The recent government shutdown has given every working man and woman in America a lot to consider, especially when it comes to income. For many government workers, not receiving a paycheck for a month left them and their families in dire financial straits. Hearing their stories was a grave reminder of how quickly our financial situations can change. Whether you're a government worker or privately employed, layoffs and company closures are always a possibility. That's why, no matter how stable you feel in your career, you should prepare your finances – and your professional portfolio – for the unexpected. To ensure your financial stability despite an income disruption, follow these four money and career planning tips.
How to Financially Prepare for a Job Layoff
1. Expect the Unexpected
As hard as it is to admit, no job is truly stable, and no income is guaranteed. Even the strongest, most successful companies can fall on hard times, and political turmoil can put public positions at risk. While this doom and gloom narrative shouldn't be part of your daily reflection, it is an unease you can easily alleviate with a little proactive planning. Even if you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, you can begin to create a cushion in case you find yourself without immediate income. North Country Savings Bank offers a wide variety of savings options to help you create an emergency fund. Aim to save enough to hold you over until your paychecks kick back in, or until you can find a new job. The general rule of emergency funds is to have at least one month's worth of pay set aside, just in case.
2. Live Within Your Means
The best way to save more? Spend less. While credit cards can serve a very useful and responsible purpose, they shouldn't be a lifestyle. If debt is piling up and you're unable to make more than the minimum monthly payments, it's time to reconsider how you manage your money. It's a harsh reality, but one that you have to consider if you're going to be proactive about your financial future. Luckily, there are lots of little things you can do to start living within your means, and the Personal Bankers at NCSB can help you create a plan of attack to pay down debts and get back on track with your finances.
3. Be Competitive, Not Complacent
Just as your finances should be ready to take a hit, your career should be ready to adjust as well. While you should feel comfortable and confident at your current job, you should also be ready to move on should the need arise. You shouldn't work with one foot out the front door, but you should consider if you're living your ideal professional situation. Do you make as much as you need or want? Is your work fulfilling and sustainable in terms of stress and time commitment? If the answer is "No," then it might be time to look for something new. You are far more likely to enjoy your career if you have a job where you are passionate about the work you do and feel that you are fairly compensated.
4. Build a Professional Safety Net
A professional safety net is always important, no matter what your current career situation. Whether you're on the hunt for your next big break, or find yourself suddenly without work, you'll be glad you have the following three things in your professional toolbox.
- A Strong Professional Network
In case the unexpected happens, cultivate a list of well-respected and influential professional connections who can vouch for your work and who will lend a helping hand – or at least provide a strong reference as you begin a new job search. The more people you know and have made a good impression on, the more likely you are to come to mind when a position opens up.
- Proof of Personal Growth
When someone invents a new product, they don't step back and say "good enough." Instead, they continue to evolve their creation, making improvements and building off of prior success. You should do the same with your career. As an employee, you are your own invention. Continue improving your product by pushing your limits, learning more about your field, and honing your skills.
- Have Your Resume Ready
If all of a sudden the contents of your desk are in a box in your hands, the one thing you shouldn't need to do is update your resume. Whenever one job ends, whether by choice or by circumstance, you should immediately be ready to apply for the next. Review your resume regularly, update job experience promptly, and add any additional skills or education you gain. You never know when opportunity will come knocking, and you don't want to be caught off guard!
NCSB Is Here to Help
No matter how prepared you are, finding yourself suddenly laid off can be overwhelming. In your time of need, lean on the expert Personal Bankers at North Country Savings Bank. Call or stop by your local branch to discuss your options and find a sense of financial security. When the unexpected happens, you can rely on your neighbors at NCSB to help you get your finances back on track.