How to survive financially after job loss
17 September 2019
Job loss is challenging and stressful – whether you were expecting it or not. It can 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.
Remember the old adage, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’? 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.
Managing 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 two 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 traumatic time.
Create a budget for the next two months
How to budget after job loss
The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) financial support hub Money Smart suggests two simple steps to help you ‘get on top of your budget’2. 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.
Find a supplementary income
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 job. 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.
The Department of Human Services may be able to provide you with emergency income support. They can also connect you with other social services to help you during this time. Try their Payment and Service Finder to see what you’re eligible for and to estimate the payments you might be able to receive.
Suncorp can help
If you’re experiencing financial difficulty due to job loss, Suncorp can help. Call us today on 1800 225 223 from 8:00am-5:00pm AEST Monday to Friday or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. By letting us know about your situation as soon as you can, we may be able to support you by:
- temporarily postponing loan repayments
- reducing the amount of your loan repayments, or
- extending the period of a loan contract.
1 ASIC: 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 Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product