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Money Habits

How to survive financially after losing your job

18 September 2020

Job loss is challenging and stressful – whether you were expecting it or not. It may lead to uncertainty in both your professional and personal life. It can also affect your mental and physical health.

What to do when you lose your job

Seek emotional support

If you’re feeling stretched, it’s important to be kind to yourself and to seek the medical or social support you need. This might involve letting a friend know you’re going through a rough time or asking your GP to recommend a mental healthcare service or specialist.

It can be incredibly difficult to let others know what you’re going through but, if you do, they’ll be aware of your circumstances and may be able to offer extra support.

Manage your finances

Next, it’s time to manage your finances. You could start by creating a budget, seeking a supplementary income or emergency support. It’s a good idea to begin by creating a plan for the next few months1. Once you’ve done this, you can begin to think about your finances long-term. By starting small, you’ll be better placed to know where you stand financially during this challenging time.

Create a budget for the next few months

How to budget after job loss

The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) financial support hub Moneysmart suggests two simple steps to help you get on top of your budget2. First, you should understand how much you have in savings. Second, you’ll need to list all the expenses you expect to have over the course of the next two months. By doing these things, you’ll have a better idea of how long your money will last.

Use Suncorp’s Budget Planner to work out how much money you have and what you’ll need to cover your expenses.

Other things to consider while creating your budget include:

  • seeking support from utility companies in setting up realistic payment arrangements for your electricity, gas, phone and water bills
  • limiting your spending on non-essential items, such as eating out or shopping for clothes, and
  • aiming not to use a credit card to cover your expenses – potential high levels of interest could add to your financial pressure.

Try a financial counselling service

If you think you need support to create a budget, try contacting a financial counsellor. They’ll be able to work with you to help you get your finances back on track. The National Debt Helpline is a free and confidential phone service run by Financial Counsellors Australia. Call them on 1800 007 007 to speak with a counsellor today.

A note on redundancy

If you lose your job because your role is no longer required, you should receive a redundancy package. This usually includes a redundancy payment, in addition to any unused leave entitlements you may have accrued.

If you’ve lost your job because your employer is bankrupt or insolvent, be sure to check out the Australian government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG). The FEG provides financial assistance that may cover your unpaid entitlements if your employer cannot.

A redundancy payout will need to support you while you look for another job (unless you’re retiring). To ensure you make the most of your payment, consider developing a separate budget to manage it effectively.

Understand what your entitlements are

Services Australia may be able to provide you with emergency income support. It can also connect you with other social services to help you during this time. Try its Payment and Service Finder to see what you’re eligible for and to estimate the payments you might be able to receive.

Support during COVID-19

The Australian Government announced financial measures to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic. This support extends to freelancers and gig workers with an ABN. 

If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible to access these financial relief options. For more detailed information about the support available, visit the Services Australia and Moneysmart websites. You might also find it helpful to seek independent advice about your eligibility for these support payment.

Seek financial hardship support from your bank

Australian banks — including Suncorp Bank — have hardship teams at the ready to support you when you need it most. If you’re experiencing financial difficulty due to job loss, Suncorp Bank can help. Call us today on 1800 225 223 — Monday to Friday 8:00am-5:00pm (AEST) — or email us on customer.assist@suncorp.com.au.

By letting us know about your situation as soon as you can, we may be able to support you by temporarily postponing your loan repayments or extending the term of your loan to reduce the amount of your loan repayments. Just be aware these arrangements may require you to pay more interest over the loan term.

Explore Suncorp Bank’s Financial Difficuly Hub

Start to prepare to return to work

Looking for your next role can be exciting, especially if you’re searching for the perfect job. But sometimes finding it can take time, and this gets tricky if you don’t have any extra money coming in.

One thing you could consider is finding supplementary income in the form of a temporary casual, contract or part-time work. Start by signing up with temp agencies, or try asking around your professional network and local businesses for work.

You never know, it could even be the perfect job in disguise.

Read more:


1 https://moneysmart.gov.au/losing-your-job

2 https://moneysmart.gov.au/losing-your-job

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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