Dealing with retrenchment: Financially and emotionally

It's not easy to deal with the shock, disappointment and stress of being retrenched. It could impact your health and wellbeing. However, if you’re prepared financially, it’s easier to pick up the pieces after an unexpected loss of income or derailed career plans.

This means you need to change the way you handle your money from an early age, ensuring you have a contingency plan and a decent nest egg to cushion any financial blows. The good news? If you get to the end of your career without ever having been retrenched, you can reallocate these funds towards your retirement, travel or opening a new business.

Through a smart investment strategy and sound advice from your financial advisor, you could be better prepared for life’s unexpected life events, like retrenchment. An emergency fund is important, but it’s also essential to take out a life insurance policy to protect you and your family.  Financial advisors typically recommend that you have the equivalent of at least six months of your salary saved. This will give you some piece of mind, knowing that you can cover your expenses in the short term while you seek other employment opportunities.

However, don’t just leave your money in your cheque account. Work out an investment strategy designed to grow your money and reap the benefits of compound interest. Invest today for a better tomorrow. Work out a financial plan with your investment advisor.  Discuss your investment goals and how you can achieve those financial goals. For example, what types of investment are available that suits your risk profile, investment objectives and time constraints. Consider these important factors:

  • Do you have an appetite for risk or are you risk averse? If you’re open to more risk, consider investing in stocks. If you’d prefer to play it safe, bonds or fixed deposits are safer, more predictable options.
  • Are you looking to invest for the short term or the long term? Do you require liquidity in the short term? With African Bank’s Notice Deposit account, you can earn market leading rates but at the same time gain access to your investment with 7, 30 or 90 days’ notice. Another African Bank product, Access Accumulator, offers SA’s best interest rate which grows by 0.15% every month. A major advantage of an African Bank Access Accumulator account is that you can access your funds, either partially or fully, within 24 hours notice. (Interest rates correct at April 2019.)
  • Diversify your portfolio. Minimise risks and maximise returns by investing across different asset classes such as stocks, bonds and commodities.
  • Are you interested in alternative investments such as annuity investment, forex, commodities, hedge funds, precious metals, etc.? Alternative investments are investments outside the realm of “traditional” securities such as stocks, bonds or mutual funds. An annuity investment is a contract with a life insurance company where you deposit a lump sum of money and they agree to pay you a guaranteed income for a set period, or for the rest of your life. This is most commonly used to generate retirement income.
  • If you are lucky enough to find a new source of income soon after your retrenchment, be sure to invest your retrenchment package wisely. African Bank has a variety of investment products, featuring SA’s best investment rates. Use the investment calculator on the African Bank website to see how you could make your retrenchment package grow for you.

Facing the emotional aspects of retrenchment

Sound financial practices will better prepare you to weather any financial crisis. Having cash available when you’re retrenched means less stress, but it doesn’t entirely take away the emotional impact of retrenchment. Many people experience feelings of horror, panic, failure and inadequacy, all of which are compounded by a loss of routine and less contact with colleagues.

Spend some time putting the situation into perspective and coming to terms with your changed circumstances. Even if you didn’t particularly love your job, you may want to take some time out to mourn the end of an era in your life. Be sure to surround yourself with positive people who can help you see the positive side of retrenchments. This is an opportunity to look for a job better suited to you or the chance to start a new career entirely. If you have funds available to you, you might decide to go back to studying.

Update your CV – and don’t be afraid to seek out professional advice if necessary. It might have been some time since you were in the job market and giving your CV a new feel and structure could open new, unexpected doors for you.

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