction towards a more fulfilled and balanced life.
Remember the timeless wisdom – “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”. As with any difficult phase in life, this phase will also not remain forever. The thing that matters is the mindset with which you handle this phase. A positive mindset and some simple actions will ensure that this phase helps you emerge stronger at all levels – career-wise, money-wise and health-wise.
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