When you get laid off, injured or become unemployed the money may stop coming in but the bills never stop. Are you prepared for this situation if it happens? Red Alert….panic sets in, frustration, stress, what will you do? Collection agencies will come calling and doing everything in their power to get money from you if you don’t pay. They will even go as far as taking you to court if they believe you can pay and have exhausted all other avenues.
Investing in yourself is, if not the most important tip you should take away from this post. You are your number one priority and you should take the time to know who you are and what you have to offer.
That’s not all though, not everything you have to pay for comes in the form of a bill. You still need to pay for your food or whatever else you pay cash for throughout the month. Thank goodness for local food banks who try their hardest to keep the shelves full for local families in need and to those that donate. Please, I have to say, for goodness sakes stay away from those Payday Loan shops or you will forever be indebted to them no matter what anyone tells you. It’s a cycle that is hard to break and will cost you an arm and leg. That’s like jumping from one fire into another with no hope in hell of getting out unless someone throws you a rope. Odds of that happening are slim to none unless you have some rich mates, win the lottery or simply have family who bail you out every time you create a mess like this.
Getting terminated or laid off can take its toll on someone and all sorts of emotions can surface especially if it was unexpected. When people tell me they have a secure job I always tell them there is no such a thing. How many people are we hearing of that are losing their jobs after many years of service? Just look at Ford manufacturing St.Thomas in Sept 2011 which closed down with over 1200 employees who lost their so-called “secure jobs”. Ford exported over 8 million vehicles around the world and was Canada’s Top Selling vehicle maker. How many of these employees were students fresh out of high school that skipped College or University for a huge pay each week? Was it worth it?
I bet if you ask many of them they wish they had furthered their education after high school to gain some portable skills such as a red seal apprenticeship trade or nursing. Some are still struggling today in 2012 as it’s not an easy transition. Working in manufacturing facilities for a long time is like Shawshank, you get used to life on the inside. Not many people like to return to school well into their 30’s, 40’s or older with mortgage payments and children. Lucrative pay checks lure people in and once they sign on the dotted line it’s hard to break free especially when they start buying big-ticket items.
Our mate who worked at a car manufacturer for a few years gave up her $80k a year plus overtime job and is now a few steps away from becoming a doctor. Like Ford all things may come to an end or a slow-down unless businesses can keep up with the demands of the economy something that Ford was lacking. Not many people are running around in big gas guzzlers these days, not even me and I drive a truck. We need to prepare ourselves for any instance that may come our way even if it’s 20 years down the road no matter what industry we work in.
Then there are the folks who get injured at work or off the job and struggle with their insurance companies as the process can be daunting. Working with insurance companies such as Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) or Long term or Short term insurance through your works group benefits may take some time depending on your specific case. Always be in the know and understand your rights at work. If anyone has ever told you “Safety First”, heed that warning. Don’t let anyone bully you into doing a job that is unsafe not even a supervisor. I’m sure there are many people who could tell you a story or two about how they wished they’d use their voice.
In many of these cases people who struggle simply don’t have any money saved up or have very little to cover expenses. They may have to wait until they secure new employment, EI benefits or insurance benefits kick in or receive severance pay if they are entitled. It takes upwards of 2 weeks unpaid if you’ve lost your job which was no fault of your own through (EI) employment insurance in Canada. Of course there are other stipulations to qualify and you should start the process immediately. What happens if you and your spouse are both working at the same facility and both were laid off? How does that impact the budget? Are you prepared for this and how?
These are questions that should be answered and fast and before something happens. We like to keep upwards of 1 year in our Emergency Savings Fund in case of a scenario like the above as no job is a secure job. Most folks recommend 3-6 months although in today’s economy assess your situation and do what’s right for you. This should be ample time for most to sort out the situation by finding new meaningful employment or return to school to upgrade skills.
Strategies in Case of a Layoff, Loss of Job, Injury or Disability
- Emotional Well Being- It’s important to take care of you and your emotions. If that means to take a break for a couple of days to gather your thoughts then do it. Call on your support networks like your friends and family to chat to and then pick yourself up and work hard at investing in YOU.
- Budget! Enough said, we all should be budgeting our money so we know where it is going. It’s not difficult to do and simply educating yourself on steps on designing and using a budget are virtually all over the internet. You can also download online budget spreadsheets to use as your own.
- Group Benefits– Do you know what they entail? You know that little booklet your employer gives you well make sure you read it cover to cover and know what benefits you have ahead of time. Know what your options are or will be when the time comes including your investments.
- Understand Your Rights– Understand your rights as an employee and review the Employment Standards Act (fact sheet), WSIB Act or the Disability Insurance Policies to make sure you are covered and how. Understanding and knowing puts you in an informed position rather than relying on others to guide you along the way. If you are unsure ask your Human Resources professional for this information. Knowledge is power.
- Emergency Savings is crucial to your financial well-being and will be handy in any emergency situation.
- Your Resume should be visited at least every few months and updated to add any new skills that you have mastered or milestones you have reached.You can always edit the final copy but keep adding to it until needed. Most people wait until they are laid off or lose their job and tend to forget dates, and important skills employers may look for.
- Cut expenses in your household while you can such as electricity, water usage and your communications bill (TV, internet, cell phone and home phone). If you call your communications company like Rogers or Bell retention or billing department you may be able to haggle a better deal. TIP: If you want to know how much electricity you are using visit your local library and see if they lend out the kil-o-watt meter to check your appliance usage.
- Time of Use– If you have the smart meter installed outside your home start living with-in the cheap times of use as it can really add up if you are not mindful of this.
- Spend less than you earn. Period! Stop putting money on credit, stay out of debt.
- Grocery shopping can be a huge cost for anyone. Start shopping your weekly flyers, using coupons, price matching and stocking up on items that you know you will use if they are at the ‘best price” keeping in mind expiry dates. You can also post your shops in our grocery game challenge to keep track of your shopping and budget.
- Shop second-hand for clothing and other items to save money in the budget. There are loads of shops and online outlets such as kijiji, Freecycle and Craigslist. You can also take advantage of garage sales in the summer time.
- Career Change is something that most people never think about. If you are thinking about a career change you should do your homework. Research the career and know that if and when the time comes you already have a plan B in place.
- Try to live on one income if you are a couple but that’s personal choice but certainly will help in the savings department. We purchased our home while I was in school and used my lower wage at the time which was $15.00 an hour to buy our first home.
- Retirement Savings– if you have the money keep putting money away into your (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)RRSP, Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or any other investments for your future especially if your employer has an investment matching program.
- Education is important no matter how old you are. Never stop learning. Always try to gain new skills whether it’s from your employer or you taking it upon yourself. It’s important to have a back up plan and skills to go along with it. You will be happy you did. Some employers offer an education incentive.
- Networking is so important and people tend to forget about this. I always used to say you never know who your next boss will be so try to be nice to everyone you meet. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself and find out what others know and what they do for a living. You may be surprised how many people find their next job just from knowing someone. It’s true… “It’s all about who you know”
Some other important pages
- Safe at work Ontario
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Health and Safety FAQ
- Employment Insurance Regular Benefits
- Finding a Job
- Jobs and Employment Insurance FAQ’s
- Bankruptcy Canada
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- Ontario’s injured migrant workers lose out on WSIB benefits, critics charge (thestar.com)
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- Autoworkers still struggle three years after layoffs, says study (blogs.windsorstar.com)
- Federal job cuts seen as gutting rural towns (cbc.ca)
- Money Fights and Money Problems (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- July 2012 Canadian Budget Binder Net Worth Update (canadianbudgetbinder.com)