As the economy begins to recover, is your organization still struggling? Is there employee gossip that a reduction-in-force (“RIF”), a downsizing, a layoff may be on the horizon? These rumors create employee anxiety, stress, and worry. If you find yourself in this situation, where you are worried about your future with the company, the five tips below can help you manage your financial situation:
- Examine your monthly budget. Is your spending out of control? Do you feel like you are overly in debt? Could this be the time to institute an austerity plan? Should you manage the interest rates on your credit cards? Is it possible to reduce debt by paying it down? Should you investigate a transfer to a credit card with a better rate? Is it time to refinance your mortgage or home equity loan? If you feel that a lay-off is on the horizon, it is better to manage these financial challenges while you are employed, not after the lay-off has occurred.
- What can you trim in your monthly budget? If you can, if you stop buying fancy coffee in the morning you can create a savings of close to $100 each month. Maybe rent a movie on-line instead of going to the movies . . . If you evaluate what you really want and what you can live without, you may find other areas of savings. If you trim down on “going out,” splurge purchases, and eating out now, you will be able to save some money for a “rainy day.”
- Be more aware of the money you spend. As you pull out your wallet for every day expenses, you may want to decide if you really need to buy that item. If an RIF is looming, it might not be the time for a shopping spree to cheer you up. Instead, you may want to make an effort to be more aware of where your money goes every day, every week.
- Go Green! As the economy recovers and gas prices continue to increase, should you go green? Maybe it’s the time to investigate the purchase of a hybrid car, or at least one that gets better mileage? If you can, consider the purchase while you’re still employed. As you investigate, inquire if your car dealer will offer a sales incentive, rebate, or a lower loan interest rate.
- Inquire about benefits entitlements. Discretely inquire with your HR department about your benefits. Be sure to see your doctor to get a physical or an eye exam or go to the dentist now, while you are still entitled to those benefits. If you take advantage of your insurance benefits while you still have them, it is much less expensive than paying full-price later.
Although it may be difficult to predict when a layoff may affect you, if you are aware of the situation, planning and take action, you will feel more in control. Sure, you can’t do anything about being laid-off and in most cases, (unless you did something wrong) it’s nothing you could predict or prevent. An RIF is a business decision that, if viewed with the proper perspective, may change your life in a positive manner. Though the anticipation can cause anxiety, if you view this challenge as an opportunity for growth, your life may be changed in an unexpectedly positive direction.