In the wake of the nationwide lockdown, a growing number of New Zealanders have found themselves out of the workforce and dealing with sudden job loss. While redundancy is not easy for anyone in any situation, here are some proactive steps you can take to address it and get back on your feet faster.
Take a good look at your income
Is everything that can be coming in, actually coming in? Sorted’s editor Tom Hartmann recommends gathering any incomings you’re due as the first step. Check your final pay, looking for any severance or holiday payments you’ve earned over time. Assess your emergency funds, and see what government assistance options you may be entitled to.
As a last resort, consider withdrawing part of your KiwiSaver funds for significant financial hardship. Keep in mind that this withdrawal is at the discretion of the fund trustee or supervisor, and they will require you to provide extensive evidence that the financial hardship you’re experiencing is significant.
Also, when money is tight, every little bit helps, but early KiwiSaver withdrawals will have an impact on your long-term retirement goals, so it’s crucial to factor in the pros and cons carefully.
Reduce your expenses as much as possible
Wise budgeting becomes all-the-more important when your cashflow has taken a hit. Think about your ongoing financial commitments (like your mortgage repayments or insurance premiums) as well as your everyday costs (e.g. your electricity bills).
Again, proactivity is important. Contact your lender, insurer and electricity provider to discuss the most appropriate way forward. They may be able to meet you halfway for a while, granting you extra time to get your finances and work life back on track.
Also, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: we can help you understand your options and, hopefully, get through this rough patch.
Be open to new opportunities
As Hartmann said, a good question to ask yourself is, “If I could work for any company or organisation and use my talents, which would it be?”
Don’t let negativity weigh you down. It’s important to think of this period as a ‘bump in the road’ and move forward. Try to be open to any new opportunities that come your way, whether it’s in your industry or a completely different one (just tweak your application to highlight the aspects of your current experience that are most easily transferable to the new sector).
On this note, Careers.govt.nz is worth a visit. This government website has plenty of helpful resources to explore new career ideas, including insights on what skills are in demand and how to gain valuable work experience.
Growing your talents is important for long-term career success, and even more so when facing increasing competition for jobs.
Recently, Trademe has published a useful guide to levelling up. It all starts with identifying the areas you want to improve and creating an upskilling plan accordingly. Trademe recommends setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
Then, there are several ways to grow professionally, including:
- Online courses – Openpoly NZ and General Assembly offer great distant-learning options, and a Google search will reveal countless more (including free and paid-for online classes).
- Evening classes
According to recruiters, employers are also looking for certain ‘soft skills’, like teamwork, cultural awareness, and adaptability – so make sure these are part of your skillset too.
Handling redundancy in your next job interview
Ready to meet your prospective employer? You may be wondering how to respond to redundancy-related questions.
As this insightful article from Trademe underlines, here in New Zealand ‘redundancy’ doesn’t mean that your performance was poor. It just means that your position was no longer necessary and unfortunately, despite wage subsidies and other assistance options, a number of businesses had to make employees redundant during Covid-19 due to lack of work.
Surely, your next employer will be aware of the circumstances that led you there, but even if they ask you about your redundancy, it’s important to show that you drew positives from this negative experience: you’ll demonstrate that you have resilience.
Feel it’s time to set up your own business?
Some New Zealanders have taken advantage of this period of unprecedented disruption to accelerate their business dreams.
Whether you’re considering becoming a contractor or a full-time entrepreneur, there’s a lot to think about. Once again, you’ll find some interesting information on Careers.govt.nz, which has a page entirely focused on the key things to know about working for yourself. And of course, Business.govt.nz features a wealth of templates, visual guides and tips to get you started.
Protecting your future income
Your ability to earn an income is one of your most important assets, and something worth protecting. Certain insurance types are designed to protect your income from life’s unexpected events, like serious illness, disability, or worse. The most appropriate cover depends on your situation.
Like to learn more? Please get in touch. As insurance advisers, we can help you explore your options and get a plan in place to secure your financial future.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.